Initiative against gay marriage in Romania
A citizens' initiative calling for a ban on gay marriage is on the verge of success: on Wednesday one of the two chambers of the Romanian parliament approved by a large majority the call for a referendum on amending the constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The other chamber has yet to give its approval. The Romanian press is as divided over the issue as the people themselves.
First and second class citizens
The decison provokes an outraged response from gay activist Vlad Viski on blog portal Adevărul:
“Today will go down in history as a day when MPs from all parties gave the green light to an initiative that divides citizens into first and second class. They have ignored both the appeals by the LGBT community and the logical argument that minorities must be defended in any constitutional state. Unfortunately we're far from being what can be called a functioning democracy. European values are pure rhetoric here and never form the basis of practical decisions. ... Today, 70 percent of MPs said to me and to others that we're wrong, that we don't count politically, and that they're ready and willing to toss our fundamental constitutional rights into the waste bin.”
Traditional marriage must be defended
The Romanian service of the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, by contrast, justifies parliament's decision:
“The defenders of the traditional institution of marriage want to preserve this social achievement - not necessarily for themselves personally, but in the service of a social model. If we believe that Europe, with its Judeo-Christian foundations, has created a civilisation that deserves appreciation, we must also admit that the family plays a major role. ... This is not about oppressing majorities and oppressed minorities, but about the fight for a status symbol from which the homosexual community gains practically nothing apart from a sense of victory at the expense of an age-old institution. Traditional marriage is already going through a profound crisis. If on top of that we legalise same-sex marriage, we'll make the traditional version completely irrelevant.”