Romanian man asks court to recognize his same-sex marriage

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) " A Romanian man asked his country's Constitutional Court on Thursday to recognize his marriage to an American man, in a case that has pitted the nation's conservative majority against those who want to move into the European mainstream. The court later postponed the case for a third time.

Adrian Coman, a 45-year-old Romanian gay rights activist, wants the court to rule that his 2010 marriage in Belgium to U.S. citizen Claibourn Robert Hamilton, also 45, is legal in the way it would be if they were a heterosexual couple.

"Our values are no different from any other family in Romania," Coman said.

Romania and Belgium are both members of the European Union. Romanian law allows the family of a Romanian citizen to take up residence in Romania, regardless of their nationality.

But as the law stands now, Coman could marry a woman in Romania and not be found guilty of bigamy, his lawyer, Iustina Ionescu, told the court.

The court later postponed making a decision for a third time after Ionescu asked it to consult with the European Court of Justice to see how other EU countries handled similar cases.

A new hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29, and it is not clear if there will be a ruling then. The court first began hearing the case in July.

Coman and Hamilton, a graphic designer and native of San Antonio, Texas, live in New York City and took legal action in 2012 to get their union recognized in Romania. In an unusual move, court president Valer Dorneanu on Thursday thanked Coman for his sincere remarks.

Opposition to same-sex relationships is often fierce in Romania, where homosexuality was only decriminalized in 2002.

Religious groups want the constitution amended to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Nearly 3 million people have signed a petition demanding a referendum to change the constitution, which currently states that marriage is a consensual act between spouses.

President Klaus Iohannis recently voiced his support for same-sex couples and warned of "religious fanaticism." Political leaders and some Romanians criticized his outspoken stance.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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