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Romanian Lawmakers Endorse Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

A Senate vote and a referendum are still needed to enshrine man-woman unions as the only legal form of marriage.

15 May 2017

Romania has cleared the first hurdle on the way to banning same-sex marriages. On 9 May, the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of a constitutional change to define the family as based on marriage between a man and a woman, Romania-Insider.com writes.

 

The vote to adopt a citizens’ initiative supported a group called Coalition for Family passed with 232 votes in favor, 22 against, and 13 abstentions. The next step is a vote in the Senate, followed by a referendum on amending the constitution, which needs to take place within 30 days after approval, according to Digi24.ro.

 

National Liberal Party deputy Daniel Gheorghe said such a change would strengthen the institution of the family.

 

“The identity and values of the society we live in have lately been under attack around the world; family has become a target. The relativization of morals aims to achieve the relativization of the family. No rights are curtailed by this measure. It is only a clarification of legislation, and a strengthening of what family means in Romania,” Gheorghe told Adevarul.

 

The Romanian Constitution currently defines the family as based on “marriage between spouses.” The Coalition for Family as of last summer had gathered 3 million signatures in favor of specifying that marriage is a bond between a man and a woman, according to Ziare.com.

 

The current civil code does not recognize same-sex marriages concluded outside of Romanian borders, nor civil partnerships either between people of the same or of the opposite sex. 

 

The European Court of Justice could rule on the legal status of same-sex couples in Romania as it considers a case initiated by American Claibourn Robert Hamilton and his Romanian partner, LGBT activist Adrian Coman, who married in Belgium in 2010.

 

The couple sued Romania when immigration authorities refused to recognize their union, and the case was then passed to the EU court last year by the Romanian Constitutional Court, EurActiv wrote in April.

 

The ECJ said the case was still in its initial stages and it could not predict when it might make a ruling.

 

 

  • Same-sex marriage is legal in nearly half of EU member states, none of them in Central or Eastern Europe. Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2000, but homophobia still runs high, EurActiv writes.

 

  • In its annual review of the situation for non-heterosexuals in Europe, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) gave Romania a 23 percent score – low, but higher than the scores for countries like Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Moldova.

 

  • The assessment considers criteria such as legal protections from discrimination in employment and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender and intersex people, and equality in family law including same-sex marriage and parenting rights.

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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