Representatives of the civil initiative group "In the name of the family" on Friday presented Parliament Speaker Josip Leko with a petition carrying 749,316 signatures for a referendum to be held with the question "Do you agree that a provision be incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia which defines marriage as a lifelong union between a woman and a man".
You have done this in line with democratic standards and we will take note that the provisions of standing orders are enforced. The Sabor does not make assessments or decisions, we work in keeping with the Standing Orders, norms and practice in the Croatian Sabor, Leko said to the initiative's organisers.
He later spoke to reporters and said that the usual procedure is to accept all requests which are then registered and the matter will be referred to the relevant parliamentary bodies to give their opinion, he said.
The initiative's coordinator, Zeljka Markic told reporters that 749,316 citizens wanted the referendum to be held.
We expect the government and Sabor to respect the Constitution and procedure and call for a referendum in the shortest time possible, she said, adding that there was no legal or justified means for the executive authority to avoid calling for a referendum.
"Any step of that nature would mean applying political force or some form of diversion. We don't thing that anyone in Croatia would wish to take a step backwards toward totalitarianism", she said.
Prior to presenting the petition to the Sabor, hundreds of supporters gathered and formed a column to accompany the petition to its destination.
Markic thanked volunteers organised to collect signatures, some of whom had been verbally and physically attacked or belittled in the media.
Reporters asked Markic if their organisation supported Saturday's Gay Pride parade, to which she answered that every citizen had the right to express what was important to them.