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Last updated at 13:00 GMT, Monday, 02 December 2013

Croatia voters back same-sex marriage ban

Summary

2 December 2013

Croatian voters have backed proposals to ban same-sex marriages in a referendum. Two-thirds of those who voted approved proposals to change Croatia's constitution to define marriage as 'a union between a man and a woman'.

Reporter:

Guy Delauney

two men embrassing

Croatia now has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

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Report

Government proposals to formalise rights for same-sex couples prompted the petition. Around three-quarters of a million people signed it - out of a total population of just over 4 million. The Catholic Church is a key part of Croat identity - and many people are socially conservative.

The referendum is an enormous embarrassment for Croatia's government. It tried - and failed - to block the vote through the courts.

Success is a relative concept. Croatia appeared to be moving in a different direction to other western Balkan countries when it joined the EU in July. Now, like its neighbours, Serbia and Montenegro, it has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

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Vocabulary

formalise

make official

petition

a document signed by many people that asks someone in authority to do something

key part

(here) very important part

socially conservative

(here) people who are traditional and who do not like change

embarrassment

feeling of being ashamed by what it (the government) has done or what has happened to it

to block

to stop

a relative concept

an idea that can mean different things to different people

a constitutional ban

a law which people of a country must follow that officially says they cannot do something

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