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Constitutional Court gives green light to the referendum redefining family. Gov’t to convene tomorrow to adopt emergency ordinance

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has given its green light to the citizens’ initiative to amend the Constitution, after the Senate passed the initiative last week. The initiative that says family is based on the marriage between a man and a woman, not as currently stipulated, consented between spouses.

The constitutional judges have decided by seven votes to two that the draft law to amend the Constitution related to a redefinition of the marriage is compliant with the constitutional provisions.

The CCR decision comes after Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea said he hails the Parliament’s move to pass the citizens’ initiative, and that the referendum redefining family will take place on October 7.

The referendum was asked by the Coalition for Family.

Gov’t to hold sitting tomorrow

Dancila Cabinet will convene in an emergency sitting tomorrow to adopt the drafts necessary to the referendum for the Constitution revision to redefine marriage.

More precisely, the Executive’s aim is to adopt an emergency ordinance to allow the referendum being organized for two days, not just for one day, as it usually happens and as it is stipulated by the law in force.

NGOs calls on the Gov’t to adopt urgent measures for a correct referendum

On the other hand, several NGOs asked Dancila Cabinet and the Parliament Speakers, Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Liviu Dragnea, for urgent actions to hold a correct referendum on October 7, arguing the current law 3/2000 on the organization of a referendum has”serious shortages”.

The organizations are asking for the introduction of the IT system to monitor the turnout and to prevent the illegal vote, a system that has been used during the previous elections.

The request has been signed by Asociaţia pentru Dezvoltare, Transparenţă şi Participare Publică “CIVICA” (CIVICA), Centrul pentru Studiul Democraţiei CENTRAS – Centrul de Asistenţă pentru Organizaţii Neguvernamentale, Centrul pentru Resurse Civice, Centrul pentru Inovare Publică, Centrul Român pentru Politici Europene, Centrul de Resurse pentru Participare Publică, Expert Forum (EFOR), Freedom House, Funky Citizens, Forum Apulum, Geeks for Democracy, by sociologist Mircea Kivu and political scientist Andrei Tiut.

Previously last week, several foreign rights groups, including Amnesty International, made a legal submission last week on the constitutionality of the 7 October vote, arguing a planned referendum to change the definition of family in Romania’s Constitution could lead to a breach of international human rights standards and increase homophobic discrimination in the country. Among the groups, there were ECSOL (European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law) and ILGA-EUROPE (European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association).

The referendum could result in making it impossible to protect same-sex unions in the future. Currently, same-sex couples do not have access to civil partnerships, nor marriage, in Romania.

Instead of recognizing that everyone is entitled to the same human rights and equal protection under the law, this referendum panders to homophobia and might result in constitutional changes that would violate European and international law,” said Arpi Avetisyan, lawyer for ILGA Europe.

If approved, these changes would be a clear backward step for Romania and would have a severe impact on the lives of families not based on marriage,” said Barbora Černušáková, Amnesty International’s researcher on Romania.

About Alina Grigoras Butu