VATICAN CITY - The Catholic Church condemns violence and discrimination against homosexual persons, but recognizing same-sex unions as a marriage devalues the unique identity and social contributions of the union of a man and a woman, a Vatican official told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican observer at U.N. agencies in Geneva, told the council March 9 that the Vatican "condemns discrimination and violence against any human person, including those who are so targeted because of perceived sexual differences."

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TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Feb. 17 made good on his pledge to veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed by the state Legislature but at the same time said he might name an ombudsman to make sure the state's current law recognizing civil unions is respected.

The state Assembly passed the bill Feb. 16 with a 42-33 vote. The state Senate approved it 24-16 Feb. 13.

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WASHINGTON - By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the California ban on same-sex marriage, saying that it violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens due process and equal protection under the law.

The majority opinion, issued Feb. 7, said that the state, which had given homosexual couples the right to marry, could not revoke that right.

The National Organization of Marriage Education Fund, in a statement issued by its director, Brian S. Brown, accused the judges of "finding a 'right' to same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution!"

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