Over 750,000 Croatian citizens have asked parliament to call a referendum on a constitutional provision that would clearly define marriage in the Croatian constitution as “a life union of a woman and a man”.
It is the first time in the 22 years of Croatian independence that a citizens' initiative has managed to collect the sufficient number of votes in only 2 weeks. The requirement to call for a referendum is 10% of the voting population. The initiative, “In the Name of the Family”, obtained double this amount (i.e. 20%) in only two weeks of signature collection.
This is a massive civic movement—the largest Croatia has seen since its independence.
According to Lino Zonjić, one of the organizers of the initiative, “the voters are very sensitive to the latest attempts of the current government to redefine marriage, family, and thus the entire society by imposing the equalization of homosexual relationships with marriage“.
The “In the Name of the Family” initiative has received support from all major religious communities in Croatia, as well as 5 parliamentary parties, 15 non-parliamentary parties, numerous NGOs, and private families and individuals. However, it calls for even broader support, calling for human rights activists and defenders of democracy to support this initiative as opposition to the referendum gets increasingly aggressive.
Just when you thought it was safe to relax, bureaucrats in Brussels have announced plans to expand the European Commission’s powers over the judicial matters of EU Member States. Under the pretext of defending and strengthening the “rule of law”, President José Manuel Barroso and Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, have both spoken separately about the need for a new legal framework for all of Europe. The reasoning behind this proposal turns out to be misleading and problematic.
In this year’s “State of the Union Speech”, delivered on 11 September 2013 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, European Commission President Barroso announced plans to address “challenges to the rule of law” in Member States. The idea, he said, was to “make a bridge” between targeted infringement procedures on the one hand and “total suspension of a member states’ rights”.
A Power Grab in the Making ...
At their last plenary session, several members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), have signed Written Declaration No. 557 criticising the United Kingdom’s proposal to allow scientists to genetically engineer human embryos using DNA from three parents. The controversial technique was recommended to United Kingdom’s Government by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority earlier this year, even though the creation of a human embryo with more than two genetic parents constitutes a violation of human dignity, according to various international human rights documents. The declaration is an important signal from all over Europe to the UK to stop project that would result in the creation of a three-parent-embryo. PACE members are invited to sign the declaration until end of January 2014.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is an international body charged with upholding human rights and ethical standards, brings together parliamentarians from the Council’s 47 Member States. A total of 34 of the Assembly’s parliamentarians, representing 13 States of Europe from Spain to Georgia, have signed the Declaration affirming “that the creation of children with genetic material from more than two progenitor persons, as is being proposed by the United Kingdom Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, is incompatible with human dignity and international law”.
In a loud and lively debate that is not often seen in this intensity at the European Parliament, a majority of MEPs voted for a referral back to committee of the highly controversial ESTRELA report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. European Dignity Watch reported.
Although an alternative resolution, which sought to promote a dignified vision of maternal health, protect freedom of conscience and healthy sexual education for children, was not adopted, it is a great victory that the report has not been adopted today.
A referral back to committee will give time to investigate further the numerous problematic points of this report, especially the fact that it was co-written by the commercial abortion organisation International Planned Parenthood Federation in Brussels.
In the weeks leading up to the vote today, there has been growing awareness among MEPs of the deep problems related to an understanding of sexual and reproductive health that puts hypersexualisation of children from the earliest age on, a ‘right to abortion’ for all and a severe limitation of freedom of conscience at its centre.
Today, Parliament has sent a clear signal that this radical approach is not shared by the majority.
“We are very happy that not only Parliament came to its senses today with regards to sexual and reprductive health, but also that the voice of 1.4 Million citizens who signed the European Citizen Initiative “One of Us” for a greater protection of human dignity are heard and represented in today’s decision”, says executive director of European Dignity Watch, Sophia Kuby.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 22 October, the EU-Parliament will vote on a Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights claiming a fundamental right to abortion that aims at politically neutralize the European Citizen Initiative "One of Us". The resolution also calls for an improvement of State regulation to limit the exercise of the freedom of religions, conscience and conscientious objection.
It calls for an EU wide compulsory sex education in primary schools "provided in a taboo-free interactive atmosphere between students and educators" and must convey a positive image of homosexuality. The 40-pages resolution reads like a manual on how to restrict fundamental freedoms in Europe. MEPs must vote therefore to adopt the Motion for an Alternative Resolution.
As reaction to the popular success of the European Citizen Initiative "One of Us" on the implementation of EU case law C-34/10 - stating that the human being starts with conception and that the human embryo represents a precise stage of development of the human body, its human dignity is protected by the relevant legal instruments -, the EU-Parliament will vote tomorrow, Tuesday 22 October, in Strasbourg on a resolution promoting free and safe abortion for all (Estrela report A7-0306/2013).
MEP Michael Cashman (UK, SOC), leader of the LGBT caucus and pro-abortion activist, publicly recognized his intention to fight a "Blitzkrieg" against the right to life, orchestrated by EU funded pro-abortion NGOs (UNFPA, IPPF, Marie-Stopes-International, Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung). The vote takes place one week before the deadline of "One of Us", one of the most successful citizen campaigns in recent European history.