GENEVA, March 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican representative told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday that many who oppose homosexuality are being unjustly attacked for their views.  He also emphasized the difference between a sexual orientation and sexual behavior.

“A state should never punish a person or deprive a person of the enjoyment of any human right based just on the person’s feelings and thoughts, including sexual thoughts and feelings,” said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi.

However, he emphasized that “some unnecessary confusion” exists with reference to the protection of sexual orientation.  Orientation, he said, “refers to feelings and thoughts, not behavior.”

“States can and must regulate behaviors, including various sexual behaviors,” said the archbishop.  “Certain kinds of sexual behaviors must be forbidden by law. Pedophilia and incest are two examples.”

A “disturbing trend” has become prominent of intolerance towards those who have moral opposition to homosexual behavior, continued Tomasi.

“People are being attacked for taking positions that do not support sexual behavior between people of the same sex,” said Tomasi.  “When they express their moral beliefs or beliefs about human nature … they are stigmatised, and worse – they are vilified, and prosecuted.”

“These attacks are violations of fundamental human rights and cannot be justified under any circumstances,” the Vatican representative said.

The UN Human Rights Council is attempting, as in 2008, to introduce “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as classes protected from discrimination in international law.  The office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights claims that more than 70 countries punish homosexual activity as a crime, including imprisoning, torturing, or invoking the death penalty on active homosexuals.

While the Vatican is against unjust discrimination and violence against homosexuals, leading officials continue to state that ending violence against homosexuals should not mean granting new special rights. 

In 2008, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, said that the Holy See opposes recognizing homosexuality as a new human right out of concern that such a right would lead to forcing nations to recognize same-sex “marriage.”