MEPs urge Romania against referendum on changing definition of marriage

A Romanian initiative to amend the constitution so a marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman has already secured the support of the lower house of parliament. [Gabriel Petrescu/ Shutterstock]

MEPs from across the political spectrum have urged Romania’s parliament not to organise a referendum that could make gay marriage impossible under a revised constitution. EURACTIV Romania reports.

33 members of the European Parliament have written to the Romanian parliament, urging its lawmakers not to vote in favour of holding a national referendum on amending the country’s constitution.

The lower house of the parliament has already supported a citizens’ initiative that wants to change the definition of a marriage in the constitution from “between spouses” to between a man and a woman.

If passed by the Senate and supported by Romanian voters, it would make same-sex marriages all but impossible in the country.

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The Coalition for Family group was able to get the signatures of three million Romanians to support its initiative, which also has the support of the Orthodox Church.

MEPs from the Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL, the S&D group, the ECR, ALDE and even the EPP signed the letter calling on the Senate to vote against the idea.

The letter warned that “allowing the referendum, without providing for any alternative legal form of recognition of unmarried couples, seems to support the continued violation of human rights of same-sex partners, as well as children in the care of unmarried or single parents”.

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Amendments to Romania’s constitution need to be adopted by both levels of the parliament and with a majority of at least two-thirds. The Chamber of Deputies has already backed the proposal by 232 votes in favour to 22 against.

If the Senate also supports the initiative then a referendum must be held within 30 days.

The constitutions of fellow EU members Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia all describe marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Currently, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK legally recognise and perform same-sex marriages.