Pope Francis, in Historic Move, Supports Civil Unions for LGBTQ Couples

McKenzie Jean-Philippe
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images
Photo credit: NurPhoto - Getty Images

From Prevention

  • In a new documentary about his life called Francesco, Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions for the first time.

  • “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family," he said. "What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

  • His stance is historic, as it largely contradicts the Catholic Church's fundamental teachings.

In a new documentary, Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as head of the Catholic Church.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family," he said in the film Francesco, which premiered on Wednesday, October 21 at the Rome Film Festival. "They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

Since his time as pontiff began in 2013, the Pope has taken progressive stances on a number of controversial issues, from climate change to racism and George Floyd's murder. However, it is important to point out that civil unions are not the same as marriage. Civil unions only give legal protections to couples on a state level, while marriages are largely nationally recognized and provide federal protections and benefits. In 2015, the Pope himself said same-sex marriage threatened traditional families, but in 2019 he stated in 2019 that gay tendencies are "not a sin."

However, his current stance is monumental for the leader of an Christian institution that has historically been intolerant of the LGBTQ community, often sending mixed signals in regards to their support—or lack thereof. Though priests across the world take their own stances when it comes to acceptance of queer people and relationships, official church teachings label the community as partaking in "grave depravity" and state that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

“God loves your children as they are,” Pope Francis told a group of parents of LGBTQ youth in September. “The church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.”

The documentary Francesco tells the life story of Pope Francis—born Jorge Mario Bergoglio—and premieres in the U.S. at the Savannah Film Festival on October 25.

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