Dutch foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans has criticised the pope for his recent statements on homosexuality, RTL news reported on Saturday.
‘If every person is unique, as the pope’s representative said in Dublin last week, then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation?’ Timmermans is quoted as saying.
‘Why can Romeo marry Juliet but not Julius?’ the minister told RTL. ‘Marriage between two people of the same sex is having respect for the uniqueness of the individual.’
The pope used his traditional Christmas speech this year to denounce gay marriage which he said is destroying the very ‘essence of the human creature’.
The Netherlands legalised same sex marriages in April 2001, the first country in the world to do so.
The COC gay rights lobby group has called on Timmermans to summon the pope’s representative in the Netherlands and to campaign to have the Vatican lose its special position within the United Nations.
‘Wars are raging and people are dying of hunger, and the Vatican chooses to condemn people who love each other,’ RTL news quoted a spokesman as saying. ‘And when it comes to Uganda, where the most terrible anti-gay legislation is being introduced in the name of religion, the Vatican says not a word.’
In the meantime, a new Facebook page ‘No flowers for the pope’ – a reference to the fact the Netherlands sends flowers to the pope every Easter – had gathered 7,000 likes by late Saturday afternoon.