A woman casts her vote, in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Two days of voting on a constitutional amendment that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage has started in Romania. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

The Latest: Church leaders urge Romanians to vote

October 07, 2018 - 9:44 am

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Latest on Romania's vote to change the definition of marriage (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The head of the Romanian Orthodox Church is urging the faith's adherents to vote in a referendum that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage, if it passes.

The church's news agency said Patriarch Daniel called on Romanians who hadn't yet cast ballots on Sunday to "vote before it's too late."

The referendum would amend the Romanian Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, instead of a union between two spouses.

Voter turnout of 30 percent is required for the referendum to be valid. Turnout was 11.67 percent as of midday Sunday.

Another prominent church official, Metropolitan Teofan of Moldova and Bucovina, told Romania's Agerpres national news agency Romanians "deserved their fate" if the amendment fails.

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1:55 p.m.

Romania's Central Electoral Bureau said 11.67 percent of voters had cast a ballot by lunchtime Sunday in the country's two-day referendum on changing the definition of marriage.

The vote requires a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The proposed amendment would change the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses." Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania.

The conservative Coalition for Family initiated the referendum and Romanian Orthodox priests during Sunday services encouraged the faithful to vote.

Opponents say the amendment could make LGBT people feel more like second-class citizens and could discriminate against non-traditional families.

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8 a.m.

Romanians are voting for a second day on a constitutional amendment that would make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Central Electoral Bureau said 5.72 percent of voters had cast a ballot Saturday in the two-day referendum. The vote requires a 30 percent turnout to be valid.

The conservative Coalition for Family initiated the referendum, backed by the influential Romanian Orthodox Church. During Sunday services, priests are expected to encourage the faithful to vote.

The proposed amendment would change the definition of family in Romania's Constitution to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between "spouses." Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Romania.

Opponents say the new constitutional language could make LGBT people feel more like second-class citizens and could discriminate against non-traditional families.

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