Pope attacks gay unions, calling them 'weak and defiant'

Troy Espera | October 23, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI
ROME — Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged Italian Catholics to oppose any moves to legalize "weak and deviant" unions in a speech delivered in the Italian city of Verona.

While he did not specifically mention gay marriage, Reuters reports that thousands of listeners at the fairgrounds in Verona's outskirts strongly applauded the two parts of his speech about the family and "other forms of unions".

He urged them to fight "with determination... the risk of political and legislative decisions that contradict fundamental values and anthropological and ethical principles rooted in human nature,� reports Reuters.

The Pope said they had to defend "the family based on matrimony, opposing the introduction of laws on other forms of unions which would only destabilize it and obscure its special character and its social role, which has no substitute.�

Benedict has been stressing the need for dialogue between religions and cultures, which he has said was the point of his speech in Germany last month that angered the Muslim world for its references to Islam and violence.

USA Today reports that he said that cultures in which "God is excluded" – referring to a secularized West – "were not able to establish a real dialogue with other cultures in which the religious dimension is strongly present."

In another section of his speech, the Pope made another apparent reference to homosexual marriage, stating that the Church had to say "'no' to weak and deviant forms of love,� reports Reuters.

Gayleft, an Italian gay rights group, told Reuters that the Pope had "offended the dignity of millions of Italian men and women" and that too few leftist politicians had stood up to defend their rights after the Pope made his address.

According to news outlet Ansa Italy, some Italian politicians and lobby groups clearly thought that with these comments he had crossed over the line .

"The Catholic Church must stop offending homosexuals. It is unacceptable that in a secular society the love between two people of the same sex be branded as 'weak' or 'deviant'," said Sergio Rovasio of the Rose in the Fist political party, to Ansa Italy.

Since his election in April 2005, Benedict has firmly backed the Roman Catholic Church's strong opposition to moves to legalize gay marriage or to legally recognize unwed heterosexual couples. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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