By Gudrun Schultz

  LYON, France, February 14, 2007 ( –  Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in France came together last week to sign a statement proclaiming the fundamental place of marriage in human society  and their opposition to same-sex unions, Zenit News Agency reported Feb.13.

  Signatories of the statement included the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.

“The question is to know today if the law can authorize the marriage of two persons of the same sex,” the statement said, signed on Feb. 6 in Lyon. “It is not a question of a simple debate in society, but of a greater choice, unprecedented in the history of humanity. It is not a gift that should be given to future generations.”

  The religious leaders emphasized the many difficulties young families are already facing, without the added burden of a society that does not value the institution of marriage.

”[T]here are already enough sufferings occasioned by the fragility of family ties, not to speak of the illnesses that affect our loved ones and the mourning. This fragility is due for many to the difficulty adults have in helping young people build their lives.”

“How will the latter be able to acquire a solid formation, face their future with confidence, fulfill the obligations of a profession and build their own family in balance, if the institution of marriage is relativized?” the statement said.

  The family, as the “foundational reference of humanity,” is an essential institution that “cannot be subjected to the fluctuations of currents of thought. It is situated beyond religious differences or ideological divisions.” 

“It is a lie to pretend that it is indifferent for a child to grow with or without a father and mother.”

  The institution of marriage between a man and a woman is the basic foundation of society, the religious leaders said.

“Such is the original basis on which our personal lives, our families and our societies are founded. Let’s not forget that it is fragile!”

  The statement comes as France moves closer to April’s presidential election, with homosexual-marriage supporter Ségolène Royal of the Socialist Party (PS) the top  contender for leadership against Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy.

  In February 2006, one year ago, the French government issued a report saying that homosexual ‘marriage’ and adoption by homosexual couples should not be permitted by law, a decision based primarily on concerns about the impact such legislation would have on the welfare of children.

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  French Government Report Says No to Homosexual “Marriage”

  France’s Choice for President: Gay “Marriage” or Re-Marriage Between Church and State