By an almost two-to-one margin, the people of Croatia affirmed in a referendum on Sunday, December 1 that “marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman.” That definition will now become part of the national constitution.

A pro-family group called “In the Name of the Family” spearheaded the referendum effort, which came in response to efforts by the current leftist government to extend marriage-like benefits to homosexual partners. Pro-family forces needed 450,000 petition signatures to place the issue on the ballot—but obtained 750,000 in only two weeks in a country of about 4.4 million (this would be the equivalent of obtaining 54 million signatures in the United States).

Both Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic opposed the referendum. However, Croatia is almost 90 percent Roman Catholic, and the Church strongly supported the marriage vote. Croatian Cardinal Josip Bozanic had a letter read in the churches in which he declared, “Marriage is the only union enabling procreation. This is the key difference between a marriage . . . and other unions.”

In March 2012 the people of Slovenia, Croatia’s neighbor to the north, also rejected leftist social engineering by repealing a new “Family Code” that had been adopted the year before by the Slovenian parliament. The “Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child” succeeded in rolling back the new code, which would have recognized homosexual unions and facilitated homosexual adoption and parenting.

Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia before the fall of the communist regime there in the early 1990’s, but it is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the most recent country to join the European Union (EU).

A week before the Croatian vote, commentator J.C. von Krembach described the situation:

In both Slovenia and Croatia, the debate around so-called “LGBT rights” evidences the growing disconnection between the ruling classes . . . and the population. In both countries, politics and economy are under the control of a small – mostly ex-communist – nomenklatura seeking to ingratiate itself with the influential pressure-groups that currently act as opinion-makers throughout the greater part of Western and Northern Europe. These elites believe that, in order to be worthy members of the EU, their countries need to recognize same-sex “marriages”, [even] against the declared will of the people.

The people of Croatia are to be praised for standing up for the natural meaning of marriage and the traditional values of their country.