Kim Davis fights same-sex marriage in Romania

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is currently in Romania.

The Liberty Counsel on Tuesday in a press release said Kim Davis and Harry Mihet, who is the anti-LGBT legal group’s vice president of legal affairs and its chief litigation counsel, are “visiting Romania this week to discuss the impact of same-sex ‘marriage’ on religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”

The press release indicates Davis and Mihet — who was born in Romania and grew up during Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship that ended when a violent revolution overthrew him in 1989 — are holding “conferences” in the Romanian capital of Bucharest and the cities of Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Timisoara and Iași throughout their nine-day visit.

The Liberty Counsel said Davis and Mihet have met with two archbishops of the Romanian Orthodox Church and “are scheduled to meet other leaders of” the religious denomination that is the country’s largest.

“They are also providing numerous television and radio interviews and meeting with civic leaders as well as members of Parliament,” reads the group’s press release. “Their conferences are carried live on social media channels and have so far garnered over 50,000 live viewers.”

The Liberty Counsel said Iași officials on Tuesday honored David and Mihet with a traditional “Bread and Salt” reception.

“I am so glad for this amazing opportunity to finally introduce Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis personally to my Romanian people,” said Mihet in the Liberty Counsel press release. “Her story resonates loudly with them, and they are receiving her tearfully and very warmly, because they can still remember the not-so-long-ago days when they were themselves persecuted and imprisoned for their conscience.”

“The freedom of conscience transcends national, cultural, religious and denominational lines,” he added. “Romanians are determined to prevent such injustice from ever happening again in their country.”

Romanian activist sharply criticizes Davis, Liberty Counsel

Romania is a country in southeastern Europe that borders Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, and Moldova. Romania joined the European Union in 2007.

Davis is in Romania ahead of a referendum on whether to amend the country’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman that could take place as early as next month.

Romanian law currently bans gays and lesbians from legally marrying, but it does not ban civil partnerships between same-sex or heterosexual couples. Opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2015 collected 3 million signatures — the country’s total population is slightly less than 20 million people — in support of the referendum.

Florin Buhuceanu, director of ACCEPT, a Romanian LGBT and intersex advocacy group, on Tuesday said his organization sent a “letter of protest” to the general manager of the National Theater in Bucharest for “allowing” a conference “that is targeting the LGBTI community” to take place in “a public cultural space.”

Buhuceanu in a statement the Washington Blade obtained said Mihet noted in Timisoara “the homosexual lifestyle is highly detrimental, and blamed those American states in which medical professionals are not able to practice conversion therapy or even express their negative opinion about homosexuality anymore.”

“They play well the role of victims of the homosexual consipracy that is using non-discrimination legislation as a tool for depriving honest Christians basic rights such as freedom of religion,” added Buhuceanu. “Unfortunately, this is the mantra used more and more by the majority church (Romanian Orthodox Church) and several influential political leaders who suddenly feel the urge to save traditional and family values undermined by the homosexual threat.”

Davis in September 2015 served five days in jail after a federal judge found her in contempt for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell case.

Pope Francis secretly met with Davis in D.C. a few weeks after her release from jail. Vatican officials sought to downplay the meeting amid criticism from Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and other LGBT advocates.

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