VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican has called on lawmakers to offer “clear and emphatic opposition” to worldwide initiatives to grant legal recognition to same-sex unions, saying such measures are contrary to human nature and ultimately harmful to society.
In a 12-page document released on July 31, the Vatican expressed particular alarm at moves to allow gay couples to adopt children, which it said would be a form of “violence” against children and “gravely immoral”.
The document rejected arguments that failing to give gay unions legal recognition would be unjust discrimination and underscored the unique social role of marriage between a man and a woman in continuing the human race and raising children.
It instructed Catholic politicians that they were morally bound to oppose such “gravely unjust laws” and said all public servants had the right to conscientious objection if they were asked to apply them.
A note at the end of the document said it had been approved by Pope John Paul II, who ordered its publication.
Titled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons”, the document coincides with a growing movement in Europe and North America toward granting gay couples some or all of the legal protections and benefits of marriage.
Last month, Canada’s government proposed a draft bill to legalise same-sex marriage, Belgium and the Netherlands already have expanded equal marriage rights to homosexuals, and a number of other European countries offer gay couples civil union rights.
A day before the Vatican released its document, US President George W. Bush told reporters in Washington that White House lawyers were exploring ways to ensure that “marriage” remains legally defined as a union between a man and a woman.