Recently, voters headed to the polls in Romania to vote on a constitutional amendment that would have protected traditional marriage. Reportedly, almost 92 percent of those who participated in the referendum voted to define marriage as a union between one woman and one man. Astoundingly, this overwhelming display of support for traditional marriage wasn’t enough to pass the measure.
The constitutional amendment would have made legalizing same-sex marriage in Romania more difficult. At the present, a statute forbids this controversial practice from taking place in the country. However, because marriage isn’t defined in Romania’s constitution, the statute, as it currently stands, could be overturned. The votes cast in the referendum are being thrown out due to inadequate voter turnout. During the two-day vote, a mere 20 percent of eligible voters came to the polls. In order to be valid, referendums like this one require a minimum of 30 percent voter participation.
Homosexuality became legal in Romania in 2001. In 2016, the Romanian organization Coalition for Family began efforts to change the country’s Constitution in order to protect traditional marriage. To lobby for the change, the group submitted a petition containing three million signatures. Mihai Gheorghiu, President of Coalition for Family, contended the recent vote was vital to defending freedom of speech and religion. He also maintained it was needed to protect kids from “gender ideology” that leads to “confusion and early sexualization.” In September of 2018, Romanian senators voted overwhelmingly in favor of initiating the referendum. Not long after, Romania’s Constitutional Court added its approval.
Before the vote occurred, CBN News interviewed Alpha Omega TV’s Tudor Petan regarding the reasons Romanian churches supported the initiative.
“We want to have a small change in the Constitution of Romania,” Petan stated. “Until now the Constitution defined a family as the free-will marriage between spouses and we want to have a small change, the marriage is between — a union between a man and a woman — this is a change with big significance.”
“Looking in the future already there is a big pressure in our kids, in our schools to introduce LGBT agenda, education gender ideology, so we want to preserve and to avoid future involvement of LGBT in our nation and want to be on same side with God in our nation,” he added.
The Romanian Orthodox Church also heavily supported the referendum. A week ahead of the vote, a statement was read in places of worship all over the country. In the statement, Patriarch Daniel characterized the measure as “an act of professing faith in God’s love for the family.” He also deemed it “an exam of spiritual maturity to choose between permanent values and ephemeral ideologies.”
Romania is one of six European Union nations where same-sex marriages or civil-unions are not legal. The 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriages in the United States. More recently, in December of 2017, Australia became the 25th country to recognize the practice of same-sex marriage when its parliament almost unanimously passed a bill to allow two people, irrespective of their sex, to marry. In 2004, the country changed its law to proclaim that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. At the time of last year’s reversal, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, “Australia has done it – every Australian had their say, and they said ‘it’s fair, get on with it.’”
He also stated, “We’ve voted today for equality, for love, it’s time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect. This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect.” Same-sex couples in Australia were slated to begin marrying in January of 2018.
For many Christians, the trend toward obliterating the definition of traditional marriage is unsettling. Unfortunately, as secularism spreads across the globe, it will likely continue. Christians should pray for the state of traditional marriage. Believers should also pray for those engaging in sexual behaviors they feel are categorically wrong.
~ 1776 Christian