Big Win in Romania

Even though three million Romanians signed a petition to get a ban on same-sex marriage into the constitution, a referendum from the religious right — aided by Americans including the National Organization for Marriage and anti-gay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis — failed on October 6-7, when only 20 percent of eligible voters participated. The constitution can only be changed by a referendum where at least 30 percent show up. Opponents of the amendment successfully pursued a strategy of urging voters to stay home.

The government’s unusual step of holding the referendum over two days instead of one still did not bring out enough people to enact the amendment — even though polls show that 90 percent of Romanians oppose same-sex marriage. Just not enough to take time on a weekend to prevent it.

After the failed vote, Vlad Siski, head of the LGBTQ group Mozaiq, called for the passage of civil partnership legislation and a few days later the ruling party said that they would introduce such legislation for same-sex couples. The country’s constitutional court ruled in September that gay couples must have equal rights. And the European Court of Justice ruled in June that a Romanian man had the right to a spousal visa for his American husband.

Even though the referendum failed, it managed to stir up Romanian haters including the Romanian Orthodox Church and more fringe groups and individuals, who sent out fliers saying gay people target orphan children and promote “gender confusion and early sexualization.”