Romania votes in controversial marriage referendum

BUCAREST: Romania goes to the polls this weekend in a referendum on a slender definition of marriage that the ruling Social Democrats hope will re-energise flagging grassroots fortify some of the country's overwhelmingly Orthodox inhabitants.

Nearly 19 million Romanians are entitled to vote in the plebiscite which objectives to vary the wording of the constitution to outline marriage explicitly as between a person and lady, somewhat than just "spouses" as it has mentioned since 1991.

"My Orthodox education and my traditional upbringing make me say 'yes'," the Social Democratic Party (PSD)'s strongman, Liviu Dragnea, said just lately.

It was Dragnea, 55, who led the PSD to a sweeping victory in 2016 elections.

But he was not able to run for the put up of high minister due to prison troubles, together with a two-year suspended jail sentence for vote-rigging in a referendum in 2016.

And he's scheduled to appear in courtroom on Monday to enchantment every other sentence — of three-and-a-half years — over a fake jobs scandal.

From a prison perspective, not anything will trade if the "yes" aspect wins the referendum, which is being held over two days to make sure most turnout.

Same-sex couples are lately not allowed via law to marry or enter into civil partnerships in Romania, anyway.

Nevertheless, critics say a transformation in the wording of the constitution will make it tricky or nigh-on unimaginable for gays and lesbians to marry in long run.

The country's LGBT community, which already complains that gay individuals are matter to common discrimination on an everyday basis, believes the referendum -- which has the explicit backing of the Orthodox church -- will gasoline homophobia still further.

Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007 and is the bloc's second-poorest member after Bulgaria, best decriminalised homosexuality in 2001.

And a victory of the "yes" vote is extensively expected to be a done deal, with a brand new ballot on Friday appearing as many as 90 percent of people in favour.

For the vote to be valid, a minimal turnout of 30 percent is needed.

A defeat would deal a severe blow to the Social Democrats who've been campaigning, albeit unofficially, along Orthodox clergymen for the "yes" aspect.

The government's resolution to press ahead with the referendum has alarmed Brussels, with the EU Commission's deputy chief, Frans Timmermans, reminding Bucharest of its human rights commitments.

"I don't want family values to be transformed into arguments that encourage the darkest demons and hatred against sexual minorities," he said all the way through a debate on a series of reforms which are noticed as undermining the independence of Romania's judiciary.

Sociologist Marius Pieleanu of the Avangarde institute warned that such interjections could if truth be told have the opposite impact as eurosceptic sentiment positive factors ground in the country.

"Some undecided voters might swing to the 'yes' side precisely because they feel such attitudes are hostile towards Romania," he instructed AFP.


If the anti-gay marriage foyer has been ramping up its rhetoric in the run-up to the vote, civil rights groups have urged a boycott.


"In a democracy, the rights of minorities are not put to a vote. That's the difference between the Middle Ages and the 21st century," said the Centre for Legal Resources, a non-profit NGO.


Bela Marko, a poet and previous president of the Ethnic Hungarians' Union in Romania, warned that "everything will change the day after the vote, as other initiatives will follow, first against abortion, then on the state's religion, the death penalty, the Roma" and other issues.


Romania votes in controversial marriage referendum Romania votes in controversial marriage referendum Reviewed by kailash soni on October 06, 2018 Rating: 5
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