If German politican Volker Kauder encounters a problem soon, he could thank Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state who castigated Ireland’s recent vote in favor of gay marriage as a “defeat for humanity.”
Rome’s scathing condemnation led entire ranks of German Catholics to distance themselves from the harsh criticism.
Mr. Kauder, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union party in Germany’s parliament, last week told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, “I reject gay marriage, i.e. the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions.”
His opinion may not be widely shared; polls show many Germans support equal rights for same-sex couples. On Monday, Chancellor Merkel received a petition signed by more than 150 stars, actors and other public figures from sport, politics and academia calling for a Bundestag vote on equal marriage rights without politicians being subject to party discipline.
“It is a question of conscience, not a party decision,” the writers of the letter argued.