Romania has rejected an effort to amend language in its constitution that would have changed the definition of spouses to one man and one woman due to low voter turnout.
At least 30% of the electorate had to vote on the referendum in order for it to be valid, but only just over 20% of registered voters turned out.
According to a poll that came out on Friday, approximately 90% of voters cast their ballot in favor of the proposed change, AFP reports. That is not surprising, since the opposing side was encouraging people not to vote in order for it to be invalid due to not meeting the 30% threshold.
Romania has not legalized marriage equality. Had the referendum succeeded, it would have made that possibility even more difficult to achieve in the future.
Last month, the country’s constitutional court ruled same-sex couples should have the same family rights as their opposite-gender counterparts, and earlier this summer the European Court of Justice ruled Romania must recognize the residency rights of same-sex spouses.
“The aggressiveness of the ’Yes’ campaign, the attempt to instill hatred against a minority, has made Romanians reticent to vote,” said sociologist Gelu Duminica.
The two-day referendum cost $40 million, according to Reuters.
“Romanians rejected being divided and hating each other, it is a victory for Romanian democracy and moreover, Romanians rejected the involvement of the Orthodox Church in the state’s secular affairs,” said Vlad Viski, of the LGBTQ rights group MozaiQ.
“We believe politicians must now legalize civil partnerships for same sex couples.”