Romanian lawmakers on Tuesday voted against legalizing civil partnerships as legislators said they were worried about same-sex unions which they claimed threatened the institution of marriage.
Deputies rejected the bill in a 229-57 vote. There were six abstentions. The vote in the Chamber of Deputies is final.
Same sex partnerships
Same-sex advocacy groups have pushed for Romania to legalize same-sex partnerships on the grounds that they are currently discriminated against and do not have legal protection.
In recent years, there has been a growing acceptance of same-sex partnerships and a wish to offer couples the same rights as traditional couples.
However, there are still entrenched pockets of opposition to the idea in socially conservative Romania especially among older people.
Romania decriminalized homosexuality 20 years ago. Same-sex unions performed in other countries still have no legal protection in the European Union state.
The bill for was not designed specifically for same-sex couples. But lawmakers said it was aimed at them.
“This is a surrogate institution which is chipping away at civil rights,” said Daniel Gheorghe, a Liberal lawmaker. He said same-sex relationships had led to the decline of the Roman Empire.
„This is an initiative that undermines marriage and the family,” he added.
The only party that openly supported legalizing civil partnerships is the Save Romania Union-PLUS, a relatively new group
Simina Tulbure of USR-PLUS appealed to lawmakers. “Let’s return to Europe. Why do we have to be last? If we want to raise the birthrate, then we should regulate civil partnerships.”
However, Alin Colesa of the far-right Alliance for the Union of Romanians said: “Civil partnerships are not for heterosexual couples but for same-sex” ones.
“We are told our birth rate is in danger. Our birth rate is destroyed by this concept which the traditional family is undermined, beaten (and) systematically destroyed.
“We have to keep the traditional family. It is our copyright,” he added.
Dumitru Coarnă, a Social Democrat lawmaker, also said he was against the measure.
“It’s not a priority. From a religious point of view, a family means a man and a woman. I think we need to concentrate on bigger problems, the health crisis.”