October 19, 2016 - 8:37 AM
BUCHAREST, Romania - Romania's president called for "tolerance and acceptance" of minorities Wednesday as the nation's highest court considers whether to legally recognize a same-sex marriage between a U.S. citizen and a Romanian man.
Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German and a Lutheran, noted that he belonged to two minorities. "Tolerance and acceptance of others are vital. These are the values I believe in," he said.
The constitutional Court will rule next week on a petition to recognize the couple's union, which is currently invalid in Romania. The influential Romanian Orthodox Church opposes the petition.
Claibourn Robert Hamilton, an American graphic designer and Adrian Coman, a rights activist, have petitioned the court to recognize their marriage. They married in Belgium in 2010, where same-sex marriages are legal, and live in the United States.
They launched a legal fight to get their marriage sanctioned in Romania in 2012 after their plans to relocate for work were shelved due to a refusal by immigration authorities to recognize their union. The court has twice delayed making a decision in their case.
In unusually outspoken comments to foreign news organizations, Iohannis said "religious fanaticism does not help society. If being a Christian leans toward fanaticism.... it sends a wrong signal."
Religious groups connected to the Orthodox Church want the constitution amended to state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. The constitution currently says that marriage is a union between spouses.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016