Croatian gay rights groups have slammed a new law that blocks same sex couples from becoming foster parents and vowed to fight it in the country’s top court.

The new law was adopted by parliament last Friday after a heated debate in the staunchly Catholic country over whether same-sex couples should be eligible to take in children.

It “once again sends a message to (LGBT) ‘life partners’ that they are second-class citizens, and also doesn’t take childrens’ best interests into account,” he said.

Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, has seen a gradual liberalisation of gay rights in recent years.

Homosexual couples are unable to marry legally but can register as “life partners” since 2014.

During the debate on the law, Stevo Culej, an MP of the ruling conservative HDZ, asked another deputy whether he would “give a child to two (participants) of the gay pride parade with bare butts.”

The comments were lambasted in local media as deeply homophobic.

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