Romania’s president and Prime Minister have clashed over the rights of same-sex couples in the country.
In a speech on Wednesday, the National Liberal Party leader Klaus Johannis has called for tolerance and acceptance for minorities as the country considers banning same-sex marriage, noting he himself was part of two minorities as he is ethnically German and Lutheran, in a primarily Christian Orthodox country.
Today (20 October), Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș voiced his support for the ‘traditional family’.
‘It’s important to reiterate one thing I believe: You have to go back to the tolerance and acceptance of each other,’ Johannis said when asked where he stands on the possible ban of same-sex marriage.
‘We are not all the same, all ethnic and religious groups.’
At the same time, he made a strong statement against religious fanaticism, saying it was ‘wrong to give obedience and walk the path’ of extreme faith.
‘I don’t believe or support them,’ he said.
‘I believe in tolerance, trust and openness towards each other.’
Johannis also said if being Christian meant leaning towards fanaticism they were sending ‘a wrong signal’; it would also not help society.
Vlad Viski, the president of MozaiQ, a LGBTI rights organization in Romania, told Gay Star News:
‘Klaus Iohannis’ comments are a first for Romania. For the first time, a major politician is coming out in support of diversity.
‘However, his comments don’t go as far as we want, as Iohannis did not specify that he is referring to the LGBTI community, he avoided using a direct reference to LGBTI people. The prime minister of Romania, Dacian Cioloș, however, came out today in support of the so-called “traditional family”, which is disappointing and shows that the struggle of LGBTI people is far from over.’
The commnity reacted joyful to Johannis statement, Viski said, while the opposition voiced its anger.
‘On the opposite side, the supporters of the Coalition for Family took an extremely aggressive stance, condemning Iohannis. Hundreds of hate-filled comments were seen all over the media,’ he said.
‘This shows the extremely homophobic and transphobic discourse that it being promoted by those trying to ban gay marriage in the Constitution.’
Currently, Romania is awaiting a decision on whether same-sex marriages should be allowed or not.
The Constitutional Court was asked whether a same-sex couple who got married in Belgium in 2010 should be recognized as a married couple in Romania, too.
But the judges have delayed their decision, with the court’s president citing as the reason.
According to the Washington Post, the court’s ruling on whether the couple will be successful with their claim is set for next week.
More than three million people have signed a petition introduced by religious groups coming together as the Coalition for Family.
They demand same-sex marriage should be banned entirely, by defining it as between a man and a woman in the Constitution.
Currently, the wording only states marriage is ‘between spouses’.
If they succeed, they are likely to also ban other things, including pornography and abortion, as well as all forms of sexual education in schools.