Recognition of same-sex unions in Romania

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Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships
Marriage
Recognized
Previously performed but not invalidated
  1. Can be registered also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage

*Not yet in effect

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Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

Romania does not recognise same-sex unions, either in the form of same-sex marriage or civil unions.

2004 election campaign[edit]

Romanian President Traian Băsescu said during his electoral campaign of late 2004 that he sees nothing wrong with same sex marriage. The opposition Social Democratic Party later used his comments against him during the presidential campaign.

Political activism[edit]

The primary LGBT rights in Romania, ACCEPT, has advocated for partnership rights for same sex couples as well as for same-sex marriage in Romania. The organisation launched a campaign to legalise same-sex unions in Romania during the Bucharest GayFest 2006, which lasted from 30 May to 4 June, and was organised under the theme of "Same-sex marriage and civil unions in Romania". This event provoked widespread debate over the issue in the media. LGBT activists from ACCEPT organised a public debate and seminar on same-sex unions on 31 May, and called on the government to provide marriage or at least registered partnership for same-sex couples, offering its assistance in forming a legislative proposal.[1] So far, the government has not responded.

Romaniţa Iordache, the president of ACCEPT, stated on 31 May that "Article 200 [the last anti-gay law] has been abrogated, but we [the LGBT community] still do not have equal rights, even though the Constitution guarantees this."[2] The spokesman of ACCEPT, Florin Buhuceanu, claimed that, "Guaranteeing the equality of rights through the recognition of gay marriage... is just a step forward."[3]

Romania's first religious same-sex marriage ceremony took place on 5 June 2006, following the Bucharest GayFest, when Florin Buhuceanu, the executive director of ACCEPT, married his Spanish partner of four years. The symbolic marriage, which has no legal status in Romania, was blessed by the Metropolitan Community Church in Bucharest, an international denomination which recognises same-sex unions and supports LGBT rights. The couple married officially later in 2006, in a civil marriage in Spain, where same-sex marriage is legal.[4][5]

Statutory same-sex marriage ban[edit]

On 13 February 2008, the Senate of Romania voted an amendment to the Civil Code, proposed by Greater Romania Party, to explicitly define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Previously, the law had only used the words "between spouses". The amendment was approved with 38 votes for, 10 votes against and 19 senators abstaining.[6] It was not voted on in the Chamber of Deputies, and as new elections took place at the end of that year, the legislation died.

In May 2009, a new Civil Code was proposed by the government. The Parliamentary Subcommittee responsible for the Civil Code decided to amend the definition of marriage, mentioning explicitly that it must be "between a man and a woman". Furthermore, an amendment was passed stating that the Romanian state would not recognise foreign same-sex marriages.[7][8] The government will assume responsibility over the law, thus bypassing the parliament.

On 5 June 2013 a Parliamentary Committee for reviewing the Constitution voted to include sexual orientation as a protected ground against discrimination in the new Constitution. The same committee voted, the following day, to change the current marriage law form, which describes marriage as "a consensual union between spouses", to the more restrictive form, describing it "as a union between a man and a woman alone", thus banning same-sex marriage.[9] Faced with a series of backlashes from civil society and domestic and international organizations, such as ACCEPT and Amnesty International,[10] the committee retracted both amendments.

Civil partnerships law project[edit]

On 23 February 2008, Péter Eckstein-Kovács, a parliamentarian from the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, proposed the legalisation of registered partnerships which would allow unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex couples a number of rights. He said that the current Family Code was "adopted more than fifty years ago and no longer reflects social realities, both in the case of homosexuals and heterosexuals".[11] This marks the first time in Romania that a politician(although Hungarian) has explicitly supported civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

On 23 July 2008, Péter Eckstein-Kovács introduced a civil partnership bill in the Senate. However, the bill died in the Senate following the 2008 Romanian legislative election.[12]

A civil partnerships bill was introduced by the Democratic Liberal Deputy Viorel Arion in February 2011. It would provide same-sex and opposite-sex couples with some of the rights of marriage. It received a favourable recommendation from the Legislative Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. However, the bill was opposed by the Government, which stated that the Civil Code only recognises one form of relationship in Romania (marriage between a man and a woman).[13]

