The lower house of Spain's parliament recently approved a law allowing gay marriage. It still has to receive approval from the Spanish Senate, which is expected.
Now one of Pope Ratzinger I's enforcers, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Alfonso López Trujillo, is calling on municipal employees - presumably not just in Spain - to refuse to perform gay marriages. They should refuse even if it means losing their jobs, he said.
And Ratzinger has been Pope less than a week.
I suppose I should say what's obvious to most people, that this is a completely inappropriate attempt by the Church to meddle in politics. This not about direction on personal moral standards or conduct for Catholics, which is a different issue. This is a blatant attempt by an unelected church hierarchy to interfere in a democratic decision by the elected Spanish parliament.
See: El Vaticano llama a los empleados municipales a negarse a celebrar matrimonios entre homosexuales El Mundo (Spain) 22.04.05
Vatican challenges Spain over gay marriages vote AFP 04/22/05
Trujillo said that municipal officials asked to perform homosexual marriage ceremonies should object on grounds of conscience, even it if meant they might lose their job.
"I am talking of every profession linked to implementation" of the law, he told Corriere della Sera.
"They should exercise the same conscientious objection asked of doctors and nurses against a crime such as abortion.
"This is not a matter of choice: all Christians... must be prepared to pay the highest price, including the loss of a job."