The International Bar Association (IBA) and its human rights arm have expressed “disappointment and concern” at a decision, announced by the Vatican last week, not to allow the blessing of same-sex unions.
The IBA and IBAHRI have called for a reconsideration and a reopening of dialogue to eliminate discrimination.
“Although the Holy See’s recently published responsum concerning same-sex unions is measured and does not advocate discrimination against homosexual individuals, it poses the threat of legitimising continued discrimination, with sometimes fatal outcomes,” said IBA President Sternford Moyo.
He said criminal laws against homsexuality remained in place across approximately 70 countries, negatively impacting civic perceptions of justice and human rights.
'Against message of inclusivity'
“Refusing to bless same-sex unions goes against the message of inclusivity and tolerance towards homosexual individuals,” Mr Moyo added.
On 22 February, Pope Francis gave an audience to the Holy See’s Secretary of Congregation to discuss whether Catholic clergy had the authority to bless unions between persons of the same sex engaging in sexual intercourse.
On 15 March, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) – the Vatican office responsible for preserving the doctrine of the Catholic Church – issued a formal response, which was approved by Pope Francis.
“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” it said, though the body stressed that its declaration was not, and was not intended to be, a form of unjust discrimination.