Pope Francis

Pope Francis Calls For Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples: ‘They’re Children Of God’

Bessie Yuill - Author
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Oct. 21 2020, Updated 11:40 a.m. ET

Pope Francis has officially endorsed “civil unions” for same-sex couples.

The Catholic Church’s official teachings have never supported gay marriage. As The Associated Press wrote, the Vatican maintains that gay individuals must be treated respectfully, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

His Holiness made the comments, which are in stark contrast to Vatican law and his predecessors’ positions, in a documentary directed by Evgeny Afineevsky about the life and work of the religious leader.

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“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family,” he said in a sit-down interview for the film, which premiered on Wednesday as part of the Rome Film Festival. “They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as a preferable alternative to same-sex marriages. However, before his most recent statements, he had not come out publicly in favor of civil unions since he was elected in 2013.

The documentary Francesco explores the issues Francis holds close to his heart, including poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the environment. It also shows him encouraging two gay men to raise their children in a parish church.

He hasn’t always been so progressive on the topic of LGBT rights.

In 2013, the Pope said that legally equating same-sex relationships to heterosexual marriages would be “an anthropological regression,” per BBC.

He also said that children could be “affected” if same-sex couples were allowed to adopt, claiming that “every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”

In 2014 it was reported that Pope Francis had endorsed civil unions for same-sex partners in an interview, but the Holy See’s press office denied this.

Then in 2018, Pope Francis said he was “worried” about homosexuality in the clergy, which he called “a serious matter.”

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who has been at the forefront in pushing the church to build bridges with the LGBT community, praised the pope’s comments as “a major step forward.”

“The Pope’s speaking positively about civil unions also sends a strong message to places where the church has opposed such laws,” Martin tweeted on Wednesday.

Over one billion Catholics worldwide take their spiritual guidance from Pope Francis, according to Al Jazeera.

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