The Romanian Orthodox Church is resisting efforts to legally recognize same-sex relationships as part of the Eastern European nation’s obligations to the European Union.
Romania joined the EU in 2007 but is one of a group of Eastern European and Mediterranean member states that are yet to provide any kind of legal status to same-sex couples.
The European Parliament called out Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia on this issue in September with a majority of the parliament voting in support on a report on fundamental rights in the EU.
A resolution passed by MEPs welcomed the fact that 19 EU member states provide either civil unions or marriage rights to same-sex couples and called on the remaining nine that don’t to join their European peers in doing so.
85 percent of the Romanian public identify as members of the Romanian Orthodox Church and this month it announced it was throwing its weight behind a proposal to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman in the Romanian Constitution.
Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Romania in 1996, though an unequal age of consent persisted until 2001, and it revised its constitution in 2003 to have a gender neutral definition of marriage without going the extra step of actually allowing same-sex couples to wed.
Romanian conservative ‘family values’ group the Family Coalition are spearheading the campaign to have marriage redefined again in the constitution in the hope of preventing marriage equality from finally coming to Romania.
However while homophobic attitudes are widespread in Romania, with 80 percent of respondents telling researchers in 2012 that they would not want a homosexual neighbour, a gay couple were the surprise winners of a wedding themed reality show in Romania just a year later.