The Clarification on Civil Unions and “Anti-Homosexual” Laws

February 7, 2013 – CONTACT: Stephen Phelan 540-622-5270 –

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia – Following is a statement from Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, on the clarification by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia with regard to how some of his recent comments as reported by Catholic News Service were misinterpreted.

“We are grateful to Archbishop Paglia for his clarification on Vatican Radio with regard to impromptu statements given on February 4 regarding certain rights for nonmarried persons and laws against homosexuality. As His Excellency made clear, his comments were not intended to be interpreted as in any way representing a change by the Church on the question of basic human rights or the nature of marriage. His Excellecy simply affirmed the Church’s long held defense of basic human dignity (which is a gift from God the Father as every person is made in His image), a restatement of the unchangeable nature of marriage, and her desire that no one suffer unjust discrimination.

“The Catholic Church has no established position on inheritance law, and has never opposed the claims of individuals to pass on their property to whomever they choose, or to allow visitors of their choice when in the hospital. But the Church has never called for the legal recognition of ‘civil unions’ between persons of the same sex, and further, as Archbishop Paglia made clear, such relationships, by their very nature, cannot be called ‘marriage.’ (cf. ‘Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons,’ Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith). The Church has never sanctioned the legal recognition of ‘civil unions’ between any unmarried persons due to, among other reasons, the confusion that such legal recognition would spread about the true nature of marriage, which is rightfully elevated and defended in almost every nation. It makes perfect sense to protect marriage in law, just as it makes little sense to provide legal recognition to dissolvable, affection-based relationships between individuals.

“With regard to ‘laws against homosexuality’ in certain nations, we are not aware of any law against sexual orientation per se. Some nations have retained laws against homosexual acts and the Church has never opposed these laws nor sought their reversal. The Church has clearly and repeatedly expressed her opposition to unjust discrimination against those with same-sex attraction, including in law, and does not support capital punishment as a legal remedy for homosexual acts. She has also made clear that being attracted to those of the same sex is not in itself sinful, but is rather a disordered desire that, that is to be responded to with the virtue of chastity. But she respects the right of any nation to elevate natural marriage as the most basic institution of any healthy society, which is thus worthy of legal recognition and protection.”

About HLI: Human Life International: For the Glory of God and defense of Life, Faith and Family. Founded in 1981, HLI is the world’s largest international grassroots pro-life and pro-family organization, with affiliates and associates in over 80 countries on six continents.


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