Well, here’s one positive outcome from low voter turnouts: Romanian voters failed to pass a referendum to ban same-sex marriage because not enough people showed up to the polls to cast their ballots. Apparently carving out time from busy schedules to restrict human rights just wasn’t worth it!
According to CNN, only 21.08 percent of voters showed up, which is an entire 10 percent less than required. In order to be valid, five million more people would have had to vote between Saturday and Sunday.
The referendum was launched by a group called Coalition for the Family, whose purpose is “upholding Christian and traditional values,” and “preserving values,” etc. You know, the usual. Interestingly, it’s not that Romanians are simply pro-marriage equality—a poll ahead of the weekend found that around 90 percent of the country supported the referendum.
But too bad, too sad! Human rights supporters are celebrating the triumph of good over apathy. “Romanians rejected being divided and hating each other, it is a victory for Romanian democracy and moreover, Romanians rejected the involvement of the Orthodox Church in the state’s secular affairs,” said Vlad Viski of the LGBT rights group MozaiQ. The next step: “We believe politicians must now legalise civil partnerships for same sex couples.”
But supporters of the referendum refuse to believe it’s as simple as all that. As Codrin Stefanescu, the deputy secretary general of the Social Democratic Party, theorized: “It was an important issue, maybe two weeks was not enough for the promotional campaign, more debates had to be held,” he told a local TV station.
Strange, since plenty of forces were at work in the referendum’s favor: The Orthodox church, for one, to which more than 80 percent of Romania’s population belongs. The government also extended the vote from one day to two, to no avail.