Vatican breaks with Italian law after refusing to sign UN sexuality declaration

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A new statute coming into effect on January 1st will allow the Vatican to bypass Italian law.

This comes in the wake of a row at the UN, where the Vatican refused to sign up to a universal declaration of human rights regardless of gender or sexuality.

Under current laws, the Holy See must accept Italian laws automatically apart from in the case of “radical incompatibility” with canon law.

The new statute signed by Pope Benedict XVI will put an end to this system.

From the start of the new year, all Italian laws will be subject to scrutiny by Vatican authorities before being implemented in the city-state itself.

President of the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Vatican Law Jose Maria Serrano Ruiz said that the decision to change the legal system was due to the “instability” and “exorbitant” number of Italian laws.

He also said that the frequent contrast between Italian law and the “irreversible principles of the Church” was a motivation behind the new statute.

Elio Vito, Italian Parliament Relations Minister, agreed in part with Ruiz, saying on Wednesday: ”There’s no doubt that there are too many laws, they are often written badly and they are sometimes not very understandable.”

Simplification Minister Roberto Calderoli, however, is currently planning to cut over 36,000 laws from the Italian system, making them much clearer than before.

There is currently an ad hoc committee working to simplify and streamline language in the Italian laws.

Mr Vito added that the committee in the Chamber of Deputies is working at eliminating : ”those mysterious references and paragraphs and articles with which everyone has come unstuck at least once.”

Meanwhile, the government is planning to publish the newer, simpler laws online to improve public access to them.

In early December the Roman Catholic Church caused uproar at the UN when it strongly opposed a declaration ensuring anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people.

Fr Federico Lombardi attacked the formal declaration to be read out at the UN next week calling on international human rights mechanisms to promote and protect human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

54 nations support the declaration, among them all 27 EU member states, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Vatican’s observer at the UN claimed last week that the declaration will somehow be used to force countries to recognise same-sex marriage.

“If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations,” said Monsignor Celestino Migliore.

“For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

The declaration makes no mention of gay marriage or civil partnerships.