Proposal 3 could no longer undergo substantial changes, as it had received a favourable joint report from the Legal Affairs Committee and the Labour Committee of the Chamber of Deputies at the end of 2019. Aiming at a thorough package of legislative changes, Proposal 3 had the advantage of being a safe vehicle for the introduction, in bulk, of restrictive conditions for sex education in schools.
Proposal 2 was unlikely to pass the final vote of the Deputies. However, it had a fundamental advantage: the report of the commissions had not yet been drawn up, so it could receive further amendments, including some aimed at removing the liberal framework established by Proposal 1.
The Procedural Rules of the Chamber of Deputies make it possible to issue a joint report for legislative projects that have the same purpose (i.e., aim at amending the same legal framework). Thus, Proposal 2 and Proposal 3 were merged. Under the new conditions, Proposal 3, which had already been reviewed by the committees, could now receive a new report, which made it possible to include new amendments.
This was the moment when changes to the article on sex education were introduced in Proposal 3. The authors were Deputies Robert Sighiartău (PNL), Florica Cherecheş (PNL), Elena Hărătău (PSD), Steluţa-Gustica Cătăniciu (unaffiliated), Adrian Solomon (PSD), Nicuşor Halici (PSD) and Senator Titus Corlăţean (PSD).
The mentioned MPs eliminated the obligation to hold Education for Life classes, including sex education, at least once a semester, replaced the phrase ‘sex education’ with ‘health education’ and introduced the need for parental consent for students to attend such classes. By introducing these amendments in a general draft which aimed at improving Law 272 of 2004 on several levels, the seven MPs put their colleagues in an ungrateful position: that of not being able to vote against it.
Proposal 2 was put to vote in the Chamber of Deputies one day after the amendments were made through the joint report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Labor. It failed, but it had done its job, allowing the content of Proposal 3 to be altered.
Proposal 3 was also put to the vote in the Chamber of Deputies on the same day. It passed, together with the restrictive amendment on sex education.
Receiving it for approval, President Klaus Iohannis challenged the law in the Constitutional Court by citing, among other things, the lack of clarity of the new provisions regarding sex education in schools. But the constitutional judges rejected the presidential request, so the President sent the law back to Parliament for reconsideration, which the Constitution only allows him to do once.
At the current moment, the law has passed the Senate without any change. If it passes the Chamber of Deputies in the same conditions, Proposal 3 will replace Proposal 1 among the laws of the Romanian state. The framework for sex education will be corrected in line with views that reject the presence of sex education in schools.
In this case, the legal manipulation of law changes is replacing a rule by parliament, where there is debate and coherent and predictable legislative action.
The need for parental consent has always been promoted by a powerful lobbying force: the Romanian Orthodox Church (BOR). In a statement issued in April 2020, the BOR news agency said that sex education classes can only be given by teachers, that they are ineffective, and that parents should have the right to decide what their child studies.
But the opposition did not come solely from only the Orthodox church. The Catholic Church also opposes the idea that sex education should be a compulsory discipline, while the Christian Church based on the Gospel considers that the imposition of sex education is an attack on the purity of children.