Rejected by the Senate of Romania on October 24th, 2016, the civil partenership bill initiated by former independent deputy Remus Cernea currently follows its legislative course at the Chamber of Deputies, being discussed in the parliamentary committees. It has received negative opinion from both the Committee for Labour and Social Protection and the Committee for Health and Family, while the Committee for Human Rights, Cults and National Minorities Issues and the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men it received positive opinion. Nevertheless, the committee opinions are simply consultative.
On February 15th, 2017, during one of the many debates held around the bill in the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Dep. Iulian Bulai (USR – see photo above) pointed some crucial implications of the bill that nobody had revealed before:
- According to the opinion given by the Legislative Council of Romania, the bill does not provide for the right to conscientious objection for notaries and public servants who maz not wish, for conscientious reasons or other reasons, to ratify such partnerships, neither does the bill provide for the marriage service providers who may wish to refuse to provide services to this type of „families”.
- At present, Romanian laws allow child adoption by unmarried parents. This will apply to civil partnerships as well, but without any reglementation whatsoever which could set the rules in such cases, for the new „family constellation”.
- Over three million Romanian citizens live abroad, therefore the concept of family has gained new forms in the latest two decades. Family is the grandmother who cares for her grandsons, family is the nephew cared for by his aunt, family is the neighbor who cares for an elderly person, family is the widowed daughter-in-law who lives with her mother-in-law and there is also the monoparental family. All these family forms are based on cohabitation. We can distinguish the non-sexual character of these types of relationship. Bill 498 / 2016 aims to regulate a type of relations which are explicitly sexual, therefore it excludes the aforementioned types of relationships. If we really want to solve the cohabitation issue, I suggest that we do not discriminate against the above-mentioned types of relation, since, compared to the cohabitation relationships involving same-sex persons, these represent an overwhelming majorty.
On February 22nd, at the following session of the Committee on Equal Opportunities, Dep. Iulian Bulai abstained from the vote on the civil partnership bill. The consequence was a public and media campaign orchestrated on Facebook and by extreme-left publications (Vice Romania) and feminist NGOs. A women organization which promotes gender ideology demanded that Bulai be dismissed from his capacity as Vicepresident of the Committee on Equal Opportunities. The reasons they gave was not s vote on the bill, but his answers about women’s rights published in a recent Vice interview which was edited in an ill-meant manner.
After these attacks, at the following committee session which debated on the civil partnership bill, the deputy delegated his vote to a party colleague, gay-friendly deputy Claudiu Năsui (USR).
Năsui replaced Bulai on February 27th, when more backstage manipulation happened. Specifically, another member of this committee was replaced by yet another gay-friendly colleague. Thus, Aida Căruceru (PSD), a member of the Committee on Equal Opportunities, was inexplicably represented at the meeting by her party colleage Florin Manole (PSD). But Mr Florin Manole had previously given his vote in favor of the civil partnership bill as a member of another committee, the Committee for Human Rights, where his vote had been able to influence the approval of / positive opinion on the bill.
These backstage manoeuvres were at the limit of the internal rules of the chamber of Deputies. Although immoral, they are not explicitly forbidden.
The journalist who closely followed this episode of legislative ballet concluded that persons who are very apt in “cabinet coups” wanted to provide this bill with an image boost by winning one more positive opinion in the committees before the bill is debated in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, which will give the final decision.
NOTE: The main cults in Romania have publicly expressed their disagreement with this bill:
The Romanian Orthodox Church
The Catholic Church in Romania
The Evangelical Alliance in România, made of the Christian Baptist Cult, the Christian Evangelical Church of Romania and the Pentecostal Christian Cult