Marriage referendum NGOs reveal campaign costs

The “Citizens vote against” group on Tuesday presented the cost of its preparations for a December 1 marriage referendum, amounting to HRK 285,000 so far, and called on the “In the name of the family” initiative, which had collected signatures for the referendum, to do the same.

Vanja Skoric of “Citizens vote against” told the press that even though the law did not require submitting a report on the costs, this group called on the initiative to do so for the sake of transparency and not to manipulate by hiding its donors.

“Citizens vote against”, which comprises about 70 associations and initiatives, said the “radical right-wing political option Hrast” was behind the “In the name of the family” initiative which, failing to win support in any election, had camouflaged its progress into this initiative.

Zrnka Kusan of “Citizens vote against” said the group would release its final financial report on December 10. She said the group had raised HRK 114,500 so far, of which HRK 87,000 were its own funds and the rest were donations. About HRK 170,000 are donations in kind.

The group revealed the names all of its donors at the news conference.

“In the name of the family” told another press conference that it had raised HRK 231,000 for its referendum campaign, of which 30 per cent from legal entities, while the rest were donations from citizens.

However, the initiative did not reveal who donated the money because, said its lawyer Kresimir Planinic, “we don’t have the duty to do so under the law, but also to protect them from attacks and insults.”

He said the initiative had acted in line with Croatian regulations and laws, including those on financing. He said the initiative would reveal the campaign costs from June 16 until referendum day at the recommendation of the State Election Commission.

Zeljka Markic of “In the name of the family” said many people who publicly supported the initiative had been exposed to attacks and mobbed, and that the initiative’s volunteers and sympathisers were “exposed to public lynching.”

She also said the incumbent government had “openly supported” the anti-referendum campaign.

The initiative collected about 750,000 signatures for a referendum for the Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union.