Two men in Croatia have become the country’s first same-sex foster parents after a three-year struggle.
Mladena Kožica and Ive Šegote applied to become foster parents in 2017. Although they passed all the required tests, they were rejected because they were in a same-sex life partnership. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Croatia, but may enter into “life partnerships”—and the one area where same-sex partnerships were unequal to marriage was in fostering and adoption. The couple appealed to the Family Ministry, were again rejected, and then sued. In December 2019 they won their case to become foster parents, reported Deutsche Welle.
Separately, in January 2020, the Croatia Constitutional Court decided that same-sex couples have the right to be foster parents just like anyone else. The men have recently begun fostering two children, reported Croatian LGBT news portal CroL on Monday.
Daniel Martinovic, head of the country’s Rainbow Family Association, an advocacy and networking organization, told Barron’s, “This gives us hope that things in our country can still change.” He said he would continue to fight for “full marital and family equality” including the right to adopt children (which, as this article explains, is still an open question).
Šegote is also the author of the first picture book in Eastern Europe to depict a family with same-sex parents.