The debate around introducing civil partnerships comes as the country prepares for a referendum that would put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

The legalisation of civil partnerships was brought up by Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania. In the speech, he said that the country couldn’t “pretend that this minority does not exist.”

“I would like for us to discuss the opportunity to legalize civil partnerships. I asked Victor Negrescu (minister for European Affairs) to meet with NGOs representing this minority in order to get to pass proper legislation to sort this thing out,” he continued.

However, in the same speech, he confirmed that Romania would go ahead with introducing a law about holding a referendum on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. Dragnea confirmed that the referendum would take place in May of this year, with the vote to have the referendum set to take place next week.

The National Council for Combating Discrimination issued a press release confirming that draft legislation was being prepared to legalise civil partnerships.

However, Romania’s Orthodox Church immediately criticised the proposed legislation. Talking to the AP, the Church’s spokesman, Vasile Banescu said that the legislation would “contribute to the decline in the importance of marriage and the family, and change the decisive role the family plays in Romanian society.”

© YouTube / Romanian President Liviu Dragnea

Speaking to Gay Star News, Vlad Viski, the President of the LGBTQ activist group MozaiQ said: “We believe that it is absolutely crucial for civil partnerships to be legalized in Romania. Gay couples for too long have been waiting to be properly recognized by the state.”

Florin Buhuceanu, the President of another LGBTQ group, Accept said: “PSD President Liviu Dragnea said today that the debate on civil partnership regulation is necessary.

“The regulation of the legal situation for same-sex couples is vital and would put an end to the suffering of community members in the hardest moments of life.

“In addition, the civil partnership means recognising that people in the community can enjoy equal rights in society, based on their contribution to Romania’s well-being as citizens.”

Buhuceanu also confirmed the group’s opposition to the referendum on same-sex marriages, saying: “We are concerned that the proposal for family redefinition in the constitution is being brought back into debate.”

He went on to say that the referendum would be divisive, “‘expensive and legally unnecessary.”