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Labour TD calls Pope's gay marriage comments "deeply insulting"

John Lyons claims this is second time in a week that Vatican has “targeted the international LGBT community”.

Labour TD John Lyons.
Labour TD John Lyons.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE ASSISTANT WHIP in the Labour Party, John Lyons, has criticised Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on gay marriage.

Lyons said that yesterday’s comments were “deeply insulting and out of touch”.

During his end-of-year speech yesterday, the Pope said that his and the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage was a “fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question”. He cited France’s chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim, who is also opposed to marriage between people of the same sex. The Pope said:

Bernhein has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper.

Lyons, TD for Dublin North West and one of three openly gay members of Dáil Éireann, said today that:

Yesterday’s comments by Pope Benedict XVI in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy described people pursuing gay marriage as destroying the very essence of the human creature in order to suit their sexual choices.

He said that this was the second time in under a week that “the Vatican has targeted the international LGBT community”. The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano carried a front-page editorial saying that gay couples were living in a “different reality” from heterosexual couples and that gay marriage would be an ultimately “unattainable utopia” along the lines of Communist economic theory.

These comments are “insulting and demoralising”, said Lyons today, “not only because I am a member of the LGBT community, but as a public representative, who is a member of a party that is deeply committed to delivering on human rights at home and abroad”.

He also referred to a recent blessing given by the Pope to Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker at the Ugandan parliament who is advocating passing of an Anti-Homosexual Bill which will see the introduction of mandatory reporting of LGBT people. Lyons said:

It is my belief that these comments and actions by the Vatican completely defy what is at the heart of my understanding of Christianity and civil society. They contravene in my opinion the fundamental message of what thousands of Christians will celebrate on 25 December; the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas isn’t about who was present at the birth of Christ, or whether there were animals there or not. The message is essentially a message for all believers and none. It is the message about the very essence of humanity; the creator within the created, the unmanifested within the manifested. In simple terms, the birth of Christ reminds us that at each and everyone’s most inner core is Love, and unconditional love of oneself and of each other. And what is marriage?

It is quintessentially the expression of that love between two people regardless of sexuality.

No church or state should ever be able to decide who can or cannot love each other.

Last weekend, gay rights campaigners held a small protest near St Peter’s Square after the Pope said that gay marriage threatened the whole institution of marriage.

Read: Pope says mankind at stake over gay marriage>
Vatican newspaper slams gay marriage as communist ‘utopia’>

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