A two-day referendum in Romania on changing the constitutional definition of marriage to narrow it to “the consensual marriage between a man and a woman” appeared unlikely on October 7 to reach the threshold of 30 per cent turnout to be valid.
Romania’s central electoral bureau said that by 1pm on October 7, the second day of voting, turnout had reached just 11.67 per cent.
The conservative Coalition for the Family wants the wording of the constitution regarding marriage changed from the current “consensual marriage between two spouses”. In this, it is back by the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Those opposed to the change have called for a boycott of the referendum, to ensure that it fails.
Among those supporting the change from outside Romania is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
In a message to the Romanian Orthodox Church, reported by basilica.ro, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said: “Being faithful to Christ’s teaching, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church defends and preaches the teaching that the only marriage bond blessed and pleasing to God is that between a man and a woman who received the approval of the Holy Church for its fulfillment and the divine grace poured out in the Sacrament of Marriage.”
It said: “The Bulgarian Patriarchate has always had a pastoral and social stance related to contemporary family matters and issues, especially regarding ever more persistent and aggressive attempts to redefine marriage, putting on the same level all kinds of cohabitation between same-sex persons or cohabitations contrary to human nature to gain social recognition and legalization”.
Romanian media reported that Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă said that she voted “yes” in the referendum. “Family is an important topic for all of us. I voted for the values in which I believe,” Dăncilă was quoted as saying.
The LGBTQ community in Romania says the referendum only incites discrimination in a country that only fully decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 as a precondition for entering the European Union, NPR reported.
Voting re-opened on October 7 at 7am and continues until 9pm Bucharest time.
(Illustration: Billy Alexander/sxc.hu)