(CNSNews.com) - The Vatican's condemnation of homosexual marriage and its warning to Catholic politicians who might have to decide whether to legalize same sex unions, triggered a loud response Thursday from a group representing homosexual, bisexual and transgender Catholics.
"I am offended by the Vatican's apparent belief that it has the right to impose its own moral view on the democratic process of countries around the world," Marianne Duddy, executive director of DignityUSA, told CNSNews.com. "Instructing legislators that they have a duty to adhere to Catholic faith ignores their duty as legislators to serve their entire constituency."
Earlier Thursday, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith released a 12-page document reiterating its stance on homosexual marriage and directed in part to Catholic politicians.
The Vatican document stated: "When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."
The document also emphasized that there are "absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." It goes on to say: "Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law."
"The Vatican has poured out increasingly harsh rhetoric against equal civil protections for committed gay and lesbian couples and our families in recent years," Duddy said. "This new document is intended to intimidate public officials across the globe into doing what the Vatican has not been able to do on its own - stem the growing tide for justice. It is a tremendous shame that the leaders of our Church are becoming the vocal proponents for intolerance and continuing discrimination."
The Vatican also weighed in on the issue of adoption by same-sex couples, stating that such actions create "obstacles" in the "normal" development of children.
"They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood," the document stated. "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case."
But the Vatican's rebuke prompted one political activist to respond by including the Catholic Church's priest sex abuse scandals in the discussion.
"The Catholic Church needs to get its own house in order before it starts admonishing Congress or elected officials on what proper behavior is," Mark Mead, Log Cabin Republicans director of public affairs, told CNSNews.com.
Duddy agreed, calling the Vatican's position on homosexual marriage "absolutely appalling" given the recent clergy sex scandals.
"The Vatican made clear that its priorities were the reputation of the Church, its priests and maintaining its finances," Duddy said. "Children were not the greatest concern there. The Vatican has no credibility on this issue whatsoever."
Scott McClellan, White House press secretary, said Thursday the president would consider legislation banning same-sex marriages, including an amendment to the Constitution. He emphasized that President Bush also opposed the less powerful same-sex civil unions as an alternative.
According to the website, yourcongress.com, 24 members of the U.S. Senate and 120 members of the U.S. House are Catholic. The Human Rights Campaign, which claims to be the largest homosexual activist group in the United States, recently issued a scorecard on how all members of Congress voted on issues important to homosexuals.
Bush is "strongly committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage and defending a sacred institution that he believes is between a man and a woman," McClellan said Thursday, adding that the administration is also monitoring court cases applying to homosexual marriage.
The most prominent court case involves the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which could decide any day now whether to reverse an earlier decision that denied seven homosexual couples marriage licenses.
While endorsing the traditional view of marriage, President Bush also sought Wednesday not to offend homosexuals.
"I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country," Bush said during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden.
"On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage," the president said. "And that's really where the issue is heading here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that, one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that."
Bush added that, "we are all sinners" and cautioned "those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor's eye when they got a log in their own."
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