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The ruling comes just days before the country could vote to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.

Romania’s Constitutional Court has ruled that same-sex couples should have the right to a private and family life, and that they should have “legal and juridical recognition of their rights and obligations.”

Teodora Ion-Rotaru, a member of the Romanian LGBTQ group Accept praised the ruling, telling the Associated Press: “It says same-sex couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexuals. The court says a same-sex family is worth as much as a heterosexual family.”

She added that the ruling was “extremely important.”

However, despite this ruling, Romania is about to vote on whether to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. The plans for the referendum were announced last year, and the vote is due to take place from October 6-7.

Many human rights groups like Amnesty International and the European Commission on Sexual Orientation Law have criticised the plans for the referendum, saying that it “panders to homophobia.”

Whatever the ruling, Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania, has spoken in favour of introducing civil partnerships for LGBTQ couples.

“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 said.

He also added that Romania couldn’t “pretend that this minority does not exist.”

Florin Buhuceanu, the President of Accept praised the plans for civil partnerships, saying: “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.”