by Leander Milbrecht
Ivo Šegota and Mladen Kožić fought against the system for three years, even suing the state – now they have won the battle. They became the first same-sex foster parents in Croatia. An activist of the queer organisation “Rainbow Families” announced on Monday on behalf of the two that they were finally allowed to take two children into their homes.
Since 2017, when their application was rejected, the two men from Zagreb have been suing against discrimination. They fought for their right to raise children and to start a family. For three years, the lives of molecular biologist Šegota and sociologist Kožić who are in a registered partnership consisted of judgments, rejections, appeals, court hearings. A few weeks ago they were finally rewarded for their perseverance.
The success was preceded by a ruling by the Croatian Constitutional Court in February, which ruled that it was constitutionally unacceptable and discriminatory for same-sex couples not to have the same opportunities to have children for care as heterosexual couples. Specifically, in relation to Šegota and Kožić, the court said that they could care for children if they fulfilled the conditions.
The struggle continues for the queer community
Daniel Martinovic, head of Rainbow Families, a Croatian organisation for queer families and all those who want to become one, officially announced on Monday: Two became four, Šegota and Kožić were allowed to take two children into their home a few weeks ago. The announcement was made on Monday in the name of the new family. The couple had previously declared that they would withdraw from public life if their complaint was successful.
“Our members Ivo and Mladen are very happy with the new addition to their household”
He told that the happy ending would give hope to all queer couples in the country that things could still change – and made the promise to fight for full equality in marriage and family, including the right to adoption.
“There is no child for whom it would be better to spend his childhood in an orphanage than with the support of adults, including two men.”
Martinovic in an interview with the organisation ILGA Europe in March 2020
Croatia is a member of the European Union since 2013. In recent years, the queer community has seen a gradual improvement in its situation. Since 2014 homosexuals have been able to register as life partners – this status grants them almost all the rights that heterosexual couples have. Society is also making progress, but only slowly. Homosexuality is still largely considered a taboo subject in the Eastern European country, where the Catholic church has great influence.
- picsea-EQlTyDZRx7U-unsplash: By Picsea / Unsplash / CC0
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