Vatican criticised for opposing gay decriminalisation

Tue, Dec 2, 2008, 00:00

Gay rights groups and newspaper editorials today condemned the Vatican for its decision to oppose a proposed UN resolution calling on governments worldwide to de-criminalise homosexuality.

The row erupted after the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations told a French Catholic news agency the Holy See would oppose the resolution, which France is due to propose later this month on behalf of the 27-member European Union.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.

"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Migliore said. "For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as 'matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure," Migliore said.

A strongly worded editorial in Italy's mainstream La Stampanewspaper said the Vatican's reasoning was "grotesque".

Pointing out that homosexuality was still punishable by death in some Islamic countries, the editorial said what the Vatican really feared was a "chain reaction in favour of legally recognised homosexual unions in countries, like Italy, where there is currently no legislation".

Franco Grillini, founder and honorary president of Arcigay, Italy's leading gay rights group, said the Vatican's reasoning smacked of "total idiocy and madness".

"The French resolution, which is supported by all 27 members of the European Union, has nothing to do with gay marriage. It is about stopping jail and the death penalty for homosexuals," Mr Grillini said.

Reuters