Vatican reasserts support for decriminalising homosexuality

 The Vatican confirmed on Thursday that Catholic Church does not oppose efforts to decriminalize homosexuality, although it has raised objections to a UN declaration on gay rights.

The Vatican's chief press office Father Federico Lombardi said on Thursday that the Vatican was "totally opposed" to any penal code that criminalised homosexuals.

Fr Lombardi said: "It is a position that respects the rights of the human person, in his dignity." Speaking during the Lombardi said during the presentation of the papal message for the World Day of Peace, Fr Lombardi also stated the Church's opposition to "any unjust discrimination on the basis of homosexuality."

His comments came in response to a wave of protests by gay rights campaigners over the Holy See's opposition to a UN proposal condemning "discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The non-binding resolution, backed by the European Union, calls on governments worldwide to decriminalize homosexuality. France, which put forth the initiative on Human Rights Day, is expected to submit a draft of the proposal at the UN General Assembly next week.

Controversy erupted over the issue after Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's envoy to the United Nations, told a French Catholic newspaper that the Vatican opposed the proposal, saying it would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could "create new and implacable discriminations."

States which do not allow homosexuals to marry will be "pilloried" to recognize same-sex marriage and "made an object of pressure," Migliore said.

Under the proposed declaration, nations that "do not put every sexual orientation on exactly the same level can be considered contrary to the
respect of human rights," Lombardi had earlier explained.

The Vatican position prompted demonstrations by gay rights activists, including a protest inside the Vatican last weekend. The protesters hung nooses around their necks as they accused the Church of being an "accomplice in the martyrdom" of homosexuals.

Faith leaders belonging to a US coalition of gay rights groups issued a statement last Wednesday, saying: "By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable.

"Most Catholics, and indeed most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live with basic human dignity without the threat of violence."

The statement also called on the United States to back the proposed initiative, stating that "in more than 70 countries people can be imprisoned for homosexuality and in several countries same gender love is a crime punishable by death."

Father Lombardi explained on Thursday that while the Holy See opposes "legislation that penalizes homosexuality," the Church still disagrees with any
initiatives that are aimed at "putting all forms of sexual orientation on the same level."

"The Church sustains that marriage is between one man and one woman and it does not accept that unions of persons of the same sex are placed at the same level, " he concluded.

Source: VIS/BBC

Share this story