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Storm Aborts Pope's Antigay Speech

Storm Aborts Pope's Antigay Speech


Pope Benedict XVI had to cut short a speech asserting the primacy of heterosexual marriage as a severe thunderstorm hit Madrid Saturday night, Agence France-Presse reports.

Strong winds and sheets of rain hit the air base where he was speaking, blowing off his skullcap, shaking the stage, and knocking over at least one tent.

About 1.5 million people had gathered to hear the speech, in which the pope proclaimed that marriage is solely a union between a man and a woman and cannot be dissolved. "The Lord calls many people to marriage, in which a man and a woman, in becoming one flesh, find fulfillment in a profound life of communion," he said. Vatican officials said the full text of Benedict's speech would be released in writing.

Gays and lesbians in Spain, where same-sex marriage is legal, have been angered by the pope's visit. Police foiled protesters' plans to stage a gay couples' kiss-in Thursday, although at least one couple managed a kiss in front as the pope's vehicle went by.

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