Tuesday June 8, 2010

Ten Foreign Diplomats Pressure Romania to Change Gay Laws

By Hilary White

June 7, 2010 ( – Ten foreign diplomats, including ambassadors from the UK and U.S., signed a statement last month expressing “support” for and “solidarity” with the Romanian homosexualist movement. The statement, which has been published on the website of the British Embassy in Bucharest, was issued May 20 to coincide with “Gayfest,” the week-long annual festival organized by the national homosexualist lobby group.

The signatories called Gayfest a “traditional occasion” to “express support for, and solidarity with, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Romania.”

“Some individuals still face discrimination, both systemic and overt, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” the statement said.

“Our governments seek to combat such discrimination by promoting the human rights of all people. Everyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should be free to enjoy the rights and freedoms to which people of all nations are entitled.”

Other signatories included representatives from the Netherlands, Australia, France, the Czech Republic, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Germany, and Sweden.

U.S. ambassador to Romania, Mark Gitenstein, also signed the statement. He later received a letter from the Romanian Evangelical Alliance of the U.S. and Canada asking for an apology. The Alliance said that his signing of the statement is “an affront to Romania, its culture and its citizens.”

“We … do not believe it is appropriate for the US ambassador to lecture the people of Romania on the subject of homosexuality,” the group said. The Alliance represents 139 Romanian evangelical churches in the U.S. and Canada, with a total membership of over 60,000.

“Until recently, homosexuality was virtually unknown in Romania,” the letter continued. “It always has been and continues to be viewed as an immoral lifestyle by the overwhelming majority of Romanians.”

“We do not find it appropriate that homosexuals should be encouraged or receive approval to live a lifestyle which by all accounts is destructive. On the contrary, they, like all citizens, should be encouraged to live sober and moral lives.”

Local media reported that no major Romanian politicians attended the Gay Pride march in Bucharest, which attracted an estimated 350 participants. Despite the lack of support by citizens and the country’s own political class, the Gay Pride march was attended by 3 foreign ambassadors, including the British ambassador, Robin Barnett and British MEP Michael Cashman.

To contact Ambassador Robin Barnett:

British Embassy, 24 Jules Michelet

010463 Bucharest, Romania


Phone: (+40) (21) 201 7200

Chancery: (+40) (21) 201 7299

To contact Ambassador Mark Gitenstein

The United States Embassy

7-9, Tudor Arghezi Street,

District 2, Bucharest

020942 Romania

Phone: (+40) 21 200-3300

Fax: (+40) 21 200-3442


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