Saturday, April 23, 2005

New Pope Launches Anti-Gay Salvo

by Malcolm Thornberry European Bureau Chief

(Vatican City) Less than a week after becoming Pope, Benedict XVI has lashed out at Spain following the passage of a same-sex marriage bill in Parliament.

Spain's lower house on Thursday approved legislation to legalize gay marriage. (story) It is expected to gain approval in the upper chamber and become law next month.

On Friday, the Vatican shot back.

The Pope, speaking through Cardinal Alfonso Lopes Trujill, head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, said Roman Catholics should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law.

Trujill, in an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper said Spaniards in all walks of life - especially government officials - are duty bound by Catholicism to oppose accepting same-sex couples.

"We cannot impose the iniquitous on people," he told the paper.

"On the contrary, precisely because they are iniquitous the Church makes an urgent call for freedom of conscience and the duty to oppose.

"A law as profoundly iniquitous as this one is not an obligation, it cannot be an obligation. One cannot say that a law is right simply because it is law."

When asked if this were not discrimination Trujill said no, adding that the Church does not discriminate against gays. He then told the paper that homosexuals need help.

"The Church does not accept homosexuals being the target of jokes, insults and inhumane expressions. They are people who deserve all our love, our support and our aid."

The bill to allow gay marriage was relatively short, saying that "Matrimony shall have the same requisites and effects regardless of whether the persons involved are of the same

Same-sex marriage is legal in Holland and Belgium. Most other European Union countries have some provision for recognizing those in committed same-sex relationships. In December Britain will open its registry for Civil Unions.

In North America most of Canada has legalized same-sex marriage and a bill to expand that throughout the country is currently before Parliament. Massachusetts is the only US state to legalize same-sex marriage, although Civil Unions are legal in Vermont and Connecticut, and several other states including California have domestic partner registries.

© 2005


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