Romania looks to introduce civil partnerships

Romania politicians push ahead with plans for a referendum to introduce a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage but may introduce civil partnerships.

Could civil partnerships for same-sex couples in Romania be on the way?

A leading politician gave a speech in the Eastern European country’s Parliament Monday suggesting as much.

Liviu Dragnea, leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, said the country could not ‘pretend that this minority does not exist.

‘I would like for us to discuss the opportunity to legalize civil partnerships. I asked Victor Negrescu (minister for European Affairs) to meet with NGOs representing this minority in order to get to pass proper legislation to sort this thing out.’

Civil partnerships possible but referendum to ban marriage

At the same time as making his comments on civil partnerships, Dragnea said the Parliament will push ahead with introducing a law to hold a referendum on whether the Romanian constitution should be amended to ban same-sex marriage.

Coinciding with Dragnea’s comments, the National Council for Combating Discrimination yesterday issued a press release announcing it has drafted legislation to legalize civil partnerships.

Dragnea’s comments followed a statement made yesterday morning by the Romanian Deputy Prime Minister, Paul Stanescu. He said the proposed referendum to change the constitution and ban gay marriages will take place in May.

The Romanian constitution currently states that a marriage is between spouses. Opponents of same-sex marriage in the country want to amend the constitution so that it explicitly states marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Dragnea’s comments about civil partnership were immediately seized upon by the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Church spokesman Vasile Banescu told AP any attempt to introduce civil partnerships would ‘contribute to the decline in the importance of marriage and the family, and change the decisive role the family plays in Romanian society.’

Romania is regarded as one of Europe’s more homophobic countries. Same-sex sexual activity is legal but there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples. The church holds a huge influence over the population (approximately 85% of the 19million population belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church).

An anti-gay campaign led by the Coalition for Family gained 3 million signatures in the country in 2016, urging for the government to act to amend the constitution.

The Parliament vote on the referendum is planned for next week.

‘Gay couples for too long have been waiting’

Vlad Viski, President of local LGBTI advocates MozaiQ told GSN, ‘We believe that it is absolutely crucial for civil partnerships to be legalized in Romania. Gay couples for too long have been waiting to be properly recognized by the state.

Local LGBTI rights group Accept also welcomed Dragnea’s comments on civil partnerships.

‘PSD President Liviu Dragnea said today that the debate on civil partnership regulation is necessary,’ said Florin Buhuceanu, President of Accept in a statement.

‘The regulation of the legal situation for same-sex couples is vital and would put an end to the suffering of community members in the hardest moments of life. In addition, the civil partnership means recognising that people in the community can enjoy equal rights in society, based on their contribution to Romania’s well-being as citizens.’

At the same time, a group spokesperson said it did not welcome a referendum on altering the constitution.

‘We are concerned that the proposal for family redefinition in the constitution is being brought back into debate.’

The group believes a referendum to be divisive, ‘expensive and legally unnecessary’, and will inevitably lead to homophobia and hate speech against the community.


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