Three million Romanians have signed a petition to change the legal definition of marriage to a union that is only between one man and one woman.
Few politicians openly support same sex marriage in the socially conservative eastern European nation of 20 million, where the Orthodox Church holds considerable sway.
Currently, the constitution says family starts "on the basis of freely consenting marriage between spouses".
The Coalition for the Family, a civic initiative, gathered 3 million signatures earlier this year in favor of replacing "spouses" with "a man and a woman". It said only men and women can naturally start a family and raise children.
The people of Romania understand the dangers that a legally vague definition of marriage pose to society. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that the Coalition for the Family was able to procure 3 million signatures for the petition, when they were only legally required to get 500,000.
When a culture does not give a precise definition of what it means by marriage, that leaves room for irrational and socially damaging ideas about the institution to gain prominence, as we have seen in the United States, and more recently, even here in Australia. By motioning to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the people of Romania safeguard one of society’s most sacred institutions.
As we approach the plebiscite on same-sex marriage, we should remember the need to safeguard our own institution of marriage. The people of Romania have wisely decided to recognise marriage for what it truly is in a legally binding way; we should do the same.