RIGA -- Cardinal Janis Pujats delivered an outspoken attack on homosexuality on Dec. 10, in what amounted to a call for gays to be banned from holding political office in Latvia.
The cardinal issued a statement Monday night calling on thecandidates for the post of prime minister to state if they are "ready to defend theLatvian nation against the invasion of homosexuality in public life."
"Are theyready to block the way in parliament to any bill that propagatesimmorality?" he asked.
In his statement, Pujats notes that an individualwho is not a "stern advocate of the people's moral values, must neitherrun nor be nominated for prime minister," effectively calling for homosexuals to be banned from holding high office because of their sexual persuasion.
Barring individuals from office or employment on the grounds of their sexuality is illegal under EU employment law.
"As a cardinal, I say thisin the name of Latvia's half-million Catholic believers. They are citizens of theircountry and have rights to express their opinions on all issues of nationalimportance. People are entitled to receive a public answer," the leader ofLatvia's Catholics said in his statement.
During public debates on Monday, all three candidates forLatvia's new prime minister -- Valdis Dombrovskis from the New Eraparty, Edgars Zalans from the People's Party and Ivars Godmanisfrom Latvia's First Party and Latvia's Way (LPP/LC) voiced tolerantattitudes to people with different sexual orientations.