Human rights groups call out Romania for the marriage referendum

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Members of "The Coalition for the Family" symbolically sign up on a paper roll as they finish to transport boxes conatining over 3,000,000 signatures to the Romanian Senate at the Romanian Parliament building in Bucharest on May 23, 2016. Several NGOs filed on Monday a proposition for the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages, supported, in their view, by three million signatures. / AFP / DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

Human rights groups in Romania are coming together to challenge a referendum set to take place later this month aiming to extend the current definition of marriage in the Romanian constitution. If it succeeds, then marriage will be narrowed to the union of one man and one woman. Currently there are no same-sex marriages or civil partnerships, but it is technically possible because the Constitution uses the gender-neutral term ‘spouse’. Amnesty International, along with the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law (ECSOL) and the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) have come together to challenge the constitutionality of the vote. Barbora Černušáková, Amnesty International’s researcher on Romania, said that if the changes are approved, they will have only a negative impact on the Romanian society and will mean nothing but regress for it.

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