Romania’s top court decides same-sex couples should have equal rights


Romania’s highest court has decided same-sex couples should have the same rights as straight partners, in a landmark ruling.

The Constitutional Court in Bucharest stated that queer couples deserved a private and family life just as straight people do, adding that they should enjoy “legal and juridical recognition of their rights and obligations.”

The decision was handed down ahead of a national referendum on October 6-7 which could ban same-sex marriage by changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

People take part in the Bucharest Pride 2018 March gay pride parade on June 9, 2018. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

A national referendum next month could ban same-sex marriage (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty)

Human rights groups including Amnesty International, the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law, a branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association have spoken out against the vote, saying it “panders to homophobia.”

Teodora Ion-Rotaru, who represents Romanian LGBT+ rights group Accept, told the Associated Press that today’s (September 28) court ruling was “extremely important.”

She added: “It says same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexuals. The court says a same-sex family is worth as much as a heterosexual family.”

People take part in the Bucharest Pride, an event celebrating diversity and LGBT community in Bucharest on June 25, 2016. / AFP / DANIEL MIHAILESCU        (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

The court says a same-sex family is worth as much as a heterosexual family” (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty)

Despite the ruling, LGBT+ people in Romania face a hostile culture, as shown by the three million people who signed a petition asking for the referendum on preemptively banning same-sex marriage.

This week, a leading Romanian newspaper was condemned after printing a front page which featured a drag queen in a Nazi uniform.

The image on the front of România Liberă, which also features a rainbow flag on the subject’s red armband instead of a swastika, was placed next to a headline reading: “New LGBTQ order.”

It introduced an article which argued that Christians suffer from religious discrimination at the hands of pro-LGBT+ campaigners.

The cover was condemned as “shameful and cowardly” (romania libera)

Court rulings have had a positive effect on the lives of queer Romanians though.

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