Croatia’s first openly gay politician has reaffirmed his commitment to legalizing same-sex unions.
Damir Hrsak, who recently declared his homosexuality in an interview, also announced his run for European Parliament as Croatia prepares to join the European Union on 1 July.
In a translated interview with news website Jutarnji, Hrsak said: ‘The LGBT population is just one of the discriminated communities in Croatia. I believe that communities who care about human and animal rights will recognize my efforts in the fight against discrimination’.
Hrsak also gave first-hand insight into the state of homophobia in Croatia.
‘It’s much better, but still not good. As the law is concerned, the situation is improving, a hate crime is recognized as a criminal offense’.
‘However,’ he added, ‘while public entities can assert with impunity for example, that only healthy people, not homosexuals, play football, the situation is unsatisfactory’.
Hrsak asserted that Croatia would be ready for gay marriage and same-sex couples adopting children when the Labour party came to power.
In May 2012 Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic announced plans to improve the legal rights of same-sex couples, stopping short of full marriage equality.
News website Libela.org asked the Labour Party member if his decision to become the only openly gay candidate in Parliamentary elections was a pragmatic move.
‘Like nationality or race, a person does not have any choice about it [homosexuality] except to accept themselves as a human being with all their creative potential, or live in strife and auto-destruction,’ he said.
‘It is nothing to be proud or ashamed of’.
‘I consider it my moral obligation to fight for all people to be widely accepted, more creative and happier,’ he added.
If elected to Parliament, Hrsak said he would contribute to the betterment of Croatian citizens by keeping ‘an intensive, systematic and genuine cooperation with civil society’.
‘For me, the Croatian civil society certainly counts’.
On his attitude toward the Catholic Church, Hrsak said: ‘I’ll support any action that is in the spirit of true Christianity’.
‘I will, however, confront everything where it boils down to a multinational company that sells sophisticated sacraments and intimidates people, even children, with eternal damnation’.
‘Examples of greed and cruelty in the Church’s history can never compromise true Christianity based on love, freedom and justice. That notion of love, freedom and justice is a lifestyle, not a PR phrase’.