The Vatican has described gay rights as “special rights” in criticizing an historic United Nations report documenting discriminatory laws and acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

According to The Catholic Free Press, Pope Benedict XVI's permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, told the U.N. Human Rights Council considering High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay's report that the Roman Catholic Church fears that the council is pressuring member states to support gay marriage.

The Vatican “condemns discrimination and violence against any human person, including those who are so targeted because of perceived sexual differences,” Tomasi said.

“The Holy See expressed grave concern that, under the guise of 'protecting' people from discrimination and violence on the basis of perceived sexual differences, this council may be running the rise of demeaning the sacred and time-honored legal institution of marriage between man and woman.”

The archbishop added that the Vatican opposes efforts to “particularize or to develop special rights for special groups of people,” because they could “easily put at risk the universality of those rights.”

(Related: Pope Benedict calls on U.S. bishops to oppose gay marriage.)