PM Viorica Dancila has officially announced on Tuesday that the referendum to redefine the family will be held for two days, October 6 and 7, arguing the the citizens should have enough time to cast their votes.
However, the question that will be on the ballot paper does not explicitly mention the word “family”, but Romanians will be asked if they agree to the law amending the Romanian Constitution in the form adopted by the Parliament, as the Government spokesperson announced.
“Do you agree to the law reviewing Romania’s Constitution in the form adopted by the Parliament?” will be the question Romanians will have to answer at the referendum, which might not be so explicit for all voters, as many are not informed on what the law contains.
The Government spokesperson said he cannot make comments if the question is revealing to all voters.
“This solution has been taken into account and enforced during the referendum in 2003. I am sure we’ll manage to reach all citizens with all information“, Nelu Barbu said.
He also announced that the cost of the referendum mounts to RON 163.712 million, which means over EUR 35 million.
The Gov’t spokesperson added that ballot papers will be printed by the Official Gazette, while the voting stamps will be made by the State Bureau of Engraving.
Few days ago, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) gave 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.
On the other hand, the Save Romania Union (USR) urged voters to boycott the referendum on redefining the family, arguing that the future popular consultation does not have anything to do with the idea of family.
“As vice-chairman of the formation and USR Senator, I urge all those who now listen to me to boycott this referendum, because unless the turnout reaches 30%, the referendum will not be validated and will have no consequences,” Vlad Alexandrescu has told RFI Romania.
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”.
Previously last week, several foreign rights groups, including Amnesty International, made a legal submission 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).
“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.