Pope Francis, in a new documentary, has called for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples, in what amounts to his clearest support to date for the issue.
In the documentary, according to the Catholic News Agency, Francis says same-sex couples should be “legally covered.”
‘Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,…’What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.’Pope Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages.
However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.
Francis has long expressed an interest in outreach to the church’s LGBT followers, but his remarks have often stressed general understanding and welcoming, rather than substantive policies.
The documentary, “Francesco,” is premiering this week in Rome and later in the United States.
The pope gave an interview to the filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky, saying that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family.”
“They’re children of God… Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
Francis, who became pope in 2013, gave earlier, oblique signals interpreted as openness to recognizing same-gender civil unions.
Officially, the church teaches that homosexual sex acts are “disordered,” and Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil.”
Famously, Francis in 2013 said about somebody who is gay:
“Who am I to judge?”
Francis has also spoken often about his ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics, saying they are loved by God and welcomed by the church.
“This is huge,” said David Gibson, director of Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture.
“Looking behind all this, he’s basically saying, again, we’re not out here to be culture warriors. We’re not out here to pick fights. We are out here to build up the family.”David Gibson