Romanian Senate tacitly passes anti-LGBTIQ+ bill
Romania’s Senate tacitly passed, at the end of April, a bill that greatly resembles Russia’s anti-LGBTIQ+ stance and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s measures. The draft law may end up eliminating any positive mention of sexual minorities in Romanian media & advertising.
This comes less than one year after the Senate adopted the “Equality Strategy for LGBTIQ people 2020-2025” issued by the European Commission, signalling a disconnect between the Romanian lawmakers’ decision to adopt the strategy and its actual implementation.
The bill, which is now on its way to the Chamber of Deputies for a decisive vote, concerns the “protection and promotion of the rights of the child”. It changes a bill from 2004 and aims to prohibit “the dissemination by any means of content regarding deviation from the sex and gender assigned at birth, or the glorification of gender reassignment and homosexuality.”
The bill states that a child’s sex and gender are established at birth by the doctor delivering the baby. Additionally, the sex and gender assigned can be either male or female.
The bill also provides parents with exclusive power of decision over whether their children receive sex education or not, as they can refuse to let their children participate in sexual health education classes at school.
The bill was drawn up by seven MPs of the Hungarian Democratic Union in Romania - UDMR (Zakarias Zoltan, Kulcsar-Terza Jozsef, Benedek Zacharie, Seres Denes, Konczei Csaba, Biro Rozalia-Ibolya, and Gal Karol). The initiators said they were inspired by similar legislation passed in June 2021 by the Hungarian Parliament.
In an interview with Europa Liberă last year, UDMR MP Zoltan Zakarias, who is also the leader of the Hungarian People’s Party of Transilvania, stated: “LGBT propaganda has no place in kindergartens or schools. Children should not be taught about the LGBT community in school. We don't want LGBT activists from various NGOs to be able to spread this propaganda in schools. If parents agree to a child taking part in these demonstrations, that's their right. You need the parents' consent. Let's prevent children from taking part in these events without parental consent.”
In reality, the adoption of this bill affects more than just the school curriculum, as it has the potential to eliminate any positive mention of non-heteronormative sexuality and/or gender identity in Romanian media & advertising if considered something that children might see. Additionally, LGBTIQ+ organizations could have trouble continuing their activities and the yearly Pride Parade could also be at risk of cancellation.
LGBTIQ+ NGOs MozaiQ and Accept Romania have both warned about the serious consequences of such a law, urging lawmakers not to adopt it.
“The MozaiQ Association strongly maintains its position against this legislative proposal which completely violates not only the dignity of LGBTI people in Romania but also the right of free speech and a child's right to access a non-discriminatory education. (...) We call on the Chamber of Deputies to show responsibility and good sense and reject any legislative proposal that aims to demonize and marginalize the LGBT community. We also continue to encourage the Parliament to achieve the goals of the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy as soon as possible,” MozaiQ wrote on their Instagram page.
by Maia Van Kline, journalist
(Photo source: Gabriel Petrescu | Dreamstime.com)