Torched Effigy of Gay Couple Causes Outrage in Croatia

The Croatian President, government ministers, LGBT rights groups and the Ombudsperson on Monday all condemned the burning of an effigy of a kissing same-sex couple and their child at a Dalmatian carnival, calling it a hateful act. The image was torched at Sunday's traditional carnival in the small town of Imotski in the Dalmatian Hinterland.

President Zoran Milanovic condemned the act on Facebook as "inhumane and totally unacceptable". Education Minister Blazenka Divjak and Economy Minister Darko Horvat also condemned it.

The Rainbow Family Association, which gathers LGBT couples and individuals who have or want to have children, on Monday said the action sent an appalling message to society and to children especially.

"The scary scenes from Imotski cannot be justified by carnival customs… What kind of message is being sent to our children, children who nowadays in Croatia grow up with lesbian mothers or gay fathers?" Daniel Martinovic the association's coordinator, said.

"I find it incomprehensible, devastating and sad. It teaches children that it is okay to hate. That's unacceptable," Ombudsperson Lora Vidovic tweeted on Sunday.

A Social Democrat MP, Arsen Bauk, said that he would file charges against the organisers of the carnival.

Each year, carnivals across Dalmatia select new figures to feature as effigies, often selecting things or people that have made local inhabitants upset and angry.

Part of the effigy burned in Imotski clearly showed the face of Social Democratic Party MP Nenad Stazic, who has campaigned in parliament for same-sex couples to be allowed to foster children. His character had also a red star on his forehead, the symbol of former communist Yugoslavia.

When local media outlet Slobodna...

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