POPE SPARKS NEW ‘GAY
accuse him of political interference
ANSA.it from the Web,
May 11, 2006
Rome, Italy -- Pope Benedict
XVI provoked a political row in Italy on Thursday by reaffirming the Catholic
Church's firm opposition to any form of 'gay marriage'.
Speaking to participants at an international congress in the Vatican on the
family, the pope said marriage between men and women had a deep significance
connected to procreation and the continuation of society.
"It is especially urgent today to avoid confusing it with other types of union
based on a weaker love," he said.
Centre-left leader Romano Prodi has said his soon-to-be-formed government will
provide some form of legal recognition for gay or unwed heterosexual couples.
Campaigners for these rights in the centre left accused the pontiff of
interfering in national politics and objected strongly to his reference to
"weaker love". "There is no hierarchy of feelings. Gay unions are
not based on weak love," said Vladimir Luxuria, a former drag queen who has been
elected as a Communist MP.
Franco Grillini, a leftwing MP who is a longstanding campaigner for gay rights,
said he wanted Italy's legal structure to reflect the different sorts of
families in the country today. "I would like to remind the pope that the
family and relationships between people are changing" he said.
Arcigay, Italy's main gay rights association, said the pope's words were "an
offence" for a large part of the population and accused Benedict of trying to
dictate policy to the country's lawmakers.
Meanwhile, politicians in the centre-right alliance applauded the pope and said
parliament would in any case decide independently what action to take on the
Support for the pope came from all four parties in the centre-right coalition.
MPs said it was important to uphold "natural law" and accused the centre left of
showing disrespect for the Catholic Church.
Homosexual "marriages" are already legal in several European countries.
Prodi and a large chunk of the centre left support legislation akin to France's
Civil Solidarity Pact (PaCS), which grants cohabiting couples similar
administrative and financial benefits as married ones.
Prodi, who is Catholic, has stressed that he has no intention of bringing in
full gay marriages if he becomes premier next year. But he argues that
some legal provision is needed for unmarried couples.
But Italy's top ranking cardinal, Camillo Ruini, says it makes no difference
because any legal framework for same-sex couples is modeled on the institution
of traditional marriage.
"Marriage reflects that form of love with which man and woman become one flesh,
and realise an authentic communion of persons open to the transmission of life",
"Only the rock of total love between man and woman is capable of being a
foundation for the building of a society which can become the home for all men".