Earlier this month, 40 members of the European Parliament sent a letter to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis urging him to hold a proposed referendum on the definition of marriage.
Two and a half years ago, 3 million Romanians, more than 15 percent of the country’s population, signed a citizens’ initiative asking the government to amend its constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman instead of the union of two spouses. After numerous legal and technical challenges, Deputy Prime Minister Paul Stanescu said this week the referendum could be organized as soon as May.
Also this week, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, proposed the government discuss legalizing civil partnership, noting the country shouldn’t “fail to examine the situation of a minority in Romania.”
Supporters argue civil partnerships provide an alternative for same-sex couples without eroding the definition marriage.
But the two stand in opposition to each other, said Adina Portaru, a native Romanian and legal counsel for the Brussels office of ADF International, the global partner of Alliance Defending Freedom. “The notion of spouses will be blurred if civil partnerships are adopted before the referendum is held,” Portaru told me. She said the vote needs to happen soon.
“The problem is that we have been talking for two years,” Portaru said. “There have been so many dates put forward [and then recalled.] People don’t know what to think.” She, like the 40 European Parliament members, believes the government needs to give a democratic voice to its citizens who believe marriage should remain the union of a man and woman. —K.C.