VATICAN CITY (CNS) – In recognizing civil unions of heterosexual and homosexual couples, the Italian government has equated those unions to marriage, said the head of the Italian bishops’ conference. While some supporters of the new law, which passed the legislature May 11, insisted the law did not recognize gay marriage, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the bishops’ conference, said the differences are only in the vocabulary used and in “easily circumvented legal devices.” The bill passed after its sponsors removed language explicitly allowing one partner in a gay union to adopt the biological child of the other partner. Supporters of the bill said it now would be up to individual judges in adoption cases to decide. “The final blow – which is already being spoken of publicly,” – Cardinal Bagnasco said, would be the legalization of surrogate motherhood. Surrogacy,” he said, “exploits the female body” and profits from the poverty of women willing to carry a child for others.