Romania's president tolerant towards same-sex marriage

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Times of India:

Romania's President Traian Basescu on Sunday hit out at an attempt to ban same-sex marriage in the Constitution, insisting that everyone should be free to marry whom he wants.

"Every one of us is free to do what one wants with his life. If a man wants to marry a man or if a woman wants to marry a woman, this is their own business", Basescu told private TV channel PROTV when asked about his position towards same-sex marriage.

"As a Christian Orthodox, I respect the principles governing my religion but other people can have different principles", he added.

The tolerant stand towards same-sex marriage by a high-ranking politician is relatively rare in Romania, a country where sexual minorities are the main victims of discrimination together with Roma.

Basescu said the recent attempt by the centre-left-dominated Parliament to ban same-sex marriage in the Constitution had been a "big mistake".

Two weeks ago, a parliamentary committee tasked with amending the 1991 Constitution passed an article restricting the legal definition of marriage to a "union between a man and a woman".

The current definition stands as "a union between spouses", though same-sex marriage is not officially allowed in Romania.

The article supported by the dominant Orthodox Church was blasted by rights groups, including Amnesty International.

It was finally spiked in a new vote after warnings by centre-left Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Ponta pointed to neighbouring Hungary, where a similar amendment by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's right-wing government triggered sharp criticism from the European Commission, although he said he did not himself back same-sex marriage.

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