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Pope-UnmarriedCouples 05-24

Pope applauds Family Day

Pope Benedict XVI today praised a recent demonstration in Rome against proposed legislation granting legal rights to unmarried couples, including gay ones, saying it showed that traditional family was at the core of Italian society.

Benedict called the May 12 Family Day rally, organized by Catholic groups and family associations, a "great and extraordinary popular festival."

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the demonstration to protest a bill that would grant legal rights to unmarried couples, including hospital visits and inheritance rights. The bill does not legalize gay marriage, as was done in other European countries, such as Spain.

The bill has angered the Vatican, which under Benedict has been conducting a fierce campaign to protect traditional family based on marriage between man and woman.

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