Pope Francis Endorses Same-sex Civil Unions

Pope Francis endorses same-sex civil unions. 

Catholic leaders and observers of the Vatican witnessed a major milestone for the Catholic Church on Wednesday after Pope Francis indicated his support for civil unions for same-sex couples, breaking with the church’s long-held official teachings.

In the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered at the Rome Film Festival Wednesday, the Pope called for a “civil union law” to ensure gay and lesbian couples have the same legal rights as married straight couples.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family,” he said in the film. “They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.”

Couples should be “legally covered” under a law allowing civil unions, Francis said, adding, “I stood up for that.”

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Pope supported legal protections for gay couples while opposing same-sex marriage.

While Francis did not indicate that the church would change its thinking on marriages any time soon, his statement in the film—and a scene in which he encouraged a gay couple to attend the Catholic Church with their children—was a far cry from guidance released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003.

Regarding “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons,” the church—then led by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI— wrote:

“The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

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