Romania Lifts Gay Ban; Church Objects
December 24, 2001
SUMMARY: Aging communist-era laws criminalizing gays and lesbians was
removed Friday in Romania.
Aging communist-era laws criminalizing gays and lesbians was removed Friday
The scrapping of the law, which was introduced during the reign of Nicolae
Ceasescu, was prompted by the European Union’s insistence that until the law
was removed Romania could not join the EU.
The law, Article 200 of the Penal Code, had been used to harass and
imprison thousands of Romanian homosexuals, and its demise sparked
celebrations amongst the East European nation’s gay community.
"This is an important step forward; you could say that finally the
state is out of your bed," said Adrian Coman, director of Romania’s
leading gay rights group ACCEPT.
However, despite the law’s removal, Coman says the EU forced the change
on Romania rather than being the result of Romania becoming more progressive.
"The fact that law was repealed does not necessarily show that people
in this country became more tolerant towards gays and lesbians in
Romania," noted Coman.
Romania’s powerful Orthodox Church, however, was furious at the decision.
"We need healthy young people in mind and body, like any civilized
country, and we must try to protect them from contamination by such serious
sinners," said Holy Synod bishop Vincentiu Ploisteanu. "We want to
join the European Union, not Sodom and Gomorrah."
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