Croatia's cabinet approves broader rights for same-sex couples

ZAGREB Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:44am EST

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia's center-left cabinet approved a more liberal family law on Thursday, granting gay couples most of the same rights as heterosexuals only two weeks after voters in the strongly Roman Catholic country banned gay marriages in a referendum.

The new law does not allow same-sex couples to formally marry or adopt children but they will now be able to register their partnership and enjoy virtually all other legal aspects of marriage such as inheritance or "next-of-kin" hospital visits.

The law has yet to be approved in parliament.

Earlier this month Croats, who joined the European Union in July, voted in a referendum in favor of defining marriage in the constitution as a "union of man and woman".

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that the new law should apply "good European standards".

"In a human sense and in terms of their status, this law will make same-sex partnerships and (heterosexual) marriages equal, but not entirely," Milanovic said.

(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Alison Williams)

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