LGBTQ rights faced a setback in Romania this week, and an American Religious Right organization played a part. According to the Associated Press, Romania's Constitutional Court ruled on July 20th that a request to limit marriage to opposite sex partners in the constitution is indeed constitutional. Currently, Romania's constitution allows for marriage between freely consenting "spouses" but does not specify gender. The July 20th ruling allows Romania's parliament to vote on whether or not to change the constitution.
The court decision comes after efforts by a Romanian anti-LGBTQ coalition to undermine LGBTQ rights. Reuters reports that an initiative called the Coalition for the Family gathered signatures from 3 million Romanians in favor of changing "spouses" to "a man and a woman" in the constitution. The push to undermine same-sex marriage has also received support from Orthodox clergy, according to Balkan Insight. Ruptly TV reports that anti-LGBTQ protesters marched through Bucharest last month, demanding a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. Marchers held signs that read Solidari cu Familia ("Solidarity with the Family"), 3,000,000 Sustin Normalitatea ("3 Million Support Normalcy"), and Nu Casatoriilor Si Adoptiilor Homosexuale ("No Homosexual Marriages and Adoptions").
LGBTQ rights organizations such as MozaiQ and TRANSform opposed the Constitutional Court's decision, arguing in a joint statement that the initiative "creates a hostile, degrading and derogatory environment" for LGBTQ persons in Romania.
As with many other homophobic movements overseas, figures from the American Religious Right played a role in these developments. On July 21st, Liberty Counsel released a statement through Christian News Wire praising the Constitutional Court's decision.
"Liberty Counsel submitted a major brief in support of the referendum, pointing out the intrinsic and common-sense benefits of natural marriage, discussing the deleterious effects of same-sex "marriage" in the handful of nations that have tried out this social experiment, and debunking the fraudulent Kinseyan "research" that lies at the heart of the sexual revolution. Liberty Counsel's brief was instrumental in exposing and rebutting the misleading arguments and briefs submitted by a number of pro-homosexual organizations from outside of Romania, such as ILGA Europe and Amnesty International. Romania and other traditional nations in Europe have come under increasing foreign pressure to abandon their heritage, traditions and sovereignty in favor of the homosexual agenda pushed from abroad."Horatio Mihet, a Romanian immigrant and chief litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel, claimed that the decision affirmed "choice" over "the dictates of pro-homosexual forces".
"By approving this referendum, the Constitutional Court has given voice to the millions of Romanians who want to affirm the timeless definition of marriage. The CCR has recognized the sovereignty of the Romanian people to define marriage for themselves, as well as the supremacy of their choice over and above the dictates of pro-homosexual forces in Europe and beyond."Liberty Counsel argued that same-sex marriage is fundamentally illegitimate, deleterious to Romanian society, based on a libertine sexual ideology, and detrimental to health. The brief of amicus curiae submitted to the Constitutional Court by Liberty Counsel urges the court to reject the "undefined experimental artificial social construct" of same-sex marriage. Offensively, the brief claims that same-sex marriage is "grounded in fraudulent "research" based on skewed demographics and the sexual abuse of hundreds of infants and children." The brief cites junk science such as the debunked Regnerus study in order to argue that same-sex marriage endangers children and society. Some especially revolting passages from the brief are as follows:
- "The global push for the artificial social construct of same-sex “marriage” has its origins in the "research" of American scientist Alfred Kinsey. Dr. Kinsey’s books on male and female sexuality promote the normalization of all manner of sexual conduct from birth to death between human beings and even between human beings and animals."
- "Romania’s continuing commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman reflects a continuing commitment to creating and maintaining the optimal environment for rearing children. In fact, treating same-sex unions as marriages "would undermine marital stability in ways that we know do hurt children.""
- "In addition to a union of the wills, marriage requires a union of bodies. While it is possible for same-sex couples to enter into a union of the wills, it is not possible for them to join in body in the way marriage has always required. Joining in body requires more than a sexual act. It is a natural, organic union that is "coordinated toward a common biological end of the whole that they form together.""
- "Not only is there no bodily good or function toward which two same-sex bodies can coordinate, but there are in fact inherent harms associated with same-sex unions. For example, homosexual males are at exponentially higher risk of developing a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, and have increased risks of developing various cancers and medical conditions because of the nature of same-sex sex ... Engaging in homosexual conduct is dangerous, and endorsing and subsidizing same-sex unions and treating them as marriages is an endorsement of conduct that does not benefit society, but rather harms it by creating irresponsible and unhealthy people."
Liberty Counsel continues the American Religious Right tradition of inflaming homophobia abroad. Not content to oppose LGBTQ equality in the U.S. (and frequently at odds with growing American pro-LGBTQ sentiment), groups such as Liberty Counsel promote homophobia overseas. Using junk science, ugly myths, and fear-mongering, the American Religious Right attack LGBTQ rights in far-flung corners of the globe. Americans who care about equality can't afford to ignore this.