In April 2013, the Green Party MP Remus Cernea has announced [14] a proposed law that would give same-sex marriages the same rights as heterosexual ones, prompting fierce reactions[15] from opponents of the move. On 4 July 2013, Cernea introduced the bill in the Senate, awaiting to receive reports and approvals from the entitled Parliamentary Committees in December 2013.[16]

In August 2013 the proposal L597/2013 was filed at the Senate that would have introduced civil partnerships, which in turn would have allwed same-sex unions.[17] Later in October the Romanian Government issued a statement,[18] signed by Victor Ponta, stating that they would not support this bill. The proposal was rejected on 17 December 2014 with 110 votes to 2.[19]

On March 13, 2014 the legislative proposal [20] that would have permitted same-sex unions was rejected unanimously by the Judicial committee. Aurel Vainer, a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania cited the Old Testament as arguments concerning this law. Sorin Stragea, member of the SDP stated: "Romanians are not prepared for these kinds of experiments". Cosmin Necula (SDP) and Gabriel Florea (NLP) shared similar opinions by stating: "A society must have children. Children need to live in a state of normalcy, and this state should be marriage"

On June 11, 2014 the legislative proposal PL 670/2013[21] was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies after being rejected by the Senate in 2013, with 298 votes rejecting the bill, 4 in favor for the bill, 3 abstains and 2 non-voters.[22]

Political viewpoints[edit]

None of Romania's major political parties, either in government or in opposition, explicitly supports same-sex marriage or registered partnerships, or has proposed any law regarding it, resulting in the debate about this issue in the political sphere being more reserved than in civil society and the media.

On 6 June, the Cotidianul newspaper conducted interviews with representatives of the five main political parties, asking them about their stance on same-sex marriage.[23]

Crin Antonescu, the leader of the parliamentary delegation of the National Liberal Party, part of the governing alliance, declined to give an official party view on the matter. Instead, he said that, "Both the party and myself have given proof that we are in favour of recognising sexual minorities. However, personally I am against marriage between people of the same sex."

The leader of the Democratic Party, the other large governing coalition member, was similarly elusive, stating that: "Now is not the right moment to talk about this issue [same-sex marriage]. We now have other much more important things to do regarding European integration. Let's integrate firstly, and then we can see the way in which mentalities change. Eventually, we will discuss this issue then." Romania's EU accession took place in January 2007.

Liviu Negoiţă, the Democrat mayor of Bucharest's Sector 3, stated that, "if a law will exist [legalising same-sex marriage], I will respect it. As a mayor, I don't have any other choice. Personally, I respect the sexual choice of each person."[24]

The largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, whose stance on social issues is usually more conservative than that of the governing parties, stated that they would "not initiate and would not support such a legislative proposal". However, the party's official spokesperson also proclaimed that, "A public debate [on same-sex marriage] is necessary, in order to see in what way the standards regarding fundamental liberties can be improved in regard to people with another sexual orientation."

Opposition was seen most clearly from the far-right, nationalist Greater Romania Party. The vice-president of the party stated that, "Clearly, we wouldn't initiate such a legislative proposal, since we're a Christian party. The sin of sodomy is one of the biggest [sins]."

The Conservative Party was less vocal in its opposition to same-sex marriage, with Octavian Petrovici, the vice-president of the party's Bucharest division, stating about same-sex couples that "it's their own choice, and in the same way that we respect the option of every citizen, we respect the choice of these people. However, it is a long way from respecting a choice to making special laws, which do not match the values and principles that our party affirms."

On 27 November 2006, the women's organisation of the Conservative Party adopted a resolution opposing same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. The resolution declared that, "The family has as its primary aim our continuity and we will continue to support its development, particularly since we will be confronted in the future with an accentuated process of aging and a significant reduction in the population. We reject categorically the legalisation of same-sex marriage."[25]

On 10 June 2007, after the annual Bucharest GayFest, the Conservative Party reiterated its position on same-sex marriage, stating, "The sexual options of each citizen are accepted and respected in Romania, but from here until the adoption of special laws for sexual minorities is too long a way. We support the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman."[26]

2013[edit]

In April 2013, when MP Remus Cernea declared that he would propose a law allowing same-sex unions in Romania sparked fierce reactions, among the most vehement was from senator Puiu Hașotti, describing homosexuals as "sick people" and that "homosexuality is not natural and by these reasons they have no chance". Despite a formal complaint made by the gay rights NGO ACCEPT addressed to the National Council for Combating Discrimination no sanction was taken against the senator.

