Romanians are deciding this weekend whether to enshrine a ban on same-sex marriage in the constitution, highlighting the divergence between Europe’s more conservative east and the western push to expand rights for minorities, Bloomberg writes on Romania’s family Referendum.
The two-day referendum was triggered by a civil-society group called the Coalition for the Family, which gathered signatures from almost a sixth of the 20 million population in the predominantly Orthodox Christian country. While gay marriage isn’t currently recognized, the initiative seeks to prevent future attempts to allow it by changing the constitution’s wording to “between a man and a woman” from the current “spouses.”
Romania would become one of a minority of European Union members to constitutionally rule out same-sex marriage, and there’s been no major push to overturn the existing legislation. Opposition parties say the government is using the vote as a distraction from its own problems. The European Parliament accused Romania this week of eroding the rule of law through judicial overhauls that aim to weaken punishments for corrupt officials. “This referendum is more a tool for the ruling politicians to boost their standing, and turnout won’t be great as citizens aren’t really concerned about this issue, even though the Romanians’ values are traditional,” said Alfred Bulai, for Bloomberg, a sociologist at the Bucharest Political Science Faculty. “The cultural background in eastern Europe is different from the west.”