Pope Francis calls for civil union laws for same-sex couples

A significant departure from Vatican law and his predecessors, he made the comments in a new documentary.

Pope Francis waving. In a recent interview, he declared his support for same sex civil unions

In a new documentary, Pope Francis has called for civil union laws for same-sex couples, in remarks that break from the Catholic Church’s official teaching and signal his clearest support for the issue to date.

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 explicitly addressing the need for legal rights for same-sex couples.

He explained: “Homosexuals have the right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be rejected or marginalised because of it. What we need to work on is a civil union law. They have the right to be protected under the law.”

The film chronicles the approach of Pope Francis to pressing social issues, and to pastoral ministry among those who live, in the words of the pontiff, “on the existential peripheries.”

In September Francis made history by meeting with the parents of LGBTQ+  children for the first time. The parents voiced their concerns to the Church’s discriminatory stance on the LGBTQ+ community. While the Catholic Church’s longstanding anti-LGBTQ+ stance has deeply affected LGBTQ+ people of faith, the Pope’s meeting with Tenda di Gionata presents the beginning of a more open dialogue moving forward. Filippo M. said, “In the painful journey that, as LGBTQ+ believers, each of us has made a confession, I would not have imagined that we would have reached this stage.”

Pope Francis has expressed an interest in outreach to the church’s LGBTQ+  followers in the past but his remarks have often stressed general understanding and welcoming rather than any explicit support of rights. This departure by Pope Francis with regard to civil union and endorsement of legal rights for same-sex couples will have a significant ripple effect worldwide.

The Italian news (Sky IT) reports that in the upcoming documentary, the Pope rings a gay couple who have three children, in response to a letter they sent detailing how they were “embarrassed” when bringing their children to mass because they felt judged. The Pope stated they should keep bringing their children to mass and ignore people’s judgment.

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