VATICAN CITY – In response to the increasing legalization of gay unions around the world, the Vatican launched a global campaign against gay marriages under a twelve-page set of guidelines entitled, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” on Thursday, July 31. Issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the document encourages politicians both in and out of church to stand against such “gravely immoral” unions that go “against the natural law.”
Catholic politicians have a “moral duty” to publicly oppose laws that recognize homosexual unions, the document said. “To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”
The guidelines not only encouraged the public servants to vote against such proposals, but also exhorted them to take action against laws that have already been set. If the laws are already on the books, it stated, politicians must work to repeal them.
Currently, laws in Ontario Canada, Vermont USA, Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark have “civil union” laws recognizing same-sex couples and giving them rights to traditional marriages. The most recent addition in Ontario applied all rights given to heterosexual marriages to homosexual marriages, calling it unconstitutional to limit the latter from being completely legalized.
The Vatican’s document stated, ''There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.''
The campaign came in consensus to President Bush’s comment on Wednesday, defining marriage as a union between man and woman. “I want to codify that one way or the other,” he said. Some lawmakers in the House of Representatives have also proposed a constitutional ban on gay marriages to counter state laws granting homosexuals legal recognition.
Professor Monsignor Angel Rodriguez Luno from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, stated in the document that homosexual relationships need not be legally recognized because such associations are private; Basic friendship, for example, isn't defined legally because it is a private relationship, he said.
The document also noted that there was a danger that laws legalizing same-sex unions could actually encourage someone with a homosexual orientation to seek out a partner to ''exploit the provisions of the law.''
In other areas, the guideline stood strongly against allowing gay couples to adopt, on the grounds that children raised by same-sex parents face developmental ''obstacles'' because they are deprived of having either a mother or a father.
"Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development," it said.
Gay adoptions contradict the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which holds that the best interests of the child are to be paramount, it said.
On Thursday, a small group of demonstrators from Italy's Radical Party held up banners at the edge of St. Peter's Square to protest the document. The banners read ''No Vatican, No Taliban,'' and ''Democracy Yes, Theocracy No.''
Other opposition to the document came from the Green Party in predominantly Catholic Austria. Ulrike Lunacek, a party spokeswoman, said Catholic politicians should follow human rights conventions, ''not the old-fashioned views of the Vatican.''