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February 8, 2023

Constitutional judges postpone until November 29 ruling on same-sex marriages

Romania’s Constitutional Court (CCR) has postponed until November 29 ruling on a notification regarding same-sex marriages, a date when the court decides whether or not to send to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) some questions about the issue, CCR Chairman Valer Dorneanu said Thursday.

“We had to postpone, because (…) the parties have lodged a petition requesting the Court of Justice of the European Union to answer to some preliminary questions regarding their position of aspects mentioned in the petition. Even as we speak, some parties are submitting additional requests, even asking us to take a closer look at the situation,” said Dorneanu.

Previously, Iustina Ionescu, lawyer to a couple that have demanded recognition of their same-sex marriage, had said she asked CCR to ask the Luxembourg-based CJEU two questions to clarify the notion of “spouses.”

“The first [question] regards the meaning of ‘spouse’ in Directive 38/2004. (…) whether or not ‘spouses’ in the European directive should be construed as irrespective of sex orientation; for instance same-sex spouses married in an EU member state, when the host country, Romania, has no legislation in place allowing for same-sex marriage,” Ionescu explained.

She added that the second question regarded how the European legislation understands to treat European citizens equally, be it a Belgian national, a Romanian national or their family.

Relu Adrian Coman, Robert Clabourn Hamilton and the ACCEPT Association have raised a constitutionality objection over the Civil Code of Romania’s provisions that do not recognise same-sex marriages.

On the other hand, the Family Coalition this May filed a legislative proposal with the Senate for an amendment to the Constitution of Romania to say that family is based on the union between a man and a woman, a proposal that gathered 3 million signatures. After registration, the proposal was submitted to CCR for a constitutionality check.

This July, CCR ruled that the proposal for the amendment of the constitution meets the requirements for the exercise of initiatives.

The court argued that replacing “[a union] between spouses” with “[a union] between a man and a woman” just brings clarification to the exercise of the fundamental right to marriage. It said that when adopting the Constitution, the lawmakers started from the traditional notion of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The Family Coalition explained its demarche as explicit protection of family and parents’ rights.

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