Has the Vatican forgotten that “humanity” includes LGBT people? On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI denounced the growing world-wide support for LGBT rights, calling same-sex marriage a threat to “humanity itself.”
The rhetoric was part of the pope’s annual New Year’s speech to Vatican diplomats representing 180 countries. Some have called the pontiff’s remarks his most homophobic to date.
“Family … [is] based on the marriage of a man and a woman,” he told the crowd, reports Reuters. “This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.”
The Vatican address follows an unfortunate trend of Catholic intolerance for LGBT equality. Chicago Cardinal Francis George recently compared gay pride celebrants to the Ku Klux Klan. Last year in New York, Archbishop Timothy Dolan protested the state’s same-sex marriage bill with fear-mongering of anti-Catholic persecution. Dolan also said that same-sex marriage opens the door to legalizing polygamy.
Numerous studies have countered the argument that same-sex families are inferior or harmful to children. Research about lesbian families shows that kids raised by two mothers frequently outperform their peers in psychological, behavioral and academic tests. Some findings even indicate that lesbian families are free of child abuse.
Recent statistics out of New York suggest that legalizing same-sex unions would also boost the nation’s declining marriage numbers, rather than disrupt or invalidate heterosexual marriages as many conservative critics claim.
Around the globe, LGBT people of faith reacted to the Pope’s speech with disappointment. Victor De Sousa, originally from Portugal, told the Sydney Morning Herald that he doesn’t agree with Pope Benedict. “It just hurts me as a gay man, especially coming from a Catholic background and truly believing in God,” he said. De Sousa and partner Chris Murray hope to marry soon at a Portuguese consulate.
“I know people say it’s just a piece of paper, but it would mean the world to me to be legally married under the law like everyone else,” De Sousa told the Herald. ”To have the priests reading the vows would mean the world to me.”
Photo credit: Beyond Forgetting (Creative Commons Attribution License)