Croatia's parliament [official website, in Croatian] proposed a bill on Thursday that would grant new rights to same-sex couples, such as the right to inherit property from each other and the right to represent each other as next of kin. The bill, known as the "life partnership" legislation, comes on the heels of a voter referendum that defined marriage [JURIST report] in Croatia's constitution [text] as a union between one man and one woman. Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic [official profile], who backs the life partnership legislation, said [AP report] that the bill upholds European human rights standards. Despite the passage of the referendum banning same-sex marriage, the life partnership bill is expected to become law.
Croatia joined [JURIST report] the European Union (EU) [official website] in July 2013. The EU allows each member state to make its own rules concerning same sex unions. In early November the Croatian parliament voted [JURIST report] to hold the referendum with a vote of 104 to 13 in favor. In September, representatives from Croatia attended [JURIST report] the first UN ministerial meeting on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Representatives from the US, France, Argentina, Brazil, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, New Zealand and the EU, along with executive directors of Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission [advocacy websites] were also present. LGBT individuals have gained increased rights globally in the last decade, but many still face discrimination and criminal punishment throughout the world.