Romania ‘not ready’ for more LGBTQ+ rights, says Prime Minister

A person holds a Pride flag at Bucharest Pride.

Romania’s Prime Minister has said that the country isn’t ready to uphold LGBTQ+ rights in line with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

It comes after the ECHR ruled in May that Romania had breached of article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life – by refusing to legally recognise same-sex relationships.

In a new interview with Europa FM, left-wing Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu was asked about his thoughts on the ECHR ruling and whether Romania would now consider expanding protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

Ciolacu said: “Romanian society is not ready for a decision at the moment. It is not one of my priorities and… I don’t think Romania is ready.”

Two women kiss as they take part in the Bucharest Pride 2018.
Two women kiss as they take part in Bucharest Pride 2018. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty)

He continued: “I am not a closed-minded person, I… have friends in relationships with a man, I don’t have a problem with that, I am talking now from the point of view of a prime minister.”

Ciolacu added that he didn’t believe it would be the last time that Romania failed to enforce the ECHR’s rulings.

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Although Romania decriminalised homosexuality in 2001, it has yet to legalise marriage or civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

In the ECHR’s investigation into Romania’s failure to recognise same-sex couples, it was determined that the societal opposition to same-sex marriage in Romania should not override same-sex couples’ right to have their relationships legally recognised.

Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu
Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said ‘Romanian society is not ready” to introduce same-sex rights. (Getty Images)

The investigation had been prompted by complaints lodged by 21 different Romanian couples to the ECHR, arguing that there was no way to legally safeguard their relationships due to the country’s lack of recognition.

Each of the couples had given notice to their local registry offices expressing their intention to marry, but their requests were rejected under an article that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Their requests were also rejected under a separate article which states that same-sex marriage is “prohibited” in Romania.

Earlier this year, IGLA-Europe scored Romania just 18 per cent on LGBTQ+ rights, making it one of the worst places for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe.

Last year, Romanian lawmakers came under fire when the government introduced a so-called LGBTQ+ “propaganda” bill, which would ban the use of materials in schools that “promote” being queer.

According to the World Values Survey conducted between 2017 and 2020, three-quarters of the population believe that homosexuality is “not justifiable”.

A 2015 to 2016 Pew Research Center survey had similar results, with 85 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement: “Homosexuality should not be accepted by society.”

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