Romanian Senate approves bill banning ‘gay propaganda’ in schools

Human rights groups have condemned the bill, saying it would encourage discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

A teacher helps students in a classroom as Romanian ban on 'gay propaganda' looms.
Image: Pexels



The Romanian Senate has approved a new bill that aims to ban so-called ‘gay propaganda’ in schools. The proposed legislation is similar to those already in effect in Russia and Hungary, and must now be decided on by Romania’s lower house.

The bill is being spearheaded by the junior ruling coalition ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) and the nationalist Alliance for Uniting Romanians (AUR), both of whom boast of holding “traditional family values”. It is being sold as a measure to prevent “child abuse” and will ultimately ban the use of materials seen to be promoting homosexuality and/or gender change in schools.

Local human rights groups are urging the lower house to reject the legislation for fear it will encourage discrimination against queer people. 

“Censorship in Budapest’s education system must not be enforced in Bucharest,” said LGBTQ+ group ACCEPT. “Romania must avoid the illiberal drift promoted by Hungary through such measures which were received hardly by the European Union.

“Adopting explicitly homophobic and transphobic legislation by censoring information about sexual orientation and gender identity is a shame on Romania. The lower house must vote to stop this incitement to discrimination,” they concluded.

Another Romanian LGBTQ+ advocacy group, MozaiQ, echoed this sentiment surrounding the ‘gay propaganda’ bill, stating: “We urge the lower house to show responsibility and decency and reject any legal proposals which aim to demonise and marginalise the LGBT community.”

They continued by saying, “In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we believe adopting such a bill in Romania would […] fuel Russian propaganda and Moscow disinformation campaigns.”

Homosexuality was only decriminalised in Romania in 2001, and same-sex marriage and civil partnerships remain illegal in the country. This new bill comes as Poland and Hungary are facing sanctions from the EU for their attitudes and policies affecting their respective LGBTQ+ communities.

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