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Pope speaks out against gay marriage

VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul yesterday repeated the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to homosexual marriage, for the first time since Massachusetts became the first US state to allow same-sex weddings.

"Family life is sanctified in the joining of man and woman in the sacramental institution of holy matrimony," he said in an address to visiting US bishops.

"The Church teaches that the love of man and woman made holy in the sacrament of marriage is a mirror of God's everlasting love for his creation."

The remarks are thought to be the pope's first public comments on marriage since Massachusetts last week joined Belgium, the Netherlands, and three Canadian provinces in legalizing same-sex marriage.

President Bush, who will meet the pope in Rome on June 4, favors a constitutional amendment banning such unions.

The 84-year-old pope told the bishops that it was "fundamental that Christian marriage be comprehended in the fullest sense and be presented both as a natural institution and a sacramental reality."

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