On Saturday, ten thousand Christian nationalists in Croatia marched against the government’s plans to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which was adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011. The Istanbul Convention is officially entitled the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.” Croatians are concerned about the provision that countries accepting the convention are required to criminalize any discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The right-wing opposition parties, along with the Catholic Church, organized the protest action. An organizer and former lawmaker, Gordana Turic, said: “They [the EU] say we are backwards because we believe in God. The Istanbul Convention is against God and Christianity.”
The Catholic Church in Croatia and protestors demanded a referendum on the issue.
Another organizer, Kristina Pavlovic, summarized the issue beautifully: “I think this is a turning point for Croatia. . . . We must decide whether Croatia will choose a preservation of family and traditional values or go another way imposed from outside, from Brussels, or like what we see in Canada where there will be a Parent One and Parent Two instead of mother and father.”
Unfortunately the Convention has already been ratified by Serbia and Slovenia, but it has been successfully rejected by Bulgaria and Slovakia.