FreieWelt.net: As far as I know, the media and the political elites of Croatia have opposed to the referendum – but you were nevertheless successful. How do you explain this antagonsim – and the result?
Željka Markic: Indeed, it is true that president, prime minister as well as most of the ministers of our government were against and almost all of the media were opposing the referendum. Obviously, this question, question of marriage as a living union between a woman and a man, is very important to the people of Croatia and that is why more than 65 per cent decided to protect marriage constitutionally.
FreieWelt.net: The Croatian constitutional court has ruled that the outcome of the referendum must not affect possible further legislation. Thus, was the referendum simply a symbolic act?
Željka Markic: Constitution of the Republic of Croatia is the highest act in Croatia, all the other laws must be in accordance with the Constitution. Thus, this is not just a symbolic act as only union between a woman and a man can be defined as marriage. This prevents every government to change it without asking the people of Croatia how they feel about it.
FreieWelt.net: Some German media present the Croatian society as homophobic. Is that true?
Željka Markic: As we pointed out many times, this initiative was not against anybody but only for protection of marriage as a living union between a woman and a man. The best way to prove how important it was, is this referendum, the highest act of democracy where people are asked what they want.
FreieWelt.net: Please explain the German audience how your country works: How does the Croatian society differ from those of other European countries?
Željka Markic: Croatia, as well as many other countries of former Yugoslavia, have experienced what totalitarian regime means and that is why Croatian people as they have young democracy are more sensitive on questions of democracy and decision-making process. That is why this was so important to so many people. More important, it‘s in Croatia‘s tradition and heritage that marriage is a union between a woman and man.
FreieWelt.net: What were your motives that made you push the referendum?
Željka Markic: We had a goal; to protect marriage as a living union between a woman and a man. Many things happening pushed us to do our best to ensure this referendum. Namely, one of the things was what was happening in France and then followed by our ministers who were announcing broadening LGBT rights that would include child adoption and similar.
FreieWelt.net: Having finished your fight quite successfully, will you now stop or will you continue? If you continue: with what topic and with what aim?
Željka Markic: Main goal of the initiative was to Constitutionally protect marriage as a living union between a woman and a man. We will continue our work protecting our values and what is important to us. We do not know what is next, it depends on the people of Croatia, of what they want.
FreieWelt.net: Thank you very much for the interview.
You may read this interview in German, too.