Who is the Coalition for Family

The Coalition for Family represents a large Romanian citizen movement, gathering civil society actors upholding Christian and traditional values with the purpose of defending family and marriage. In its attempt to strengthen the family as the building block of the society, the mission of the Coalition for Family is to protect and support the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.

Why is there a need for a Constitutional amendment

In Romania, the institutions of family and marriage are mainly addressed in two legal acts: the Constitution and the Civil Code. According to the provisions of the Civil Code, the family is founded on the freely consented marriage between a man and a woman, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children[1] while the Constitution of Romania (hereinafter the Constitution) in its Article 48(1) foresees similarly that the family is founded on the freely consented marriage of the spouses, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children.

Due to the rather unclear term spouses in the Constitution and in order to avoid any confusion in the interpretation and application of marriage, in October 2015, the Coalition for Family was founded to take legal steps for the amendment of Article 48(1) of the Constitution as follows: “The family is founded on the freely consented marriage between a man and a woman, their full equality, as well as the right and duty of the parents to ensure the upbringing, education and instruction of their children”[2]

The expression of the Romanian people

According to Art. 150(1) of the Romanian Constitution, at least 500 000 citizens with the right to vote can initiate the revision of the constitution.

In an unprecedented exercise of democracy in the history of Romanian, more than 3 million Romanian citizens expressed their consent and signed for the purpose of initiating the amendment of the aforementioned Article 48 of the Constitution. The signatures reveal that a large part of the Romanian people find it necessary to reaffirm a traditional family model that has been unchanged for millennia, the union between one man and one woman.

Upon those signatures, on 23 Mai 2016, the Coalition for Family has launched the citizens’ revision initiative by submitting an amendment proposal to the Romanian Parliament. After the awaited adoption by the Parliament, the amendment requires validation through a referendum.

On 20 July 2016, the Constitutional Court of Romania approved by a unanimous vote the citizens’ initiated constitutional amendment which brings clarity to the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Current status

At this stage, the amendment proposal is with the second chamber of the Parliament, the Senate. The first one, the Chamber of Deputies, has voted in favour with a large majority: 232 votes out of 270.

It has also received positive opinions from 2 of the four relevant Parliamentary Committees (Human Rights and Equality) of the Senate and is currently awaiting to be debated by the Legal Matters Committee and subsequently voted in the following plenary sessions.

Need for Action

Despite the overwhelming support, there are still some interest groups in the Romanian Parliament that oppose the amendment proposal and that have even tabled changes to it. These changes would not only undermine the whole purpose of the citizens’ revision initiative but would also open doors for a future same-sex marriage. These changes will have to be discussed in the upcoming plenary session and then voted upon.

In view of all this your support for the constitutional revision as expressed by more than 3 million Romanian citizens is more than necessary for preserving family and marriage according to the natural law.

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[1] Article 258 (1) corroborated with 258(4) of the Romanian Civil Code

[2] De jure, the same reading as the more specific provisions of the Civil Code (in force since 2009)