Vatican pledges to fight gay marriages
The Vatican, reacting to strong gains for gay marriage in the US and Europe, on Saturday pledged never to stop fighting attempts to "erase" the privileged role of heterosexual marriage, which it extolled as "an achievement of civilisation".
For the second consecutive day, Vatican media weighed in with forceful editorials restating the Catholic Church's unequivocal opposition to gay marriage.
"It is clear that, in Western countries, there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union," Fr Federico Lombardi, said in a tough editorial on Vatican Radio.
Voters in the US states of Maryland, Maine and Washington approved same-sex marriage on Tuesday. It was the first time marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.
Same-sex unions have been legalised in six states and the District of Columbia.
Lombardi's editorial on Vatican Radio, which is broadcast around the world in about 30 languages, called the votes myopic, saying "the logic of it cannot have a far-sighted outlook for the common good".
Lombardi, who is the Vatican's chief spokesman as well as being director of Vatican Radio and Vatican Television, said there was "public acknowledgement" that "monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilisation".
"If not, why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry?" he said.
Polyandry is when a woman has more than one husband.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin but homosexual acts are. It says the rights of homosexuals should be guaranteed but that their unions should not be recognised as equal to those of heterosexuals, and they should not be allowed to adopt children.
The constitutionality of restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman is widely expected to be taken up by the US Supreme Court soon.
The powerful US Catholic Bishops' Conference, which is already at odds with the administration of President Barack Obama because the administration's health care law obliges most employers to include contraception benefits, is expected to take a lead in trying to influence the court's decision.
Earlier this week, Spain's highest court upheld a gay marriage law, and in France the socialist government has unveiled a draft law that would allow it.
An editorial in Friday's edition of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said Catholic churches in many countries around the world were "the sentinels of religious freedom" for opposing gay marriage.
It called support for gay marriage "an ideology founded on political correctness which is invading every culture".
"The Church is the only institution to say that, while persecuting homosexuals is undoubtedly unjust, opposing marriage between people of the same sex is a point of view that must be respected."