While politicians in the EU were gleeful about the outcome of the Irish referendum that opened the way to sodo-“marriage” on the Emerald Isle, they are far less enthusiastic about the prospect of a referendum on the same subject to be held in Romania. For nearly two years they have done all they could to put pressure on their Romanian peers to prevent the referendum, for which a citizens’ initiative collected more than 3 million signatures in just three weeks (this in a country of 22 million inhabitants!), from taking place. But now it seems that the vote could take place as early as next month.
Few doubt that there will be a substantial majority in favour of defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus aligning the wording of Article 48 of the Romanian Constitution to Article 12 of the ECHR. But the referendum will only be binding if more than 30% of registered voters show up at the ballot boxes. Furthermore, a majority of participants, which at the same time must exceed 25% of all registered voters) must vote in favour. (This arrangement looks somewhat bizarre: if 27% of registered voters show up and all of them vote in favour of the proposal, the referendum will be void. By contrast, if 30% show up, of which 26% vote in favour and 4% vote against, it will be valid. In other word, it would be those voting against who would make the difference…).
A constitutional change in order to prevent the recognition of sodo-“marriage”, carried by a clear popular vote, would send a very clear message that would be heard even far outside Romania – in particular in view of the CJEU’s bizarre judgment in the Coman case, which seeks to give legal effect to sodo-“marriages” even in Member States that do not recognize them.