Benedict Warns US Bishops on Gay Marriage Pope is wary of 'political and cultural currents' By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Mar 10, 2012 12:05 AM CST 38 comments Comments Pope Benedict XVI waves from behind the protective window of his papamobile as he arrives for his weekly general audience on March 7 at St Peter's square at the Vatican. (Getty Images) (Newser) – With gay marriage being put on the ballot in at least five states, Pope Benedict XVI warned bishops visiting from the United States of "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage," reports the BBC. He also called premarital sex and couples living together unmarried "damaging to the stability of society" and "gravely sinful," for good measure. Benedict did acknowledge that for many young people today, the church's position on marriage and sex can seem "countercultural," but told the bishops that marriage and family should be "defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature. ... Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage."