The European Union is a democratic, not a tyrannical institution, and it is therefore out of the question for it to make the recognition of so-called same-sex marriage mandatory throughout the union, Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR) spokesman Vasile Bănescu said in a statement quoted by the Digi24.ro news portal on Tuesday.
Bănescu was responding to the European Parliament’s (EP) resolution, which directly criticizes Romania among other nations, and calls for the European Union to remove obstacles to the exercise of fundamental rights by people belonging to sexual minorities and to recognize same-sex marriage and cohabitation in Europe. According to Banescu, the EU cannot dictate this, as member states enjoy full legislative freedom with regard to family law and the institution of marriage.
“Marriage is only between a man and a woman,” the BOR spokesman said. He added that this natural position of the Christian churches and other religious denominations in Romania is based on the universal morality that is the foundation of all healthy societies of the past, present, and future.
The Bucharest authorities did not react to the EP resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 387 to 161, with 123 abstentions, that the commission should initiate legal proceedings against Romania, as it has not amended its legislation on spouses and life partners, despite a previous ruling by the European Court of Justice for same-sex couples.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled against Romania in 2018 for refusing to admit a man of American nationality who applied for a work and residence permit in Romania on the basis of his marriage to a Romanian man abroad. The Court of Justice of the EU at the time ruled that the concept of “spouse” should also apply to the spouses of EU citizens with regard to the right of free residence. Romania has not since enacted legislation legalizing same-sex cohabitation, and the provision of the civil code prohibiting same-sex marriage and not recognizing cohabitation contracts concluded by Romanian or other citizens abroad remains in force.
Following a civic initiative, a referendum was held in Romania in 2018 to enshrine the concept of a family based on male and female marriage in the constitution, but the initiative, supported by more than 90 percent of participants, failed because only 25 percent bothered to vote.
Title image: Gay pride march in Bucharest. (Daniel Mihailescu)