Cardinals attack Spanish Bill on same-sex marriage

Cardinal Chamberlain Eduardo Martínez Somalo has sharply criticised the Spanish government's decision to proceed with its same-sex marriage bill.

Last Thursday, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament approved the government's bill, a major step toward making Spain the third European country to legalise gay marriages.

Zenit reports that the Bill, which also will pave the way for homosexual couples to adopt children, will now go to the Senate.

In an address, during a dinner on Saturday for the Spanish delegation that attended the Mass for the inauguration of Benedict XVI's pontificate, Cardinal Martínez Somalo referred to the recently approved legislation.

"One cannot go against the natural law and a person's morality," the Spanish prelate said, addressing three government ministers attending the dinner.

It marked the second pronouncement by a high Vatican official in two days against the same-sex marriage legislation.

On Friday, the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera quoted Colombian Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, as saying: "What is being done in Spain, moreover with a restricted majority, is the destruction of the family, brick by brick."

Meanwhile in New Zealand, churches and other groups that opposed the Civil Union bill appear to have accepted defeat.

"It's a case of moving forward and doing what we can to protect the institution of marriage that we still hold very dearly," said Destiny New Zealand leader Richard Lewis. Destiny New Zealand is the political arm of the Destiny Church.

Catholic Church spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer also said there has been no special direction to hold prayers or deliver homilies on the issue, but stressed that priests would not conduct the ceremonies.

The Civil Unions Bill, allowing same-sex and heterosexual couples to gain legal standing on a par with marriage, became law yesterday. Registration takes three days so Friday is the earliest the ceremony can be held.

Cardinals Assail Spanish Bill on Same-Sex "Marriage" (Zenit 25/4/05 - temporary url)
Civil union opponents resigned to new law (Stuff.co.nz 26/4/05)

Archbishop qualifies support for same-sex benefits (CathNews 18/3/05)
Bishop has 'no difficulty' with civil recognition for gay couples (CathNews 27/10/04)
NZ Bishops lobby MPs on gay marriage threat (CathNews 5/4/04)
Pope speaks out against gay marriage (CathNews 11/6/03)

Landmark day for NZ's gay community (NZ Herald 27/4/05)
Vatican, Spain spar over gay marriage bill (Agence France-Presse/ABC 23/4/05)
Pope salvo on gay law (Herald-Sun 24/4/05)
Gay marriage not an option, says Vatican (Sydney Morning Herald/Newsday 26/4/05)
Liberalising Spain to legalise gay marriage (The Age 23/4/05)

27 Apr 2005