ZAGREB, July 4, 2018 – An association called “Rainbow Families” on Wednesday said that Croatia systematically discriminated against same-sex couples when it comes to providing foster care for children who cannot live with their own parents, although some same-sex couples have passed all psychological and social tests and fulfilled the high criteria to be assessed as suitable to foster.
The association, which brings together LGBT couples and individuals who already have their own children or want to become parents, said at a news conference in Zagreb that a draft bill on foster care, which is to receive the first reading in parliament, excluded same-sex partners from the possibility to foster children.
Daniel Martinović, a coordinator of the association, said that the draft bill did not envisage a possibility for life partners to be a foster family. He recalls that a majority of modern and developed European countries enable same-sex couples to foster children who cannot live with their parents.
According to Martinović, figures from the USA show that same-sex couples in that country foster children six times more than heterosexual couples, and thus present an important resource in the USA for providing care for children without appropriate care from their parents. “The state cannot restrict anyone’s access to the foster care procedure on the grounds of sexual orientation, and the authorities are not supposed to deny children placed in children centres the right to have the best possible foster family,” the activist said.
He said that there were currently 1,000 children being brought up in centres instead of by foster families, and a significant number of them still cannot be easily provided with foster care due to various health issues or on the grounds of their ethnic background. He called on the current government, which he described as a coalition consisting of Christian Democrats, progressive Liberals and ethnic minority representatives, to show courage and readiness to make a civilisation step forward to the benefit of children placed in homes.
At the press conference, lawyer Sanja Bezbradica-Jelavić outlined a lawsuit which a same-sex couple has launched against Croatia after the process of granting them fostering rights was halted on the grounds of their sexual orientation. She represents the couple before the Administrative Court.