GENEVA -- States have the right and duty to regulate people's behavior, including some sexual behaviors, a Vatican official told the U.N. 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 behaviors, including various sexual behaviors," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva.
The archbishop addressed the Human Rights Council March 22, telling it that there is consensus among societies that "certain kinds of sexual behaviors must be forbidden by law. Pedophilia and incest are two examples."
The Vatican affirms "the inherent dignity and worth of all human beings" and condemns "all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts or sexual behaviors," 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 behavior," he said.