Mădălin Voicu stated that "Voting such a law is not what I consider civilized behavior. I have certain principles that I do not abdicate from and being a good Christian at some point these things are extravagant to put it civilized" and holds a harsher view regarding LGBT adoption where he states "I could understand same-sex marriage because they are sick people in my opinion but adoption, I consider that a blasphemy. It would be a sacrifice for those children to be adopted by same-sex couples"
Ovidiu Ioan Silaghi, a senator from the National Liberal Party (Romania) and Ciprian Mihai Rogojan, member of the Liberal Democratic Party (Romania) hold the view that the Romanian Orthodox Church should be consulted first.
Rozica Biro from Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania and President of the Commission on Human Rights states that "homosexuals should not be marginalized, but I would not go that far in allowing same-sex unions. The European Union cannot impose anything on us, they can only recommend, and this measure would not be adequate to the Romanian society"
Alina Gorghiu a member of National Liberal Party (Romania) and also a member of Chamber of Deputies (Romania) think that there should not be a public debate as this law initiative is not viable.
Florentin Gust, member of Social Democratic Party (Romania) says that "I, as a young politician don't agree. We started taking from Europe all that is worse, and legalizing of these practices is a bad thing for an orthodox country. It would have significant consequences for the new generations and legalizing same-sex relationships has no worth in Romania.".
Norica Nicolai, an MEP, states that "It's a matter that's for societies that have legalized same-sex marriage. My convictions are religious. I can tolerate them but it's hard for me to accept them. As for supporting a legislative initiative, as was with decriminalization of prostitution I will not support this law."
Octavian Bot, a member of parliament and member of Liberal Democratic Party (Romania) stated for a press interview that [27] "As a liberal, having a liberal mindset agree with sexual relations regarding same-sex, it is probably the way nature wanted them to be but I do not agree in legalizing marriage. Same-sex marriage is not in my opinion a human rights issue. If we are going this path we'll end up legalizing marriages between a woman and a stallion. I'm joking of course but marriage seems forced, it's too much"
Raluca Turcan member of Romanian Chamber of Deputies and the Liberal Democratic Party (Romania) stated [28] at a press conference that: "Marriage is between a man and a woman, a thing that ought to be in the Constitution. Regarding this subject I have a personal as well as a political opinion in LDP. Staying true to the popular values that define us, family comes first and a family is defined as the relationship between a man and a woman. As a personal option I would encourage a Constitutional amendment to define a marriage between a man and a woman."
MEP Renate Weber, member of ALDE Group in the European Parliament and member of the LNP, issued a statement,[29] deploring her colleague's reaction to fellow MP,who has publicly supported same-sex unions, Remus Cernea's announcement of the draft law.
In her reaction Mrs. Weber states: "It's a pity that, for various reasons, his initiative was presented and perceived as a matter of personal image or even worse"" and "It's very hard for me to understand how in Romania, after more than ten years we have adopted a pervasive nondiscriminatory legislation, there are still politicians who react so violently against people who have a different sexual orientation.". Moreover, Mrs. Weber instructed her colleague that homosexual people are not sick:
"Particularly, I am profoundly troubled by my colleague's reaction, Puiu Hașotti, who appears not to understand the complexity of this world and refers to the gay community using simple and degrading attributes. No, Puiu, homosexuals are not sick, they are [simply] people with another sexual orientation, who love just the same as us heterosexuals, who abhor just as equally as us heterosexuals, who suffer or are happy the same as heterosexuals. And they have the right to live, to reside with their chosen partners, as well as the right to have this relationship protected by a state".

