Pope Benedict has announced that the Vatican will oppose any moves by the new more liberal Italian government to legalise same-sex unions.

The Pope made the statement at a Catholic conference on marriage at the Vatican on Thursday. At the event, he again condemned same-sex marriage, reiterating the Church’s view that marriage is only possible between a man and a woman.

He was quoted as saying that, “Only the rock of total and irrevocable love between a man and a woman is capable of being the foundation of building a society that becomes a home for all mankind”.

Meanwhile, in Australia, one of the country’s leading states, the Australian Capital Territory which includes the national capital Canberra, has adopted legislation to allow for civil unions between same-sex couples.

The conservative National government has consistently opposed legalising same-sex partnerships and threatened to block the bill. Gay rights activists have praised the law as an important step towards equal marriage rights.

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