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Pope condemns
same-sex unions in meeting with Italian officials

Pope condemns
same-sex unions in meeting with Italian officials

In a speech Thursday to Italian officials, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the abortion pill because it hides the "gravity" of taking a human life; he also said it is wrong to give legal recognition to same-sex unions. Benedict reaffirmed church teaching on both abortion and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman during an audience with officials from Rome and the surrounding Lazio region, touching on two major issues on Italy's political agenda before general elections in April. Benedict stressed that marriage between one man and one woman is the cornerstone of society and not some "casual construction" that can be replaced. "It's a serious error to obscure the value and function of the legitimate family founded on matrimony, attributing to other forms of unions improper legal recognition, for which there really is no social need," he said. Italy, where Vatican influence is strong, does not recognize unions of unmarried couples. Gay and lesbian associations have been pushing for common-law couples to have legal recognition in hopes the move might pave the way for granting legal status to gay couples. The center-left candidate for premier, Romano Prodi, has said his coalition would give legal status to unmarried couples if it wins the April 9 vote, but he has not supported legalizing same-sex marriage. The president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, has said that common-law status might be applied to offer some legal protection to unmarried straight couples, offering a rare exception to the church's condemnation of de facto unions. But he has said any such protection should stop short of envisioning "something similar to a marriage." (AP)

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