Romanians vote on constitutional ban on same sex marriage

A poster reading Defend the children of Romania and the marriage between a man and a woman, come to the referendum and say 'YES'" is pictured in Bucharest.

Romanians vote аt the weekend on whether to enshrine in their constitution that marriage must only be between a man and a woman in a referendum. The eastern European state already does not allow marriage or civil partnerships for same-sex couples, nor does it recognise those performed abroad. Regardless, Romanians will vote on whether to narrow the constitutional definition of marriage from a union of "spouses" at the initiative of a civil society group called the Coalition for the Family, which said the gender-neutral term could see gay couples win the right to marry in the future.

The vote needs a turnout rate of 30%, or more than 5 million people, to be valid. Dozens of human rights groups, which are encouraging people to boycott the ballot, have warned approval would embolden further attempts to chip away at the rights of minority groups and push the European Union state onto a populist, authoritarian track. The constitution currently states that "the family is founded on the freely consented marriage of the spouses, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children," according to a Coalition for the Family translation. The vote is backed by the Orthodox Church and other religions and won support from all but one political party in parliament.

Some campaign posters and adverts urged people to vote "Yes" to defend family values or run the risk of gay couples stealing or adopting their children. One advert said a "No" vote would enable a man to marry a tree. "

Many fear that what has happened in other countries, such as legalizing marriage between a man and an animal, could happen here," the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democrat Party Liviu Dragnea told private television station Romania TV.

Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, decades after neighbouring countries.

Similar articles