Advertisements

Romania is having a referendum on whether to ban same-sex marriage!

BLOG

A date has been set for when Romanian citizens will vote on whether to change the definition of “the family. On 6th and 7th October, the country will vote in the referendum, which has been widely condemned around Europe as “backward” and unacceptable. Politics in Romania has captured the world in the last 12 months as corruption and scandal has outraged millions of the Romanian public. Although this referendum has been branded as a constitutional one, it could potentially damage the country’s reputation and status within the EU, as well as further divide the nation on the political and moral issues.

The detail of the referendum is rather complicated; Romanian citizens are voting on whether to change the definition of “family” which is in Article 48 of the country’s constitution. If the country voted in favour of the reform, it would potentially rule out legalising same-sex marriage. It is rather an extraordinary vote, considering the country is a member of the EU and part of western and European culture.

However, much of the country’s build up to this vote has gone unheard; the referendum has been triggered by a citizen’s initiative from the “Coalitia pentru Famillie” (the coalition for family) in 2015. A petition needs 500,000 signatures to initiate a constitution amendment referendum, but this petition gathered over 3 million signatures. Presently, the Romanian constitution defines family as the “free-willed marriage between spouses”. However, the referendum will aim to change it to “free-willed marriage between man and woman”.

EU Summit in Belgium
President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, is against the amendment 

Many western Europeans would assume that the Romanian politicians are shocked at this backward-looking referendum. However, this could not be further from the case; as most politicians support the amendment, as well as most religious groups. The Chamber of Deputies approved the initiative in May 2017, with a vote of 232-22. Surprisingly, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is against the amendment, which is unlikely to make him popular as Romania is expected to support the amendment.

Romania referendum 2

However, the EU are furious, and the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law filed a challenge with the Constitutional Court. Moreover, this referendum will differ from past ones as previously there must be a 50% turnout for the result to be valid, but now it has been lowered to 30%, meaning the vote is nearly certain to be acted upon.

Romania protests 2
Anti political-corruption protests have taken place throughout the year.

The referendum has been delayed twice due to ongoing political protests happening all over the country in the last 12 months. The main issue is political corruption; in July President Iohannis approved the dismissal of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta which was met with outrage and disgust from citizens. Furthermore, the government has passed a decree meaning that politicians jailed on corruption charges can now be freed. Over 150,000 people gathered in Bucharest to protest against these decisions; hence why the referendum has been delayed.

Romania’s situation certainly brings a moral dilemma when forming an opinion. From an EU perspective, they have every right to be furious about this situation; due to it being a backward approach which goes against neoliberal western society. The EU are not afraid to express their views and to intervene, as they are currently doing with the Hungarian refugee crisis.

However, on the other hand Romania’s internal democratic values and affairs is a domestic issue. Therefore, it can be argued that the EU should not be intervening, even bullying, a national democracy. Romania’s citizens have a more traditional opinion on family and marriage, and 3 million signing a petition certainly gives the country a mandate to hold a vote. Whatever people may feel, it will be very interesting to see which way the country votes on October 6th and 7th, and what the EU’s response will be!

Advertisements
No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BLOG
Seven Labour MP’s resign: is history repeating itself?

The breaking news this morning is that a staggering seven Labour MP’s have resigned from the party this morning. In the press conference, each MP stood up and gave an emotional account of why they believe they can no longer remain a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. The main …

Advertisements
BLOG
Opinion: I’d rather be a ‘stupid Brexiteer’ than a deluded Europhile!

European and British media were startled yesterday at a press conference when Donald Tusk made the shocking remarks. When Tusk said that Brexiteers with no plan ‘have a special place in hell’, the room was not only shocked but even Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, realised that Tusk’s remarks would see …

Advertisements
BLOG
1
LABOUR CRISIS: Venezuela, Anti-Semitism, and their Brexit nightmare

In the past few weeks, it would be no surprise to think that the Conservatives are losing to Labour in the polls and that their leader is in a vulnerable position. The truth of the matter is all of those things are correct but in reverse; Labour are going through …

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: