Italy's top Bishop compares gay rights to incest, pedophilia

Anthony Cuesta | April 05, 2007

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco
ROME — The top Italian bishop has outraged the gay community after likening a bill granting rights to same-sex couples to allowing incest and pedophilia.

The long-awaited note, issued on Wednesday by the Italian Bishops Conference, was significant because it specifically targeted politicians as they consider a law to give homosexual and heterosexual unmarried couples more rights.

According to Reuters, the note said Catholic politicians had "the moral duty to clearly and publicly voice their disagreement and vote against any proposed law that would recognize homosexual couples."

While some Catholic and centrist politicians welcomed the directive as food for thought, other lawmakers and civil rights groups condemned it as outright interference. "This continuous, daily interference by the church in parliament's activity is intolerable," said leftist senator Luisa Boccia, reports Reuters. "What's next, excommunication?"

Italians and their government are deeply split over gay rights.

Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Italy's environment minister and a vocal supporter of gay rights, told the Advertiser that Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco had made a �grave, foolish comparison which offends millions of people�.

The directive is a challenge for some members of Prime Minister Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition as many centrists, including Prodi himself, are devout Catholics.

The Advertiser reports that Prodi says the Bill, which falls short of recognizing Spanish-style 'gay marriage', does not threaten traditional marriage. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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