Homosexuality in Romania was illegal until 2000, when the country decriminalized it after harsh criticism from the European Union and the Council of Europe. Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on Saturday, June 25, 2016, for a gay pride march as participants demanded equal rights in a country where same sex marriage remains illegal.
Supporters of Bucharest Pride, an event celebrating diversity and the LGBT community, want to overturn a constitutional ban on same sex unions.
‘Around 1,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest for a gay pride march as participants demanded equal rights in a country where same sex marriage remains illegal.’
But they face opposition after several NGOs linked to the Orthodox Church and united under the umbrella Coalition for Family last month brought a three million-strong petition to block same-sex unions in the EU member state which defines marriage as the "union between a man and a woman".
Accept, a group that promotes the rights of the LGBT community, is outraged that "for the time being the law does not recognize all kinds of family," Accept member Florin Buhuceanu told AFP.
Buhuceanu, adding that the Romanian state should extend constitutional rights to gay couples, said attempts to block change were "non-democratic" and he expected the Constitutional court would ultimately find to that effect.
Parliament will have to verify that the petition Coalition for Family accords with the law and if no irregularities are found Romania will then organize a referendum on the issue.
A minute's silence in memory of the Orlando shootings preceded Saturday's march.
The Romanian government for the first time sent a minister to the march, minister for social dialogue, Violeta Alexandru.
Participants brandished rainbow banners and slogans reading "diversity = normality".
Earlier, several dozen people attended a rival event, "march for normality", by far Right party Noua Dreapta in support of "families based on marriage between a man and a woman".