The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has called for government action to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the nation.
Speaking Tuesday in his first appearance before the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's Parliament, Patriarch Kirill called for state-level legislation to block any attempt to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
"In a response to the broad international discussion of this issue we would like to make a resolute statement -- marriage is a union between a man and a woman, based on love and mutual understanding and made in order to give birth to children," he said, according to Russian news source RT.com.
Russia can be a secular state and still limit marriages to male-female unions, he said, as that is not necessarily a religious stance, but a moral one.
Religious leaders and members of the council agreed to adopt a resolution making a joint statement on the matter "to all sober-minded people of Russia and other countries." It reads, "Preservation of marriage as a union between a man and a woman based on love and mutual understanding and birth of beloved children are a precondition for survival of humankind," reports the ITAR-TASS News Agency.
The patriarch claimed that same-sex marriage is a threat to Russian society, and a few months ago he called for the laws making homosexuality a crime in the nation. Russia repealed such laws in the 1990s, after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It has, however, criminalized positive public discussion of LGBT rights and identities in venues accessible to minors with the "gay propaganda" law enacted last summer.