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Chilean archbishop criticizes Argentina's same-sex marriage law

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: A Chilean gay rights group rejects the archbishop's comments
  • Same-sex marriage is an aberration, the archbishop says
  • Argentina passed a law in mid-July allowing gay marriage nationwide
  • The first same-sex marriage since the law went into effect occurred last week

Santiago, Chile (CNN) -- The battle over same-sex marriage in Latin America has moved to Chile, where the nation's Roman Catholic archbishop said this weekend such unions are an "aberration."

The comments by Monsignor Francisco Javier Errazuriz came just days after a same-sex marriage in neighboring Argentina, where a law approving the unions nationwide went into effect in mid-July.

A Chilean senator said in June he will introduce a bill that would recognize civil unions among gay couples. Passage of the bill is far from certain.

The Catholic Church has opposed same-sex marriage, and Errazuriz spoke on the issue Saturday at the San Joaquin campus of Chile's Catholic University.

"It could be that two males or women want to live together and share their lives, but to call that a matrimony is an aberration into which some countries are falling," the archbishop said. "I lament that Argentina has fallen into that."

Hours later, the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation issued a release strongly rejecting the prelate's comments.

"Cardinal's Errazuriz's voice clearly shows the permanent and systematic homophobia of the Catholic Church's high hierarchy, which violates the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals in a bloody and brutal way, improper of the Christianity that he says he promotes," the statement said.

Errazuriz said marriage must be between a man and a woman.

"We must follow along the true path," he said.

Same-sex marriages, he said, "are a mistaken path that is not one of happiness, of a home formed by a father and a mother with many children."