Romania to vote on banning gay marriage 

The Romanian parliament voted in favour of a referendum about defining marriage in the Constitution as strictly between a man and a woman. 

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Romania to vote on banning gay marriage  - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Rights groups argue that this is an unconstitutional referendum, because the effect would be to restrict the rights of some categories of people. Currently, the Romanian constitution says that marriage is "between spouses" -- a gender-neutral formulation. The civil code, however, bans gay marriage. The Constitutional change would close the door to legalizing gay marriage in Romania for the foreseeable future. 

The Romanian campaign to change the constitution is one of many similar campaigns taking place in the last years across Europe and beyond, with the goal of restricting rights of women or LGBT+ people. This is a broader conservative movement that's getting bigger and stronger by the day, rather than a Romanian grassroots effort. 

This topic was recommended by our reader Carmen Radu. She comments:

"This power display of the conservatives, backed by the Romanian government, is matching the conservative wind blowing in other CEE countries. The Romanian case will be a democracy test. Activists' strategy is to boycott (#boicot) the referendum by not participating. In order to be validated, it needs a presence of at least 30% from the registered voters (aprox. 5.5 million people voting, either YES or NO)."

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Details from the story:

  • This week, the Romanian Senate approved a citizen initiative to change the Romanian constitution to say that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. 
  • This was the last legislative step before a referendum is organized (the Constitutional Court, which had already declared the referendum constitutional, just needs to give a formal go-ahead). 
  • The leader of the governing Social-Democrats announced that October 7 is the date when the referendum would take place. 
  • Only the  smaller opposition party, USR (the Union to Save Romania), voted against the referendum. 
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