“Croatian Rights Groups Hail Ruling on Same-Sex Adoption”

An association that gathers LGBT couples and parents has welcomed as ‘historic’ a Zagreb court ruling supporting the right of same-sex couples to apply to adopt children.

After Croatian courts last year confirmed that same-sex couples have the right to become foster parents, LGBT+ advocacy groups have welcomed a ruling of the Zagreb Administrative Court that they can also apply to adopt.

The Rainbow Family Association, which gathers LGBT couples and individuals who have or want to have children, on Wednesday hailed the ruling as a “historic moment”.

“The verdict opens the door to all gay and lesbian couples” in Croatia who want to adopt, and guarantees that they must not be discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation, it said.

At the end of last month, it recalled, the court ruled in favour of a same-sex couple Mladen Kozic and Ivo Segota, saying they must not be discriminated against “in the assessment procedure for adoption because they have entered into a life partnership”, referencing the legal term for same-sex marriage in Croatia.

“The child’s right to the best possible adoptive parents remains a priority, and this ruling does not automatically mean that gay and lesbian couples are to become adoptive parents – but life partners can now fearlessly contact their social welfare centre and apply for an evaluation for adoption,” Rainbow Family Association said.

Association president Daniel Martinovic said they expected a long, exhausting struggle that might involve bringing the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“However, the Zagreb Administrative Court has acted correctly, respecting the Constitution … international conventions and our laws, and has ruled in favour of our members Mladen Kozic and Ivo Segota,” he said.

In May 2016, they filed an application for adoption to the local social welfare centre, but after a few months, they were rejected.

Rainbow Families described the rejection as “absurd” as individuals and single persons in Croatia can adopt. It noted that other members of the association had adopted in the past ten years, by applying individually, not as couples.

Meanwhile, Kozic and Segota have become the foster parents of two children. A Croatian Constitutional Court ruling in January last year obliged courts and authorities to give all competent appliers to foster equal opportunities, including same-sex couples.

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