Gay Marriage Challenge to Pope

Spain presented the papacy of Benedict XVI with its first big challenge yesterday when the Vatican and the Socialist government of the Roman Catholic country traded blows in a heated row over its plan to legalise homosexual marriage. The dispute erupted after the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero drove a bill through the Cortes on Thursday that will allow homosexuals to marry and adopt children. The Vatican hit back yesterday by advising Spanish Catholic civil servants to refuse to officiate at homosexual wedding ceremonies, even if it meant risking losing their jobs

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