Romania ‘turns illiberal’ with moves against gay marriage

A woman holds a pancarte reading in Romanian "The traditional family is in danger, come toghether to defend it!" during a protest againnst homosexuality in Bucharest May 20, 2017. Dozens of people, supporters of far-right party Noua Dreapta (The New Right) marched downtown Bucharest prior to incoming "Bucharest Pride" to express their support for the traditional family and to protest against homosexuality shouting "Romania doesn't tolerate the homosexuals" and "Romania, an (Christian) Orthodox country". / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

Claudia Ciobanu writes at Politico:

BUCHAREST — Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland.

Romania’s civil code forbids same-sex marriage, and civil partnerships — whether between heterosexual or gay partners — are not legal. But the constitution’s gender-neutral formulation on marriage, which defines it as a union “between spouses,” has left the legislative door open to legalizing gay marriage.

“This is an issue of immense depth,” Liviu Dragnea, leader of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the most powerful politician in Romania, told reporters last month, pledging to quickly amend the constitution. “Even if some of my colleagues in Brussels are unhappy with what is happening in Romania, we will make it happen.”

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