Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Low voter turnout killed a referendum to ban gay marriage in Romania over the weekend, even after the vote was extended by a day.
Only 20 percent of eligible voters showed up for the referendum, short of the 30 percent needed to make it valid. Opponents of the ban boycotted the vote, knowing it would fail if enough voters stayed home.
The Romanian Constitution will keep its neutral wording that a family is "founded on the freely consented marriages of the spouses." Romania does not recognize gay marriage or civil unions, though the constitutional court ruled last month gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexuals.
Dan Barna, part of a union that opposed the ban on gay marriage, called for the government to resign immediately after wasting taxpayer money "on a fantasy." The president of the LGBT rights organization Mozaiq has called for a vote in the opposite direction, legalizing gay marriage.
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democrats, supports the ban on same-sex unions.
"Do you know what a traditional family is? It's a man and a woman who are able to bear children," Dragnea said.
The Romanian Orthodox Church supported the referendum and the ban, and said the country is feeling pressure from the West to accept same-sex marriage.
"We managed to preserve our Christian values during the communist period, when the church was persecuted," Archdeacon Ionut Mavrichi said. "We should be able to decide how we understand the institution of the family.
"Every child has the right to be raised and born in a family from a mother and father like all the children that have ever been born."