In an act of international solidarity to defend the institution of marriage, over 100 pro-family leaders from around the world signed a petition this week to defend efforts in Romania to outlaw same-sex marriage.
We applaud the Romanian people for taking this courageous step in defense of a divinely ordained institution which predates governments and on whose health the future of society depends. And we encourage Romanias Chamber of Deputies and others in the government to fully codify the proposed definition of marriage and, eventually, to so define marriage in Romanias Constitution, the petition reads.
Earlier this year, efforts by the pro-family Alliance of Romanian Families to gather 650,000 signatures to ban gay marriage and the Romanian Senates vote to amend the countrys constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman came under attack by pro-gay groups who attempted to block the measures.
Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch (HRW)s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) Rights Program, was among those who criticized Romanias efforts to ban gay marriage in an open letter addressed to its legislators.
The European Convention of Human Rights, one of those treaties to which Romania is a party, provides specific protection to families under Article 8, and the European Court of Human Rights is very clear that the legal definition of family should neither be discriminatory nor unduly restrictive The right to marry is a basic human right, he wrote.
Civil marriage is not an exception to the protections against unequal treatment, and Romanian legislators should not write their country into a trap of preemptive and discriminatory prohibition, he added.
In response, pro-family groups from around the world have rallied to Romanias cause to protect the institution of marriage.
Allan C. Carlson, international secretary of the World Congress of Families, spoke of the petition backing Romania as part of a world wide effort to save marriage.
"This (the petition) shows the willingness of pro-family groups to stand in solidarity," he said, according to a released statement. "It is a recognition of the reality that a threat to the natural family anywhere is a threat to the natural family everywhere.
"We will continue to build the international pro-family movement to protect the natural family and advance our common values, wherever they are threatened," he added.
In February, the Senate of Romania voted 38 to 10 to change its Family Code to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In order for the measure to become law, the countrys Chamber of Deputies will have to decide on the issue in June.
According to a 2004 study conducted by the Eurobarometers Targeting Social Need (TNS) Opinion & Social, Romania had the lowest level of backing for same-sex marriage, among eight different European Union countries.
According to the study, only 11 percent of Romanians said they supported same-sex marriage.