A man sits draped in a rainbow flag in a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, after hearing of the partial voter turnout. 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 risk being voided. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Romania leader advises 'mature approach' after marriage vote

October 09, 2018 - 11:57 am

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's president said Tuesday that the country needs "a mature approach and openness to dialogue" following a referendum that aimed to make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage. Low turnout voided the vote.

President Klaus Iohannis was the first senior Romanian politician to come out in support of same-sex partnerships. Iohannis voted just before polls in the two-day vote closed Sunday and declined to comment.

Backers of the failed referendum had characterized same-sex marriages as a threat to Romania. The president said Romanian society would fare well "without fear and alarm caused by imaginary dangers."

In a related development, a spokesman for the Romanian Orthodox Church said the church opposed creating legal rights for couples in same-sex partnerships.

Romania does not have civil unions or recognize those from other countries. Government officials and lawmakers have discussed drafting legislation to establish partnerships.

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