Romanian court gives green light to constitutional referendum proposing discrimination against same-sex couples

The Romanian Constitutional Court has approved a citizen’s initiative that aims to amend the constitutional definition of family to essentially shut same-sex couples out of any future recognition of their relationships.

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ILGA-Europe, who had submitted their views as part of a third party intervention along with other civil society organisations, are disappointed by today’s decision.

“Today’s news is very disturbing. In practical terms, changing those few words in the constitutional article will have profound implications for same-sex couples and their children living in Romania. We have been very proud of the campaigning efforts undertaken by our member organisations in Romania, including ACCEPT, in advance of this decision, and will continue to support them.” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis.

Along with Amnesty International, the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ECSOL) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), ILGA Europe had expressed concern that the amendment would violate Romania’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, including the right to be free from discrimination, the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law, and the right to private and family life.

The proposal suggests altering Article 48.1 which currently states that “The family is founded on the freely consented marriage of the spouses, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children”. The rewording aims to remove the reference to “spouses”, replacing it with a specific reference to one man and one woman.

The constitutional amendment will now be discussed by Parliament. Any proposal to amend the Romanian constitution must be approved by a three-quarters majority of both chambers before a referendum is held.

Photo By Romania_stub.svg: PavelDGay_flag.svg:derivative work: Fry1989 eh? 21:28, 12 September 2011 (UTC) (Romania_stub.svgGay_flag.svg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons