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Romanian Parliament votes to hold referendum

Summary

  • Three million strong initiative asked for referendum on definition of marriage two years ago
  • International human rights experts urged Parliament to listen to public opinion

BUCHAREST (12.9.2018) – More than three million Romanians have supported the civic initiative to define marriage as a union between one woman and one man in the Constitution. On 11 September, the Senate, which is the second chamber of the Romanian Parliament, voted in favour of holding the referendum.

Allowing to hold the referendum on the definition of marriage is the right decision for Romania

“We have encouraged the Romanian Parliament to protect and promote marriage as the union between one man and one woman. This union is timeless, universal, and unique. Our society should strengthen marriage and the family, not undermine it. Allowing  the referendum to take place is the right decision,” said Adina Portaru, a Romanian lawyer who works as Legal Counsel for ADF International in Brussels.

A referendum for the family

In 2016, the civic initiative Coalition for Family gathered three million signatures supporting the definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the Constitution of Romania. The Constitutional Court unanimously approved the initiative in July 2016, and the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour in May 2017.

In March 2018, 40 Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum called on the President and the leaders of all political parties to “support the organisation of the referendum without delay”. With the support of the Senate, the referendum will most likely take place in October 2018.

“Given its overwhelming democratic support, the referendum on marriage is a litmus test for democracy in Romania. Three million voices cannot simply be ignored. We urge Romania to organise the referendum as soon as possible,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.

ADF International filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Constitutional Court that argued that the referendum should be allowed to proceed.

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