Croatians today are preparing to vote on a historic referendum – the first in 23 years of independence that was initiated by the people of Croatia. A referendum is an initiative to which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a proposal and it is a true showcase of democracy within a country. The referendum on Sunday is whether or not to constitutionally define marriage between a man and woman. Earlier this year, members of parliament hinted that same sex couples would be granted rights and treated as if they were married. The group “In the name of Family” (U ime obitelji) collected 750,000 signatures in support of the vote, which forced the parliament to call for a referendum.
In recent weeks, Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić has said “I am calling for all citizens, regardless of what your opinion or views are on this topic, to vote against!” In fact, Croatia’s ruling centre left coalition, including Prime Minister Zoran Milanović urged citizens to vote against (protiv). Since the start of this initiative, members of the left-wing government have been making statements, calling the initiative ‘medieval, discriminatory and imposing religious doctrine’. Zoran Milanović has also said “this will be the last time Croatia sees a referendum.” Those words are bone chilling, when a prime minister of a country threatens and says a democratic referendum will never happen again. Government controlled media have also been using state television by ridiculing the whole campaign, bullying and terrorizing the citizens who will vote in favor of keeping marriage traditional. Since when does a government pick and choose who and what they are going to support? A government should be a true representation of ALL citizens of country, they are after all the peoples government.
While I do not understand how a minority feel they have the power to amend a law that was passed generations ago, or how a minority can redefine marriage as it was established hundreds of years ago, I will not debate this topic on this blog. I feel that those who are for traditional marriage, and those who are against are set in their opinions and their decisions would certainly not be swayed by my thoughts in this post. What I will say is that I am very disappointed with the governments stance and the bullying that is happening against a majority of Croatia’s citizens. The noise surrounding this referendum is yet another example of the totalitarian government and it must be stopped. If anything does come out of this referendum besides it’s sole purpose, it will be that this is the most democratic referendum the 23 year old country has seen.