Holy See not in favor of death penalty for gays, Vatican spokesman clarifies

Holy See not in favor of death penalty for gays, Vatican spokesman clarifies

Fr. Federico Lombardi
Fr. Federico Lombardi


A proposed EU declaration which would condemn “discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” has been criticized by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who heads the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi agreed, saying it could lead to discrimination against Christians.

The draft declaration was drawn up by France, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency. All countries of the EU have signed the document, the Times Online reports.

The declaration is planned to be submitted at the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, the sixtieth anniversary of the U.N. declaration of human rights.

The declaration calls upon governments to “de-criminalize homosexuality,” in an apparent reference to anti-sodomy laws.

Explaining that the Catechism of the Catholic Church forbids “unjust discrimination,” Archbishop Migliore argued that outlawing discrimination through a United Nations declaration would pressure states which do not recognize same-sex marriage to change their laws.

The bill, in his view, would “add new categories of those protected from discrimination” and could lead to reverse discrimination against those who believe in traditional marriage.

"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Migliore said. "For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as 'matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

Sodomy is punishable by law in more than 85 countries and is a capital offense in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Homosexual rights advocates in Italy harshly criticized the archbishop’s remarks, labeling them “grotesque” and “anachronistic.”

The Director of Vatican Radio, Father Frederico Lombardi, defended the archbishop’s remarks, saying “no one wants the death penalty or jail or fines for homosexuals.”

"It's not for nothing that fewer than 50 member states of the United Nations have adhered to the proposal in question while more than 150 have not adhered. The Holy See is not alone," he said, according to Vatican Radio.

According to Vatican Radio, Father Lombardi also reiterated concerns that the proposed declaration would be used against those who maintain the true definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.