Published Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 | 11:39 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 | 11:40 p.m.
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian Senators approved a measure that could pave the way for the constitution to be changed to explicitly state that marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
Senators on Tuesday voted 107-13 with seven abstentions to allow a referendum that could change the constitution, which currently states that marriage is a union between "spouses." The vote comes after Parliament's Chamber of Deputies last year overwhelmingly approved the same measure.
The vote comes after 3 million Romanians signed a petition demanding that the constitution be changed to redefine marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea has indicated Romania will hold a referendum on the issue in October.
A senator for the ruling Social Democratic Party, Serban Nicolae, said the vote was on religious grounds: "we've been a Christian nation for 2,000 years."
Accept, a Romanian group that fights for equality for same-sex couples, condemned the vote, accusing the Senate of "raising homophobia to state value and sacrificing constitutional protection for many families."
While the ruling could limit the definition of marriage, it would not preclude a law that would recognize same-sex civil partnerships.
Romania, along with Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia, doesn't recognize same-sex marriage or offer legal protection to same-sex couples.