A Romanian Orthodox nun exits the voting booth, in Ciorogarla, Romania, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. Romanians are voting Sunday around the country for a second day on a constitutional amendment that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

The Latest: Low turnout voids Romania marriage vote

October 07, 2018 - 3:56 pm

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Latest on Romania's vote to change the definition of marriage (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Election officials in Romania say too few voters participated in a weekend referendum that sought to put a same-sex marriage ban into the country's constitution, so the vote is void.

The Central Election Bureau reported after polls closed Sunday that 20.41 percent of registered voters cast ballots on the proposed amendment. The referendum needed at least 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The failed amendment would have changed the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses." Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania.

Opponents had encouraged voters to boycott the referendum. The Romanian Orthodox Church supported the constitutional revision.

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8:10 p.m.

Polls have closed in Romania after two days of voting on a constitutional amendment that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage.

But the weekend referendum to redefine marriage failed to attract large numbers of voters and risks being voided.

Elections authorities said voter turnout stood at just below 19 percent two hours before polls closed Sunday. The referendum needs a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The proposed amendment would change the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses."

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania. Final voter turnout is expected later Sunday and early results Monday.

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7:40 p.m.

Romania's referendum on a constitutional amendment to redefine marriage is failing to attract significant voter participation and is in danger of being voided.

Election officials said 18.87 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots as of two hours before the close of polls Sunday. The referendum that opened Saturday needs a voter turnout of at least 30 percent to be valid.

If the turnout threshold is reached, the referendum seeking to amend the Romanian Constitution to say marriage is a union between a man and a woman instead of a union between "spouses" requires a simple majority to pass.

The revision would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriages, which already are prohibited by statute in Romania.

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5:45 p.m.

Election officials in Romania say 15.21 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots by mid-afternoon Sunday in the country's two-day referendum on changing the definition of marriage.

The referendum needs a voter turnout of at least 30 percent to be valid. If that turnout threshold is reached, the referendum seeking to amend the Romanian Constitution requires a simple majority to pass.

The conservative Coalition for Family that spearheaded a referendum to redefine marriage in Romania's Constitution and make it harder to legalize same-sex marriages is blaming "disinformation" for low voter turnout.

The coalition initiated the referendum with a signature petition. Passage would amend the constitution to say marriage is a union between a man and a woman instead of a union between "two spouses.

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4:15 p.m.

The conservative group that spearheaded a referendum to redefine marriage in Romania's Constitution and make it harder to legalize same-sex marriages is blaming "disinformation" for low voter turnout.

As of midday on Sunday, voter turnout was 11.67 percent. The referendum needs at least 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The Coalition for Family said in a statement that "a massive disinformation campaign" by the media, politicians and local governments was responsible for weak voter participation.

It alleged "a general boycott by all political parties" that was "primarily directed against the Christians of Romania."

The coalition initiated the referendum with a signature petition. Passage would amend the constitution to say marriage is a union between a man and a woman instead of a union between "two spouses.

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3:30 p.m.

The head of the Romanian Orthodox Church is urging the faith's adherents to vote in a referendum that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage, if it passes.

The church's news agency said Patriarch Daniel called on Romanians who hadn't yet cast ballots on Sunday to "vote before it's too late."

The referendum would amend the Romanian Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, instead of a union between two spouses.

Voter turnout of 30 percent is required for the referendum to be valid. Turnout was 11.67 percent as of midday Sunday.

Another prominent church official, Metropolitan Teofan of Moldova and Bucovina, told Romania's Agerpres national news agency Romanians "deserved their fate" if the amendment fails.

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1:55 p.m.

Romania's Central Electoral Bureau said 11.67 percent of voters had cast a ballot by lunchtime Sunday in the country's two-day referendum on changing the definition of marriage.

The vote requires a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The proposed amendment would change the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses." Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania.

The conservative Coalition for Family initiated the referendum and Romanian Orthodox priests during Sunday services encouraged the faithful to vote.

Opponents say the amendment could make LGBT people feel more like second-class citizens and could discriminate against non-traditional families.

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8 a.m.

Romanians are voting for a second day on a constitutional amendment that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Central Electoral Bureau said 5.72 percent of voters had cast a ballot Saturday in the two-day referendum. The vote requires a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The conservative Coalition for Family initiated the referendum, backed by the influential Romanian Orthodox Church. During Sunday services, priests are expected to encourage the faithful to vote.

The proposed amendment would change the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses." Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania.

Opponents say the new constitutional language could make LGBT people feel more like second-class citizens and could discriminate against non-traditional families.

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