Romanian LGBTIQ groups have celebrated the failure of a constitutional referendum that would’ve banned same-sex marriage.
Romanians went to the polls over the weekend for the referendum on whether the constitutional definition of marriage should be changed from a union of “spouses” to one exclusively of a man and a woman.
Neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions are currently legal in Romania but the referendum would’ve prevented any future attempt to legislate for marriage equality.
The group Coalition for the Family petitioned in 2016 for the referendum, with the backing of conservatives and churches, and successfully brought on the vote with over 3 million signatures.
In order for the result to be legally binding, at least 30% of registered voters had to cast a ballot in the referendum.
But only 20.4 percent of voters had cast ballots by the time polls closed on Sunday, the second day of voting, the country’s electoral commission reported.
LGBTIQ groups had campaigned for Romanians to boycott the vote, and celebrated the low turnout invalidating the referendum.
“Together through the #boycott campaign, we showed that we, as citizens, want a Romania based upon democratic values, a country where respect, equality and common sense guides society,” local LGBTIQ group Accept Association said in a statement.
“Today we have shown that we can not be fooled by a political agenda that urges us to hate and polarise society, we have shown that most of us believe that human rights are not to be voted at a referendum.”
The referendum’s proponents said that the purpose of the change would be to “to protect, at a constitutional level, the definition of marriage – between one woman and one man.”
But Evelyne Paradis, executive director of advocacy group ILGA-Europe, said the proposal to redefine “family” to only include those family groups headed by married, opposite-sex couples, was discriminatory against many modern family structures.
“This proposed [amendment] was always anti-family to its very core,” Paradis said.
“How can excluding generations of children, their parents, siblings or other family members from recognition in the eyes of the state possibly be ‘pro-family’?”
ILGA-Europe said the referendum had shown the vulnerability of the LGBTIQ community and called for proper legal recognition of same-sex partnerships and families.
(Photo: Bucharest Pride via Asociatia Accept)