Historic court ruling legalises same-sex adoption in Croatia

Zagreb's Administrative Court has ruled in favour of legalising same-sex adoption following their decision to back gay couple last year.

Split screen: rainbow flags (left), flag of Croatia (right)

A landmark ruling by Zagreb’s Administrative Court has passed, legalising same-sex adoption in Croatia.

According to Telegram, the court ruling deemed the current legislation to be unjust: “Taking into account the position of the European Court of Human Rights, the Court states that a different treatment of persons in similar situations, based exclusively on their sexual orientation, represents a form of discrimination.”

The court ruling has mandated social centres to accept the applications of same-sex couples for adoption and inclusion on waiting lists, providing they are suitable.

This historic development comes after a 2021 ruling backed an LGBTQ+ couple who had their adoption request rejected. Ivo Šegota and Marijan Kožić applied with a local social centre in 2016, seeking to adopt a child. They were denied the opportunity to undergo an evaluation as prospective adoptive parents, citing that Croatia’s current adoption laws excluded civil partnerships.

Šegota and Kožić fought this decision by bringing it to Zagreb’s Administrative Court in 2017. This led to a legal battle that took place over the course of three years, centring around the discrimination faced by same-sex couples looking to adopt or foster. The court ruled in favour of their claim in 2020, making Šegota and Kožić the first same-sex foster couple ever in Croatia.

“It has become about us, politics, views, stigmas. But it’s not about us. It’s about those… children who deserve better care and, due to the poor work of institutions, are losing their future,” said the couple after the court ruled in their favour.

“We were delighted,” Šegota said. “After this ruling… no one should ever undergo what we went through.”

However, not all responses to this development were positive. In February 2020 an effigy depicting a same-sex couple holding a child was burned at a carnival in Imotski. Cr0atia’s President Zoran Milanovic condemned the act, writing in a Facebook post: “The symbolic burning of the same-sex couple with a child in Imotski is inhumane, unpleasant and totally unacceptable under the cover of the carnival celebrations.”

While this legislation may represent a milestone in LGBTQ+ family rights, there is still much work to undergo regarding attitudes towards same-sex adoption in Croatia.

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