Pope Benedict XVI on Friday announced that New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan will become a cardinal, The New York Times reported.

“I am honored, humbled and grateful,” Dolan said. “It's as if Pope Benedict is putting the red hat on top of the Empire State Building or the Statute of Liberty or on home plate at Yankee Stadium.”

Dolan will be elevated to cardinal at a ceremony in Rome on February 18.

The 61-year-old Dolan, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has led Catholic opposition to gay marriage laws in the United States.

In November, the USCCB launched the website MarriageUniqueForAReason.org, which is described by the group as part of an effort to “promote and defend marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

A video posted at the website features a good-looking child-less heterosexual couple talking about how their bodies complement each other.

“Every time we make love it's like we're making life, we're giving life to one another. It's not just sex. I come alive and there's a sense of forever in that. And I don't think a man can have that any other way,” Josh says in the nearly 13 minute video.

The website uses the video to claim that “True marital union is not possible without sexual difference.”

“This is why sexual difference is essential to marriage. Sexual difference is the necessary starting point for understanding why protecting and promoting marriage as the union of one man and one woman isn't arbitrary or discriminatory. Rather, it's a matter of justice, truth, love and real freedom.”

Dolan also virulently opposed New York becoming the sixth state to legalize gay marriage, calling it an “ominous threat” to society and “a violation of what we consider the natural law that's embedded in every man and woman.” He added that the law would open the door to government recognition of polygamous unions.

After the law's passage in June, Dolan tempered his remarks, saying he loved the gay community.

“To the gay community, I love you very much. If anything I ever said or did would lead you to believe that I have anything less than love and respect for you, I apologize,” he said the Sunday after lawmakers had approved the legislation.

However, Dolan was at hand in November to unveil the USCCB's anti-gay marriage campaign and, as Archbishop of New York, banned marriages between members of the same sex from taking place in Roman Catholic churches.