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Washington, Vatican allies on abortion and opposition to gays

The pope is against same-sex couples from receiving legal recognition - Bush opposes gay marriage and supports a constitutional amendment on the issue


January 28, 2004

VATICAN CITY — U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney meets with Pope John Paul II on Tuesday at a time when the Vatican has put aside its opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and is seeking greater involvement by the international community in rebuilding the country.

Cheney will have a private meeting with the 83-year-old pontiff, then hold talks with the Vatican's No. 2 official, Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

It will be the highest-level Vatican-U.S. meeting since the Iraqi war began. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited in June, and those talks were taken as a sign that Washington's relationship with the Vatican was not damaged by disagreement on the war.

The Vatican values its relationship with the United States - formal diplomatic ties were only established 20 years ago - counting on Washington to be a major force in promoting democracy, human rights and religious freedom around the world.

It has clearly been seeking to tone down rhetoric that can be taken as European anti-Americanism.

Since coming to Europe, Cheney has emphasized the need for democracies to work together but that they should not fear using force if diplomacy cannot deter terrorism.

The views of the Vatican and the Bush administration are close on other issues such as banning late-term procedures that opponents call partial-birth abortion. The Vatican assailed Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, for what it called his "shameful" veto of similar legislation.

The Vatican has also mounted a campaign to bar same-sex couples from receiving legal recognition. Bush opposes gay marriage and would support a constitutional amendment against it if the courts insist in its favor. –Sapa-AP


Related stories
Many US states pass tougher anti-gay marriage laws [26/01/2004]
Pope attacks global gay marriages trend [29/12/2003]
Long lines expected as gay couples prepare to register their unions [26/01/2004]


 

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