Romanian senators on September 11 backed a proposal to change the Constitution so that it would state explicitly that the family is based on the marriage between a man and a woman. A referendum on the issue will be organised on October 7, as announced by the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea.
The redefinition of family would effectively ban same-sex marriages. The idea of a referendum on the issue came up after a civil society group, the Coalition for Family, collected 3mn signatures in favour of a new definition. The planned change of definition and referendum has been harshly criticised by NGOs.
The new topic of discussion is likely to distract attention from controversial changes to justice and criminal legislation, the investigation of the violence at a protest in Bucharest on August 10, the crisis caused by the swine flu and the internal conflicts within PSD.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted for changing the Constitution, with 107 votes in favour, 13 against and seven abstentions , Hotnews.ro reported. All the votes against the change came from the Save Romanian Union (USR).
“The change in the Constitution is not about the family, neither is the referendum. It is a populist move of politicians trying to divide un on a non-topic. All you want is to campaign, to distract attention,” USR senator Vlad Alexandrescu said, according to Hotnews.
Following the vote, the Accept NGO reacted calling it “a violation of the right to private and family life.”
“The proposed redefinition of the family in the Constitution, which has been on the agenda of the parliament for two years, is put into focus at a convenient time to distract the Romanian citizens’ attention from the imminent disaster in the economy, justice and agriculture,” Accept said in a statement.
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