Bucharest Threatened With Formal EU Complaint
5 October 2000
BUCHAREST, Romania Representatives of gay and lesbian Romanians
said on Wednesday they will formally petition the Council of Europe to resume human rights
monitoring in Romania unless the government repeals laws criminalizing homosexuality, the
Reuters news agency reports.
"Ten years after the fall of communism, Romania is the only Council member state
which denies rights to gays," said Florin Buhuceanu, president of Accept,
Romanias only gay civil rights group.
The Romanian capital is playing host this week to a meeting of the International Gay
and Lesbian Association (ILGA), which will hold its annual pan-European conference in
Bucharest. Buhuceanu said Romania had failed to make good on promises that outlawed
consensual gay relations between adults.
Buhuceanu said his countrys Justice Ministry figures show 432 gays and lesbians
were now serving jail time on charges related to article 200 in the countrys penal
code. Gay relations, outlawed in the statute, are punishable in Romania with jail terms of
up to five years.
Romania, which started European Union membership talks earlier this year, has made
repeated pledges to repeal its harsh anti-gay laws and bring its legal system in line with
other European states.
Romanian legislators in the Chamber of Deputies voted in June to decriminalize
homosexuality, but they maintained terms of up to five years in jail for certain sexual
activities, including "abnormal practices, oral and anal sex" if performed in
public. Even the modified legislation stalled in the Senate in the face of fierce
opposition from the Romanian Orthodox Church.
"The church rejects tainted love in order to protect and promote the holy love
that God desires," Patriarch Teoctist wrote in a letter last month to parliament.
"Europe will receive us at their bosom the way we are."
Gay civil rights advocates have reacted with an organized show of resistance and vowed
to do everything in their power to prevent an improvement in ties until the penal code is
amended or abolished.
"We will be requesting the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe to re
introduce the monitoring of Romania to ensure that it meets the human rights obligations
that it has undertaken," said Nigel Warner, the ILGAs co-delegate to the
"Romanias failure to repeal article 200 was a deception of the international
community," said fellow ILGA co-delegate Kurt Kickler. "We will insist that
Romania will at all point honor all human rights obligations when it is accepted to join
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