ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, in his first clear pronouncement on gay marriages since his election, on Monday condemned same-sex unions as fake and expressions of "anarchic freedom" that threatened the future of the family.
The Pope, who was elected in April, also condemned divorce, artificial birth control, trial marriages and free-style unions, saying all of these practices were dangerous for the family.
"Today's various forms of dissolution of marriage, free unions, trial marriages as well as the pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex are instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of man," he said.
The Pope spoke to families at Rome's St. John's Cathedral on an issue that has become highly controversial around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States.
In April, parliament in traditionally Catholic Spain gave initial approval to a law legalizing gay marriage. It is widely expected to be approved by the Senate and to become law.
But just last week, California's Assembly killed off a bill that would have allowed gay marriage in the most populous U.S. state.
The Pope, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican's doctrinal department for more than two decades, said "pseudo freedoms" such as gay marriages were based on what he called the "banalisation of the human body" and of man himself.