Controversies over law banning any reference to gender identity in schools and universities. President, unlikely to promulgate it

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Universities and representatives of students and pupils asked President Iohannis not to promulgate the Education Law with an amendment recently adopted by the Senate which bans any reference to gender identity in schools and universities.

The law says that the gender identity is “understood as the theory or opinion that gender is a different concept from the sexual anatomy and that the two are not always the same”.

USR senator Vlad Alexandrescu has warned that through this amendment the classes about the gender identity and equal rights will be banned, against the university autonomy, while the specialized MBAs will be disbanded.
The draft law proposed by PMP has passed by 81 votes to 22 against and 27 abstentions. According to senator Alexandrescu, PSD and PMP votes for this amendment, while PNL has abstained and USR voted against.
Alexandrescu also accuses that with this law Romania joins such stances promoted by Viktor Orban’s Hungary or Poland, becoming a regime of Thought Police.
ACCEPT Association has also urged the Romanian President to deny promulgating the law and to to send it back to Parliament.
“The President must defend the integrity of the educational space, the freedom of thought and academic speech, which enable pupils, students and experts to have access to correct information based on science, not on prejudice and religious bigotry,” reads an ACCEPT press release.
According to the NGOs findings, there are around 120,000 transgender people living in Romania, and “the amendment adopted by the Senate contradicts the obligations assumed by Romania through the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and through ECHR and ECJ case law”.

Political sources told Digi24 that the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will not promulgate the law, as he is opposing its provisions as well.

Babes-Bolyai University (UBB) in Cluj-Napoca has also reacted against the amended law, voicing its opposition against “any type of political or ideological intrusion over science or the academic environment”.

“The major issue is that an academic theory can be forbidden by law! (…) UBB is one of the most important academic communities in Romania, with almost 50,000 members, united through common values and respecting our difference where they exist.

Apart from the variety of ideological options, our stance is that the major issue in this case is that, through vague wording of the law, an academic theory can be banned by law, not to mention that it is questioning some already existing university specializations, programmes, researches or classes.

But an academic theory is tested academically and it survives or disappears following tests conducted under ethical circumstances, and not otherwise! We are confident that, in this case, we are talking about a loophole that will be amended”, says UBB.

The University of Bucharest has also had a tough stance against the Education law’s amendment referring to the gender identity, saying that this amendment “is going against some fundamental laws guaranteed by the Romanian Constitution and by the international conventions, that it has no scientific ground and represents a blatant example of interference in education and freedom of speech.”

The National Alliance of the Student Organizations in Romania and the National Council of Pupils have also condemned the gender identity amendment, arguing that the Parliament “has legislated an abuse against people whose gender is not compliant with the sexual anatomy, has limited their right to education and has instigated to hatred against these people, sending the education in Romania to Middle Ages”.

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