Croatia’s first out MP kisses boyfriend in powerful display of love triumphing over all

·2-min read

The boyfriend of Croatian MP Domagoj Hajdukovic shared an adorable picture of the pair kissing.

Matija Stainer shared a picture of himself with Hajdukovic to Facebook, thanking followers for their support.

“I want to thank you for your support and messages, of which there are many, coming from both acquaintances and complete strangers,” Stainer wrote.

“To those who send insults, write evil and angry comments. I know that you would give everything if you were in my place…So I wish you good luck.”

In June 2020, Hajdukovic, a Social Democrat MP, came out as gay to the public after he was reportedly assaulted by party official Tomislav Mikulin.

After Mikulin was expelled from the party, Hajdukovic confirmed the pair had been in a relationship.

According to ILGA-Europe, this made Domagoj Hajdukovic Croatia’s first out gay MP.

“Now that I’ve ‘come out of the closet’, even though it certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted to, I would like to believe that I will help break down the prejudices that exist about LGBTIQ people, and maybe help someone else decide to get out of hiding,” he said at the time.

Local media has called the positive response to the picture a sign that LGBT+ acceptance in Croatia is on the up.

The country has some LGBT+ rights enshrined in law. Same-sex relationships have been formally recognised since 2003, and same-sex couples are also able to apply for adoption and foster care.

However, a 2013 referendum led to the Croatian Constitution defining marriage as a union solely between a man and woman, prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Trans people have basic legal recognition, and LGBT+ people are protected by anti-discrimination law.

However, anti-LGBT+ sentiment is common, with ILGA-Europe saying that online hate speech rose in 2020.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights found in a case, Sabalic v Croatia, that Croatia’s response to a violent homophobic crime fostered impunity.

The victim, Sabalic, was attacked in a nightclub after refusing a man’s advances and revealing to him that she was a lesbian. The crime was dealt with as a minor offence, and the attacker was fined the equivalent of 40 euros.

The court labelled the authorities’ response as “particularly destructive of fundamental human rights”.

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