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In some countries, the Catholic Church has joined forces at the local level with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalisation of gay marriage, in some cases presenting arguments based on legal, social and anthropological analyses rather than religious teachings.
Significantly, the pope specifically praised as “profoundly moving” a study by France’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, which has become the subject of heated debate in that country.
Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society”.
His study, “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say”, argues that plans to legalise gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.
In his own speech on Friday, the pope, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, repeated some of the concepts in the Bernheim study, including an assertion that children raised by gay couples would be more “objects” than individuals.
Last month, voters in the U.S. states of Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, marking 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 by lawmakers or courts.
Also in November, Spain’s highest court upheld a gay marriage law, and in France the socialist government has unveiled a draft law that would allow gay marriage. . (Additional reporting by Tom Heneghen; Editing by Alison Williams)