Pope Benedict XVI Condemns Spainís
Same Sex Marriage Bill
Christina Ficara Ė All Headline News Staff Writer from the Web, April 22, 2005
VATICAN CITY (AHN) - Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing same-sex marriage.
The bill, passed by parliament's Socialist-dominated lower house, also allows gay couples to adopt.
A senior Vatican official described the bill -- which is likely to become law within a few months
-- as iniquitous.
The Vatican warned Roman Catholic officials that any support of the bill would end in the loss of their positions.
Spain has become the first European country to legally allow homosexual couples to marry and adopt.
Belgium and the Netherlands only allow same-sex marriages, not adoption. It is also a dramatic step in the rapid secularization of what was once one of the most devoutly Roman Catholic countries in Europe.
The head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council on the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, denounced the legislation.
Interviewed in the Italian newspaper, Corriere de la Serra, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo said the Church was making an urgent call for freedom of conscience for Roman Catholics and appealing to them to resist the law.
He said every profession linked with implementing homosexual marriages should oppose it, even if it meant losing their jobs.
The cardinal insisted that just because something was made law it did not make it right.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero took office a year ago making it clear he intended to remove what he called the church's undeniable advantages and make Spain a secular state.
There are likely to be further tensions with Pope Benedict XVI. Mr Zapatero has made it clear that he intends to streamline divorce law and even to relax the conditions placed on abortion.