By Luiza Ilie
BUCHAREST (Reuters) – A referendum to change Romania’s constitution to prevent same sex couples from securing the right to marry failed to draw enough voters to validate the result on Sunday, after a campaign that led to a rise in hate speech against the gay community.
The vote has also been seen as popularity test of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) that supported the change and whose attempts to weaken anti-corruption legislation have drawn criticism from the European Union’s executive.
Data from the national election bureau showed voter turnout stood at 20.4 percent when the polls closed at 1800 GMT, below the 30 percent required for it to be valid.
The two-day referendum, which cost $40 million, aimed to change the constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman from the current gender-neutral “spouses.”