Romania: Referendum to Ban Gay Marriage Fails on Weak Voter Turnout
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Too few eligible voters in Romania turned out for a two-day referendum that sought to prevent same-sex marriages by changing the country's constitution, election officials said Sunday.
The national election bureau said late Sunday, after polls closed, that voter turnout was 20.4 percent, far short of the 30 percent needed for the vote to be valid.
The referendum, supported by the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), asked voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would have changed the definition of family by declaring that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Presently, it defines a union as between spouses, a gender-neutral term.
The conservative Coalition for Family supported the referendum, and blamed the poor turnout on "a massive disinformation campaign" by the media, politicians and local lawmakers.
The Romanian Orthodox Church also supported the proposed constitutional amendment.
The gay rights group Accept, however, said the tepid results show citizens "want a Romania based upon democratic values."
"We have shown that we cannot be fooled by a political agenda that urges us to hate and polarize society," the group said.
There are already marriage statutes in religiously conservative Romania that prohibit same-sex marriage. It has been less than 20 years since Bucharest decriminalized homosexuality, in 2001.
Source: Voice of America