In a Friday Vatican address to visiting American bishops, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the growing push for marriage equality in the United States, AFP reports.
“Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage," said Pope Benedict, who warned of "the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage.”
The pope’s comments come one week after Maryland became the eighth state to approve marriage rights for same-sex couples, though the bill signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley does not go into effect until January and likely faces a voter referendum this fall.
In meeting with the group of bishops from three Midwestern states, the pope echoed American election-year rhetoric against the Obama administration, decrying "threats to freedom of conscience, religion, and worship which need to be addressed urgently so that all men and women of faith, and the institutions they inspire, can act in accordance with their deepest moral convictions."
Read the AFP report here.