Image by naeim a from Pixabay

The consultation would only take place in half of the country.

The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is set to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognising same-sex relationships.

However, the country is divided up in two self-governing entities, and only the Federation is considering the move. The more conservative Republika Srpska, which covers less than the Federation, is not considering it.

The Federation agreed to hold the consultation after demands from same-sex couples who had gotten married or registered abroad. Currently, neither region offers recognition of same-sex couples.

The Federation has appointed an interdepartmental working group to look at these rights. The group’s chair, Sead Lisak, said the group would have its first meeting later this month. The group will meet with LGBTQ activists to discuss the issues faced by same-sex couples before drafting legislation.

If it goes ahead with affording same-sex couples recognition, Bosnia and Herzegovina would be a trailblazer among the Balkan states, with none of its immediate neighbours offering these rights. Nearby countries like Serbia and Croatia even have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Last year, the country’s capital, Sarajevo, finally held its first Pride parade, the last capital city in Europe to do so. However, the event had to be guarded by police, and a poll found 58% of people were against the Pride going ahead.

Samra Cosovic-Hajdarevic, the Deputy of the Party of Democratic Action called the march a “terrible” idea aimed at “destroying the state and its people.”

She then added that LGBTQ people should be “isolated and moved as far as possible from our children and society.”

LGBTQ rights aren’t great across the Balkan nations, and earlier this year crowds of people cheered in the Croatian town of Imotski cheered and danced as an effigy of a gay couple was set on fire.

Zoran Milanović, President of Croatia, slammed the festival for promoting hatred and violence.

“The symbolic burning of the same-sex couple with a child in Imotski is inhumane, unpleasant and totally unacceptable under the cover of the carnival celebrations,” he said in a statement on Facebook.

“Hatred for others, intolerance and inhumanity are not and will never be a Croatian tradition.”