LGBTIQ+ | Love is Love
LGBTIQ+ | Love is Love
By LGBTIQ+ rights we understand primarily the rights that concern the LGBTIQ+ people, for example the right to get married, the right to adopt or the right to physical integrity. In an extensive way, LGBTIQ+ rights also includes norms regarding the protection of the LGBTIQ+ people, for example the prohibition of discrimination, the legalization of same-sex relationships, the international recognition of marriage and adoption.
Even if Romania is a conservative EU country (from a societal perspective), some LGBTIQ+ rights are present in the country. Most of them have been adopted on pressure of the European Union and the international community: the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is forbidden since 2000, homosexuality is legal in private spaces since 1996 and in public places since 2001. In 2006 Human Rights Watch pointed to five countries that have made exemplary progress in combating rights abuses based on sexual orientation or gender identity: among them, Romania, “where a decade of domestic and international pressure led to the repeal of a sodomy law and to the passage of broad antidiscrimination protections”.
These were followed in the later years by the 2018 decision from the European Court of Justice and subsequently by the decisions of the Romanian courts regarding that the same-sex spouses have the same right of residence in Romania if the marriage was legally performed in an EU country. Also in 2018, the highest court of Romania ruled that same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples.
In october 2018 a referendum took place regarding the definition of family in the Romanian constitution. The referendum asked voters whether or not they approve a change to the family’s definition as provided by Art. 48 Romanian Constitution, to prohibit same-sex marriage explicitly on a constitutional level. Luckily, the referendum failed, as the turnout was only 21.1 %, below the required voter turnout threshold of 30%.
The Romanian LGBTIQ+ communities have become more visible in recent years; pride parades are being organized in Bucharest, Cluj and Timișoara as well as multiple events with LGBTIQ+ theme. The activism of the Romanian organizations that support LGBTIQ+ rights has become greater and it is more visible.
While the situation for members of the LGBTQI+ community has recently become considerably worse in other Eastern European countries, this luckily doesn’t apply to Romania. This being said, we are still not yet at the degree of acceptance we all actually wish for.
As we went through the positive aspects of the LGBTIQ+ rights in Romania we should turn our attention to the negative aspects of this topic. LGBTIQ+ people in Romania still face common legal challenges and discrimination, as the atitudes inside the society are generally conservative. Apart from this, three main aspects are to be presented: the activity of the Coalition for Family, the failure of the political parties and the recently approved but not promulgated Law No. 87/2020.
In 2015 an alliance had been formed by more than 30 Romanian non-governmental organizations under the name of “Coalition for Family”. Its main activity consisted in promoting and collecting signatures for the 2018 Referendum to change the constitution and prohibit interpretations of same-sex marriage regarding the family on a constitutional level.
To understand why this had happened at all, you need to know, that, although the Romanian Civil Code forbids same sex marriage, the definition of familiy within the Romanian Constitution is stated as being based on “freely consented marriage between spouses”, therefore it doesn’t refer to any sex at all.
Even though the 2018 referendum failed, the Coalition is nowadays gathering signatures for a new referendum on the same topic.
On the matter of the referendum, not only did several (large) parliamentary parties remain neutral, such as the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) or the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), but some parties went also against their proclaimed political ideology, such as the Social Democratic Party (PSD). In an overview, the left Social Democratic Party came to support the same political ideals as the Romanian right-extremist party New Right (ND). A possible reason for party neutrality could have been the political parties' fear to lose their electorate on one side or on the other side on the topic of LGBT+ rights. By supporting LGBT+ rights, some parties that actually went against their political ideology might have put their Orthodox electorate at risk. Summing up, the political parties at the national level failed to position themselves on the LGBTIQ+ matter, failed to deliver faithful non-ideology-driven policies and thus minimized the general democratic role of political parties inside a constitutional democracy: to be the definition and expression of political will of the citizens.
Even so, on the 16th of June 2020, the Romanian Parliament approved a law that forbids any discussions on “gender theory or opinion” in Romanian schools and educational establishments (including universities). The recently approved law (Law No. 87/2020) proposes to change the National Education Law of Romania (Law No. 1/2011) and forbids spreading the “theory or opinion that gender is a concept different from biological sex and that gender and sex are not always the same thing”. Promoting this idea would be forbidden in all educational institutions, and in all spaces determined to vocational education and training, including extracurricular activities. After being adopted by both Chambers of the Romanian Parliament, the bill was sent to President Iohannis, who then submitted a constitutional complaint.. Up until now, October 2020, there has been no official decision from the Constitutional Court on this case.
Volt's point of view
In our vision it is unacceptable that even now, in the year 2020, Romanian people are still subjected to discrimination because of their gender or sexual orientation. Also unacceptable is the perspective of the existence of a so-called “gender theory” that is being imposed and that extremists try to battle.
In our opinion, sexual orientation and gender identity are integral parts of who we are. And it is that simple: LOVE IS LOVE.
Volt is tackling social equality challenges by adressing four core issues and taking a holistic approach with the aim to end all forms of discrimination, stigmas and disparities, and ensuring that no one is left behind.
- We support LGBTIQ+ rights as fundamental rights. We think that the civil partnership in Romania must and can be adopted immediately; LGBTIQ+ marriages must and can become reality as soon as possible; we fully support the adoption by LGBTIQ+ couples.
In the process of guaranteeing transgender rights, we want to make gender affirming procedures, such as hormone treatment, surgery and psychological support, accesible for transgender persons.
In the process of guaranteeing intersex rights, we want to prohibit medically unnecessary “sex-normalising” surgery, sterilisation and other treatments practised on intersex babies and childern without their informed consent and ensure there are no administrative obstacles for intersex individuals in being recognized.
Volt also promotes legislation that allow non binary people to choose their gender on IDs, forms and official documents as well as all legislations that address persisent discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people.
- We want to apply inclusive and equal policies to actively contribute towards a real equality.
In this regard, we want to conduct training for the police on hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ people and we want to train judges, magistrates and other civil servants to recognize and address implicit biases towards minorities.
- We want to sanction companies that do not extend to each individual the same benefits, salaries, opportunities for hiring, training or promotion regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics, and include reference to non-discrimination on these grounds in vacancy announcements.
We require all mid-sized to large companies to have confidential channels and hotlines, separate from general employee relations, to report inappropriate and discriminatory behaviour, violence and/or sexual harassment. We also support the incentivization of companies to train staff - especially managers - to raise awareness of issues faced by their LGBTIQ+ colleagues as well as to ensure that they address the specific rights of transgender and intersex people at work.
- We want to educate students about the advantages and the importance of having a discrimination-free society and workforce.
Volt supports the covering of all subjects in sexual education classes, as education is key to eliminating inequalities and unfair treatments and to foster a culture of mutual understanding and acceptance. In this regard we want to ensure that during these classes:
- Not only heterosexuality should be discussed, but also other types of sexual orientations and gender identities (for example, what it means to be non-binary, cisgender, transgender, intersex)
- Methods of contraception and protection are explained and discussed
- All of the above is done without shaming, false explanations and religious commentaries, and in a way which is non-discriminatory and inclusive.
Our main goal has always been and will always remain not just equal rights, but equal treatment of every single human being within the European Union.
We are all the same, we all have hopes and dreams, we all love somebody and are being loved in return - your sex and gender identity should not play any role in this.
Because love is love!