Orthodox priests join rally in Romanian marriage debate

A nun holding a cross sits between banners that read in Romanian "Vote Yes on the Referendum! Marriage" during a rally in support of the traditional family, organised by the local church, in the small province town of Draganesti Olt, Romania, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Romania will hold a referendum on October 6-7 after three million Romanians signed a petition demanding a constitutional amendment redefining marriage "as the union between a man and a woman", which is currently defined as a union between "spouses." (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

DRAGANESTI-OLT, Romania (AP) — Orthodox priests have joined Romanians in a rally voicing support for a referendum that seeks to limit Romania’s constitutional definition of marriage.

A handful of the priests spoke about the meaning of a “traditional” family to some 100 believers Thursday, urging citizens to vote in the Oct. 6-7 referendum. It needs a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

Participants marched through Draganesti-Olt, a southern town, holding banners reading: “Defend the marriage of a man and a woman and defend Romanian children.”

The vote comes after 3 million Romanians signed a petition demanding that the constitution be changed to explicitly state that marriage is between a man and a woman. It now states marriage is between spouses.

Critics say amending the constitution could violate human rights and amounts to anti-gay discrimination.

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