A Romanian man has asked his country's Constitutional Court to recognize his marriage to a U.S. man, in a case that has pitted the conservative majority against those who seek closer integration into the European mainstream.

Lawyer Iustina Ionescu asked judges on Thursday to rule that the couple's 2010 marriage in Belgium was legal in the same way it would be recognized if they were heterosexual.

Adrian Coman, a rights activist, is married to American graphic designer Claibourn Robert Hamilton. Coman said: "Our values are no different from any other family in Romania."

The couple who live in the U.S. began legal action in 2012 to get their union recognized.

Religious groups want the constitution amended to state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.