Gay Marriage is Endangering Animal Species?

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca on January 14, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has really lost it this time. According to a report from Reuters, the Pope attacked gay marriage at his recent annual address to Vatican diplomats from 170 countries. In talking about the environment, the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics referred to gay nupitals as a threat to “creation,” much the same as endangering animal species.

“Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience,” he said. “One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes.”

“I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America,” he added.

Benedict was apparently referring to a recent gay marriage law passed in Mexico City and another one in Portugal that was approved just days before his speech, as well as those already existing in Europe and parts of the U.S.

The Pope cautioned that “freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not God, but the image of God, God’s creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator.”

It all amounts to a lot of gobbly-gook.

How is gay marriage striking at “the biological basis of the difference between the sexes?” That difference has never deterred any creature — human or otherwise — from doing things that would make the former Nazi Youth Pope extremely upset. Reproduction is not destiny. Especially if one looks at the animal kingdom.

According to scientists, about 1,500 animal species (including bears, gorillas and even owls and salmon) regularly engage in same-sex couplings and sexual activity.

“Not every sexual act has a reproductive function,” says Janet Mann, who works as a biologist at Georgetown University. “That’s true of humans and non-humans. Mann studies one of humanity’s favorite sea critters — dolphins — who engage freely and often in queer sex acts. reports that at one point, two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo in New York shared the care for a fertilized egg that a zookeeper let them have. As a couple, they raised the female hatchling that resulted. It would make a great children’s book: Penny the Penguin Has Two Daddies.

So if the Pope thinks he’s saving animal species or the environment (or who knows what?) by denouncing gay marriage, he’s wrong. Humans are merely just doing what comes naturally for creatures all over the planet.

It’s the Pope who out of touch with nature.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which has been nominated for an American Library Association award. His website is

Filed under: Archive