Head of Italy's bishops speaks against same-sex unions

January 26, 2007

Cardinal Camillo Ruini
ROME — Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of Italian bishops, recently criticized a proposal allowing same-sex couples rights that are similar to the ones married couples receive. “It must be said that [gay unions] are at odds with basic anthropo-logical facts, in particular with the nonexistence of the blessing of generating children, which is the specific reason for the social recognition of marriage,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Some, like Daniele Capezzone from Italy’s the Radical Party, believe Ruini is becoming too involved in Italian politics. Capezzone told the AP Ruini was speaking “like a premier or the head of a political party setting his agenda to the government and Parliament.”

However, others agreed with Ruini’s controversial speech. “Even in lay politics, we have a responsibility to defend the family,” Maurizio Gasparri, a lawmaker, said to the Apcom agency. “We must follow Ruini's warning not to break up the family, and to protect the natural one based on marriage.”

According to the AP, the proposal would allow all couples who aren’t married to have rights to inheritance, to receive couples’ medical insurance, to be able to visit their partner in prisons and hospitals, and to be able to make choices for partners who are sick.

Ruini’s speech comes at a timely moment as Premier Romano Prodi's government will be introducing the legislation by the end of January, according to the AP.

There has been much controversy over the issue of same-sex marriage in Italy recently. On January 13, 150 gay rights activists from the Italian group Arcigay protested in Vatican City. One of their goals was to get same-sex marriage legalized in Italy. The Pope has vowed to stop any planned legislation that would allow civil unions.

"Projects aimed at granting improper legal recognition to forms of unions other [than traditional marriage] appear dangerous and counterproductive as they inevitably weaken and destabilize the legitimate family based on matrimony," the pontiff said in January, according to 365Gay. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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