Pope Francis poses with officials on the occasion of the inauguration of the judicial year of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
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Pope Francis issued a stern reminder of the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Friday as a fierce debate raged in Italy ahead of a vote that would give legal recognition to homosexual couples.Next week, the Senate is due to resume debating a bill that would legalize civil partnership for homosexuals as well as for unmarried heterosexual couples. Despite the European Court of Human Rights condemnation of Italy last year for failing to introduce a law on civil partnerships, its passage has been held up by objections from politicians of all stripes.Some fear the bill would open the way to loosening laws on surrogate motherhood, which is illegal in Italy.
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