Vatican waging new offensive against same-sex marriage
By Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press, 7/28/2003 10:11
VATICAN CITY (AP) Alarmed by growing legal acceptance of gay marriages, the Vatican is issuing new instructions to bishops and Catholic politicians in an effort to halt the trend.
The instructions, which call on politicians to oppose extending rights granted to traditional couples, are in a document prepared by the Church's guardian of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The document ''Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons'' will be released Thursday, the Vatican said.
Pope John Paul II and top Vatican officials have been speaking out for months against legislative proposals to legalize same-sex marriages in Europe, North America and elsewhere.
In January, the pope approved guidelines for Catholic politicians that said church opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage was not up for negotiation.
It said laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman must be promoted and that ''in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.''
But legal acceptance is growing.
Two Canadian provinces Ontario and British Columbia have legalized homosexual marriage under recent court rulings, a move that has attracted gays from across the border in the United States.
Earlier this month, a top German cardinal condemned Germany's same-sex marriage law after it was upheld by the country's supreme court, calling it a blow to the family.
''Now the associations of homosexuals have a potent arm to obtain further concessions on the road toward full equality with married couples, including the right to adoption,'' Cardinal Karl Lehman complained in a Vatican Radio interview.
The Vatican is particularly worried about the waning influence of the church in Europe. Drafters of a proposed constitution for the European Union ignored Vatican requests to include explicit mention of Europe's Christian roots.
On Sunday, the pope lamented that the church's message was being watered down in Europe.
Vatican officials said the document 12 pages long and available in seven languages is devoted entirely to the issue of same-sex marriages.