Post submitted by HRC staff with contributions from Molly Aronson
The Constitutional Court of Romania ruled that a proposal that would limit marriage to only being between a man and a woman is valid any may proceed through the remainder of the constitutional amendment process. Next, Parliament must approve the proposal and it must pass a nationwide referendum before it becomes law.
The Coalition of the Family started the proposal, which has been signed by more than three million Romanians. According to Romanian law, a proposal must receive 500,000 signatures in order to be considered valid. The court did not rule on the content of the proposal, but simply the validity based on the number of signatures.
Liberty Counsel, an organization that has been designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has praised the proposal and even submitted a major brief to support the referendum. Liberty Counsel is known for repeatedly attacking the LGBTQ community with hateful rhetoric. They have called for the criminalization of homosexuality, the legalization of discrimination against LGBTQ people and the need for LGBTQ people to be “cured.”
The current chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, represents disgraced Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and infamous Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Staver was also featured in HRC’s Export of Hate campaign.
Same-sex couples can not currently marry in Romania, but because the Romanian constitution defines marriage as between “partners” with no genders specified there is no legal bar to the country choosing to recognize marriage for same-sex couples. If the initiative to restrict marriage to one man and one woman passes, the potential to attain marriage equality in Romania in the future will become increasingly more difficult.