Remus Cernea claims dolphins deserve such rights because of their highly developed intelligence, personalities and behavior.
The legislation would ban the use of dolphins in live entertainment shows and give anyone who kills them the same sentences as those given to anyone who murders humans.
Cernea says he wants to protect the native dolphins that swim off his country’s Black Sea coast, and to promote the rights of the species worldwide.
“This law asks you to make a huge step, philosophically speaking, to understand and to accept that somehow there is another species which is quite similar as we are,” he told reporters.
The lawmaker concedes that there is no support from his colleagues for the bill.
In December, the Nonhuman Rights Project asked a New York court to declare that chimpanzees are almost human enough to deserve some of the same rights as people. The court didn’t agree.