On September 8th, while he was on a working trip to Bistriţa-Năsăud county, Liviu Dragnea, President of the Chamber of Deputies and leader of the governing party (PSD), was asked by media reporters when will Romania’s marriage referendum be organized.
He set the deadline for organizing it at the beginning of November 2017, adding that he understood it as “an issue of unfathomable depth for Romanian society”.
Liviu Dragnea said:
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the change to the referendum law, since it did not provide for the case when the Constitution is amended [ed. note – through a citizen’s initiative]. The final vote in the Senate will be scheduled shortly to the law for amending the Constitution and then we shall organize the referendum. I think it will be by the end of October or the beginning of November – no later than that, because I want as many people as possible to vote, no matter their option. I believe it is an issue of unfathomable depth for Romanian society. That won’t bring me too many European friends, not even from my party, the European socialists, but for me it is non-negotiable, no matter the risks. I want each of us to say our point of view, which shall not be against anyone. At least in this we shall have the right to say our point of view relating to our creed, our life and the way we wish to manage these things.
The Chamber of Deputies approved in May 2017 the citizens’ initiative draft law to amend the Constitution through referendum in order to clarify in the fundamental law the term of “spouses”. It did not get to be voted in the Senate before the summer vacation. In the meantime, a slight clarification had to be introduced in the law regulating the approval procedure for a referendum, in order to not let the initiative vulnerable to eventual legal attacks after its approval by Parliament. It is for the first time in Romania’s history when direct democracy is exercised in this way, starting from grassroots, by the citizens’ initiative, and ending with their conclusive direct vote.