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Pope’s Anti-Gay Speech Greeted by Cheers in Madrid

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday December 31, 2007

A Spanish crowd estimated to exceed 10,000 people heard Pope Benedict XVI's address, presented on a giant TV screen, in which the pontiff delivered an anti-gay family message.

Benedict, speaking from the Vatican City's St. Peter's Square, was greeted by cheers from a crowd of opponents to marriage equality in Madrid, reported the Irish newspaper The Belfast Telegraph ( today.

The Belfast Telegraph article said that the crowd "roared" as the Pope delivered an address in which the pontiff said that families are "based on the unbreakable union of man and woman and represents the privileged environment where human life is welcomed and protected from the beginning to its natural end."

Benedict added, in Spanish, "It is worthwhile to work for the family and marriage because it is worthwhile to work for the human being, the most precious being created by God," reported the Telegraph.

In the past, Benedict has condemned the passage of a law in Spain extending full marriage equality to Spanish gays and lesbians, a measure that passed the Spanish Parliament 187-147 in June of 2005.

The law achieved the effect of full marriage parity simply be adding one sentence to the law as it already existed, the New York Times reported in June of 2005.

The single sentence that was added read, "Marriage will have the same requirements and results when the two people entering into the contract are of the same sex or of different sexes."

Benedict has made several such speeches concerning marriage equality and suggesting that only mixed-gender families are genuine family units.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that Riocardo Blazquez, who serves as the president of the Spanish Bishops' Conference, echoed Benedict's sentiments saying that the heterosexual model of the family "is rooted in nature itself," reported the Telegraph.

Said Blazquez, "Its validity is a thing of yesterday, today and tomorrow."

As a boy, Benedict, who is the first German elected to the papacy since the 16th century, served in the Hitler Youth. It is estimated that 100,000 gay men were arrested in Germany on the basis of their sexuality between 1933-1945, with half that number being sentenced to jail time.

The same concentration camps where 6 million Jews were systematically killed were also the sites at which an estimated 5,000-15,000 gays died.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.