Human rights groups in Romania have condemned the country’s so-called LGBT+ “propaganda” bill, and begged lawmakers to stop it in its tracks.
The bill, which has passed through the Senate and must now be decided on by Romania’s lower house, bans the use of materials in schools that “promote” being LGBT+.
The bill has been pushed as a measure to prevent “child abuse” by the junior ruling coalition ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) and the nationalist Alliance for Uniting Romanians (AUR), both of whom argue for “traditional family values”, and is similar to legislation already in effect in Russia and Hungary.
Romanian LGBT+ rights group ACCEPT told Reuters: “Censorship in Budapest’s education system must not be enforced in Bucharest.
“Romania must avoid the illiberal drift promoted by Hungary through such measures which were received harshly by the European Union.
“Adopting explicitly homophobic and transphobic legislation by censoring information about sexual orientation and gender identity is a shame on Romania. The lower house must vote to stop this incitement to discrimination.”
A spokesperson for MozaiQ, another LGBT+ rights group in the country, added adopting a law almost identical to the one already in place in Russia was especially dangerous considering Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
They said: “We urge the lower house to show responsibility and decency and reject any legal proposals which aim to demonize and marginalize the LGBT community.
“In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we believe adopting such a bill in Romania would… fuel Russian propaganda and Moscow disinformation campaigns.”
Anti-LGBT+ sentiment in Romania, which only decriminalised homosexuality in 2001, is widespread.
According to the World Values Survey conducted between 2017 and 2020, three quarters of the population believe that homosexuality is “not justifiable”.
A 2015 to 2016 Pew Research Center survey had similar results, with 85 per cent of respondents agreeing with the statement: “Homosexuality should not be accepted by society.”