On 3 May 2013 Ecaterina Andronescu, former Minister of Education, professor, and member of the Social Democratic Party (Romania) declared in an interview[30] when questioned about legalizing same-sex marriage the following: "You know, to answer this questions it's necessary to give a more extended commentary. On one hand I respect human rights, I know that my freedoms ends where I am interfering with yours, but at the same time each of us has a mission on this earth, we must ensure future generations and this occurs naturally by marriage between men and women. If we go further we would understand that at some point humanity will come to an end if same-sex marriage is proliferated too extensively. That's why I, personally don't believe this is a solution, although I do agree that I must respect each individual's answer to the question "What will he do with his life" "

In June 2013, a Parliamentary Committee tasked with reviewing the Constitution attempted to ban same-sex marriage by voting an amendment for the new Constitution, making marriage possible only "between a man and a woman". Green Party MP Remus Cernea, which is a staunch supporter of LGBT right and which has since introduced a draft law to the Senate in order to legalize civil unions, thinks of the move as a "clear a democratic setback; Romania should now be included among the most homophobic countries in the world."[9]

2014[edit]

In February 2014 MEP Rares Niculescu (DLP)has spken against same sex marriages and civil partnerships,[31] although he claims to oppose any discrimination and that he is a protector of human dignity with respect to all matters of the social life. This statement was made after he voted against the Lunacek report (a controversial piece of legislation that called for a new EU action plan to combat homophobia and transphobia).

Civil Society Reactions[edit]

In June 2013, after the attempted ban on same-sex marriage failed, the Constitution Revision Parliamentary Committee retracted a proposed amendment granting Constitutional protection against discrimination by sexual orientation. Dozens of NGOs protested the move and released a common statement arguing that the protection provision should remain in the new Constitution:

members of the Committee for Constitutional Revision deny the protection for the citizens who most need it (...) [and] as a Member State of the European Union, it is mandatory for Romania to implement the provisions of Community law in the national legislation

— ACCEPT, 'Sexual orientation should remain a protected ground in the Romanian Constitution!', ACCEPT Press release [32]

Florin Buhuceanu, the president of the LGBT rights defender NGO, ACCEPT, said:

we see the scale of schizophrenia: one day you accept that sexual orientation ground as a Constitutional protected ground [against discrimination], the next day you act discriminately on the basis of sexual orientation proposing a different treatment for these citizens of Romania of this sexual orientation.

— Raluca Pantazi, 'Interzicerea casatoriilor gay in viitoarea Constitutie. Csaba Asztalos: Canalizam ura societatii prin acte ca legea fundamentala doar pentru a avea cvorum la Constitutie / Florin Buhuceanu: Biserica Ortodoxa Romana este una autista, nu cred ca dialogheaza cu cineva', HotNews [33][34]

Csaba Asztalos, president of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, thinks that the new amenmends

are brought to the table just to manipulate, just to incite, just to serve other goals then a real problem (...) [and] that "at this point we are channeling the societal hatred through acts like the Constitution only, for example, to have [political] quorum (...) and this is not normal.

