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Vatican launches campaign against gay marriage, wants non-Catholic support

The Vatican urged Catholics and non-Catholics alike Thursday to unite in campaigning against gay marriages and gay adoptions, seeking to stem the widening legal recognition of same-sex unions and the increasing acceptance of homosexual lifestyles.

One Canadian bishop went so far as to predict Prime Minister Jean Chretien will go to hell if he makes same-sex marriage legal.

Catholic politicians have a “moral duty” to oppose laws granting legal rights to gay couples, and non-Catholics should follow their lead since the issue concerns “natural moral law” and not just Roman Catholic teaching, said the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its latest effort to rally public opinion on the issue.

The 12-page document, which was issued in seven languages, was immediately criticized by gay groups across North America and Europe, where politicians, including some conservatives, are increasingly granting homosexual couples the same legal status as heterosexual couples.

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