BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania's president said Tuesday that the country needs "a mature approach and openness to dialogue" following a referendum that aimed to make it harder to legalize same-sex marriage. Low turnout voided the vote.

President Klaus Iohannis was the first senior Romanian politician to come out in support of same-sex partnerships. Iohannis voted just before polls in the two-day vote closed Sunday and declined to comment.

Backers of the failed referendum had characterized same-sex marriages as a threat to Romania. The president said Romanian society would fare well "without fear and alarm caused by imaginary dangers."

In a related development, a spokesman for the Romanian Orthodox Church said the church opposed creating legal rights for couples in same-sex partnerships.

Romania does not have civil unions or recognize those from other countries. Government officials and lawmakers have discussed drafting legislation to establish partnerships.