Romanian Orthodox Church bishop urges believers to attend referendum for traditional family

Laurenţiu Streza, the Ardeal metropolitan bishop with the Romanian Orthodox Church, has urged believers of all confessions to attend the referendum for the traditional family, Agerpres reported.

The referendum, scheduled for October 7, aims to change the definition of the family in the Constitution from the current marriage between spouses to the marriage between a man and a woman. This would make same-sex marriages impossible.

The bishop argued that turnout is very important and, if six million people do not show up, the referendum will not be validated.

“If we don’t double the three million who signed [e.n. for the initiative to redefine family], if we are not six million to vote, than it is pointless, it has no value; the referendum is not approved, it is not valid […] This is why, we ask you, this is an exam, the most difficult exam we take now, in freedom,” Streza said at the sermon he delivered on September 14 at the Sădinca Monastery in Sibiu county.

The bishop also referred to those “Church will never marry” and argued these will later ask for the right to marry and they “will take our children because they cannot have children.”

“I have asked our priests to go together with you and we will do the same. We will deliver the service on Sunday at the cathedral and then accompany the entire cathedral [attendance],” he said.

In 2016, the Coalition for Family (CpF) group of NGOs gathered three million signatures to change the definition of family, with the support of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

On Monday, September 17, the Constitutional Court gave its approval on the law to revise the Constitution in order to change the definition of family.

The Government is expected to meet today to adopt an emergency ordinance that would allow the referendum to take place throughout the duration of two days and not one, as it is currently stipulated in the law, Digi24.ro reported.

In order for the referendum to be validated, 30% of all citizens with a voting right need to cast their ballot. The Permanent Electoral Authority announced last week that 18.9 million voters were listed in the Electoral Registry. Over 5.6 million voters need to turn up for the referendum to be validated.

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