Laws must regulate sexual behaviors — bishop

April 4, 2011

States have the right and duty to regulate people's behaviour, including some sexual behaviours, a Vatican official told the UN Human Rights Council.

"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.

But states can and must regulate behaviours, including various sexual behaviours," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to UN agencies in Geneva.

Tomasi said there is consensus among societies that "certain kinds of sexual behaviours must be forbidden by law.

Pedophilia and incest are two examples."

The Church condemns "all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts or sexual behaviours," he said.

However, there is "some unnecessary confusion" as to what is protected when talking about sexual orientation, he said.

Sexual orientation "refers to feelings and thoughts, not behaviour."