The vast majority of Romanians have turned their backs on the referendum that sought to veto marriage between people of the same sex, which did not meet the minimum participation of 30% for the happiness of NGOs in favor of the rights of homosexuals.
According to official data, only 20.41% of the 19 million citizens went to the polls after two days of voting in a referendum that sought to amend the Constitution so that the marriage is not defined as the union between two people -as now -, but between a man and a woman.
The failure of the consultation is a huge setback for the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), which defended the amendment in a nod to its rural and elderly vote, as well as for the Orthodox Church, whose real influence on society has remained questioned.
Romania, which decriminalized homosexuality in 2001, is one of the few countries in the European Union that still does not recognize civil unions between people of the same sex.
The LGBT Accept association was pleased to say that "it has been demonstrated that citizens want a Romania with democratic values and that they can not deceive us with a political agenda that leads to hatred and division".
"The Romanian state has the obligation to urgently legalize civil unions for all citizens, including LGBT people," said Robert Ratiu, president of the NGO MozaiQ.
The Coalition for the Family (CpF), the organization close to the Orthodox Church that promoted the plebiscite after gathering three million signatures, expressed its displeasure at the limited participation and attributed it to "a campaign of disinformation unprecedented since the fall of the Communist dictatorship in 1989. "
"All the calls to vote of the churches and Christian religious cults in Romania were boycotted by the political parties, despite the official statements of the leaders," CpF criticized in a statement.
The CpF has carried out an extensive campaign defending the "traditional family", even resorting to false messages such as: "If you are not going to vote, two men will be able to adopt your children".
Neither the pleas for the parishioners to vote at Sunday Masses nor the messages of the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Daniel, mobilized enough voters to validate the consultation.
Criticism of the consultation also came from the European Commission, which asked that the defense of the traditional family not be used to subtract rights from sexual minorities.
The Social Democrats, who sought to cement their support among their rural bases in a moment of popularity-free fall for corruption scandals and a controversial reform of Justice, have been very touched by the failure of the consultation, all analysts agree.
The social democratic leader, Liviu Dragnea, who had asked to vote in favor of the constitutional amendment, will soon hear a sentence for a case of corruption that could end his political life.
The general secretary of the PSD, Codrin Stefanescu, had to face the press to defend Dragnea, underlining that it had not been a "political consultation" and sought to distance himself from the referendum.
For the analyst Cristian Tudor Popescu, the huge abstention is not only a wake-up call to the government, but shows "a tendency toward rejection and distrust in the political class," he told the Digi24 network.
The opposition, meanwhile, criticized the referendum as a smokescreen for the Social Democrats to try to distract public opinion from their corruption problems.
"It was a useless consultation that does not solve the needs or the dramas of the current Romania," said the president of the center-right opposition Union Salvad Romania (USR), Dan Barsan, who called for the resignation of the government for "throwing 40 million of euros "in the organization of the plebiscite.
The referendum can also be invoiced to the leader of the largest opposition party, the National Liberal Party (PNL), Ludovic Orban, who voted yesterday despite the fact that some of his fellow party members advocated for boycotting the referendum.
"The leadership of NLP launched the party into a new political failure: it does not unite, it divides, it does not modernize, it proposes retrograde policies," several disgruntled members of that formation wrote on their Facebook profiles.