A referendum to effectively ban same-sex marriage in Romania failed yesterday due to a low turnout of voters.
Voters were asked if they wished to change the text of their constitution to define marriage as "between a man and a woman", rather than the current neutral definition of "between spouses". Backing the 'Yes' side was the Coalition for the Family group whose aim is to uphold Christian and traditional values. The conservative group received over three million signatures in support of a referendum, and an opinion poll on Friday found that 90% of the electorate were in favour of the constitutional change. The Orthodox church heavily supported the yes vote also.
However, only 20.4% of eligible voters went to polls and in Romania, 30% is needed for a result to be eligible. Thus, the vote was deemed to be void and the referendum was not validated.
The country and its ruling political party, the Social Democrats, have been shrouded in controversy in recent months, with the party's leader, Liviu Dragnea, due in court this week. The Social Democrats strongly supported the referendum, with the opposition believing the vote was conducted to distract from corruption scandals.
Although the referendum was not passed, Romania still fails to recognise civil partnerships or gay marriage. This may change, however, as in September the constitutional court governed that same-sex unions should have equal rights to those of their heterosexual counterparts.
At this current time, 73 nations of the world still accommodate laws against homosexuality.