— Raluca Pantazi, 'Interzicerea casatoriilor gay in viitoarea Constitutie. Csaba Asztalos: Canalizam ura societatii prin acte ca legea fundamentala doar pentru a avea cvorum la Constitutie / Florin Buhuceanu: Biserica Ortodoxa Romana este una autista, nu cred ca dialogheaza cu cineva', Hotnews [35][36][37]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ (Romanian) A treia ediţie GayFest (The third edition of GayFest), HotNews, 25 May 2006
  2. ^ (Romanian) Homosexualii romani vor casatorie cu acte (Romanian gays want to marry legally), Libertatea, 31 May 2006
  3. ^ Romanians launch campaign to legalize same-sex marriage, AP/Dallas Voice, 1 June 2006
  4. ^ (Romanian) 'Seful' homosexualilor s-a insurat religios ieri, Libertatea
  5. ^ (Romanian) El este primul român însurat cu un bărbat (He is the first Romanian married with another man), Click.ro, 8 June 2007
  6. ^ (Romanian) "Căsătoriile gay, interzise în România", Mediafax, 13 February 2008
  7. ^ (Romanian) "Codul Civil interzice căsătoriile între homosexuali", Mediafax, May 14, 2009
  8. ^ Romania has prohibited same-sex marriages
  9. ^ a b Balkan Insight, Romania's New Constitution Bans Gay Marriage, 7 June 2013.
  10. ^ Romania Insider, Amnesty worried that Romanian Constitution changes on definition of family might cause discrimination, 7 June 2013.
  11. ^ (Romanian) Eckstein cere drepturi civile pentru cuplurile de homosexuali (Eckstein asks for civil rights for homosexual couples), Cotidianul, 23 February 2008
  12. ^ (Romanian) "Propunere legislativă privind parteneriatul civil" (L646/2008), at the Romanian Senate website
  13. ^ Oficializarea legăturilor gay, interzisă în România
  14. ^ "Romania needs debate on gay marriage". Eurotopics.net. 2013-04-17. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  15. ^ (Romanian) DEZBATERE Legalizarea parteneriatelor civile între homosexuali. Parlamentarii oscilează între „nu“ şi „nu prea“
  16. ^ (Romanian) Propunere legislativă privind parteneriatul civil (Legislative proposal on the civil partnership)
  17. ^ (Romanian) Propunere legislativă privind parteneriatul civil
  18. ^ Punct de vedere - Guvernul Romaniei
  19. ^ (Romanian)L597/2013|raport de respingere
  20. ^ (Romanian) Proiectul parteneriatului civil intre persoane de acelasi sex a fost respins
  21. ^ (Romanian)PL 670/2013|Derularea procedurii legislative
  22. ^ (Romanian)PL 670/2013|Respingere PL 670/2013 privind parteneriatul civil
  23. ^ (Romanian) Familia Florin şi Raul nu primeşte credit cu buletinul, Cotidianul, 6 June 2006[dead link]
  24. ^ (Romanian) Vanghelie: 'Sa se duca in Congo!' (Vanghelie: They should go to Congo!), Libertatea, 1 June 2006
  25. ^ (Romanian) Vest Flash, Evenimentul Zilei, 27 November 2006
  26. ^ (Romanian) Gardianul, Romanii, din ce în ce mai ostili relațiilor gay
  27. ^ (Romanian) Deputat PNL, despre căsătoriile gay: Ajungi să legalizezi căsnicia şi între o femeie şi un armăsar
  28. ^ (Romanian) Raluca Turcan despre căsătoriile gay: „Căsătoria este între femeie şi bărbat”
  29. ^ (Romanian) Renate Weber, "Reaction" ((Romanian)), 16 April 2013, accessdate=19.11.2013.
  30. ^ (Romanian) Andronescu: Căsătoriile gay vor duce la sfârșitul omenirii
  31. ^ (Romanian) Europarlamentar clujean, impotriva casatoriilor intre persoanele de acelasi sex
  32. ^ "Sexual orientation should remain a protected ground in the Romanian Constitution!" (Press release). Bucharest, Romania: ACCEPT. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  33. ^ Pantazi, Raluca (7 June 2013). "Interzicerea casatoriilor gay in viitoarea Constitutie. Csaba Asztalos: Canalizam ura societatii prin acte ca legea fundamentala doar pentru a avea cvorum la Constitutie / Florin Buhuceanu: Biserica Ortodoxa Romana este una autista, nu cred ca dialogheaza cu cineva" (in Romanian). Hotnews. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  34. ^ (Romanian) "Pe de alta parte, observam gradul de schizofrenie: intr-o zi accepti ca criteriul orientarii sexuale este un criteriu protejat constitutional, a doua zi operezi cu o discriminare pe criteriul sexual propunand un tratament diferentiat pentru acesti cetateni ai Romaniei de orientare homosexuala."
  35. ^ Pantazi, Raluca (7 June 2013). "Interzicerea casatoriilor gay in viitoarea Constitutie. Csaba Asztalos: Canalizam ura societatii prin acte ca legea fundamentala doar pentru a avea cvorum la Constitutie / Florin Buhuceanu: Biserica Ortodoxa Romana este una autista, nu cred ca dialogheaza cu cineva" (in Romanian). Hotnews. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  36. ^ (Romanian) "Dar ele sunt aduse pe masa tocmai pentru a manipula, tocmai pentru a incita, tocmai pentru a servi la alte tinte decat o problema reala".
  37. ^ (Romanian) "In momentul in care noi canalizam ura societatii prin acte cum ar fi Constitutia doar pentru, de exemplu, a avea cvorum la Constitutie - ca si asta se poate intampla - nu este normal".