[JURIST] Pope Benedict on Thursday explicitly condemned same-sex marriage [speech, in Italian] or any legal recognition of same-sex couples as Italy's new center-left government [JURIST report] prepared to take office as early as next Wednesday. His statement echoed a speech he gave last year [JURIST report] in which he described such departures from traditional families as "anarchical freedom." The Pope's statements drew immediate criticism from liberal lawmakers who say he is attempting to influence Italy's secular political process. The new Italian administration of Prime Minister-elect Romano Prodi [campaign website] is not currently working on any legislation that would extend marriage rights to same sex couples, but is expected to address the issue in the future.
The Vatican has previously weighed in on other social issues taken up by the Italian government. Last year the Pope urged Catholic voters [JURIST report] to boycott a referendum [JURIST report] that would have liberalized Italy's fertility and stem cell laws. That referendum lost by a substantial margin [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.