BY NICOLE WINFIELD, ASSOCIATED PRESS
VATICAN CITY -- The pope pressed his opposition to gay marriage Friday, denouncing what he described as people eschewing their God-given gender identities to suit their sexual choices - and destroying the very "essence of the human creature" in the process.
Benedict XVI made the comments in his annual Christmas address to the Vatican bureaucracy, one of his most important speeches of the year. He dedicated it this year to promoting traditional family values in the face of gains by same-sex marriage proponents in the U.S. and Europe and efforts to legalize gay marriage in places like France and Britain.
In his remarks, Benedict quoted the chief rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, in saying the campaign for granting gays the right to marry and adopt children was an "attack" on the traditional family made up of a father, mother and children.