Dutch foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans has slammed the Pope for attacking gays in his annual Christmas message.
The head of the Catholic Church is calling on faith groups to unite against same-sex marriage, saying the legislation which is being passed around the world is a threat to the survival of the human race.
However, Netherlands foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans has blasted Pope Benedict XVI over his continuing homophobia.
'If every person is unique, as the Pope’s representative said in Dublin last week, then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation?’ Timmermans told RTL.
'Why can Romeo marry Juliet but not Julius?
‘Marriage between two people of the same sex is having respect for the uniqueness of the individual.’
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001.
Gay rights group COC is urging Timmermans to campaign to have the Vatican lose its special position within the United Nations.
A Dutch Facebook group called 'No flowers for the pope' has also been set up calling on the Netherlands to stop its tradition of sending flowers to the Holy See at Easter.
In his festive speech, the pope said the ‘traditional family’ must be protected, and stressed all faiths, even non-Christian religions, must come together to stop marriage equality.
He added that gay and trans people were destroying humanity itself, saying they are ‘manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choice’ and destroying the ‘very essence of the human creature’ in the process.