A referendum aimed at putting same-sex marriage further out of reach in Romania was invalidated Sunday after a quick tally showed too few voters cast ballots, election officials said. The weekend vote on a constitutional amendment that would have changed the definition of family to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between “spouses” required voter turnout of at least 30 percent for the result to stand. Election officials said after polls closed that only 20.41 of eligible voters participated. The turnout threshold never was close to being reached all day, a trend that gay rights group Accept said showed 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 in a statement before the turnout number was final.
Marriage statutes already prohibit same-sex marriage in Romania. The conservative Coalition for Family spearheaded the referendum with a signature petition, arguing that any ambiguity in the constitution needed to be eliminated.
The group conceded defeat before the overall turnout from two days of balloting was announced late Sunday.
“Next time, we’ll succeed,” Coalition for Family spokesman Mihai Gheorghiu said. “Let’s be happy for this day. The Christian vote exists.”