Pope and other religious leaders denounce laws criminalising LGBTQ+ people

During a conference with other Christian leaders, the Pope said that laws criminalising LGBTQ+ people are "a problem that cannot be ignored”.

Pope Francis and other religious leaders, who recently condemned laws criminalising LGBTQ+ people, during a visit to South Sudan.
Image: Via Twitter - @gazzettanews1

Pope Francis has said that laws criminalising LGBTQ+ people are unjust and should be considered a “sin”. He was backed by the head of the Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, and the top Presbyterian minister of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, in denouncing such laws.

On Sunday, February 5, the three Christian leaders discussed LGBTQ+ rights during an airborne news conference. They were returning from South Sudan, the second of two stops, after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), of an ecumenical pilgrimage to facilitate the countries’ peace process.

During the conference, the Pope was questioned about remarks he had made to the Associated Press condemning laws that criminalising LGBTQ+ people and repeated once again that such laws are “unjust”. “To condemn someone like this is a sin,” he told reporters on the plane. “Criminalising people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.”

He continued: “People with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God Loves them. God accompanies them,” also adding that “the criminalisation of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored”.

South Sudan is among the 67 countries currently criminalising same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. Even though these laws are not always enforced, they directly contribute to violence against LGBTQ+ people by creating a hostile environment where hate is acceptable.


The two other Christian leaders present at the conference backed the Pope’s opinion on the matter. The Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, said that recently LGBTQ+ rights have been central to the agenda of the Church of England.

“I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the Pope. I entirely agree with every word he said,” Welby said. He also added that he would report the Pope’s words on the matter at the Church’s upcoming General Synod. The Church of England has recently decided that, while they will allow blessing for same-sex unions, same-sex marriages could not be performed in its churches.

The top Presbyterian minister, Iain Greenshields, was the third leader present at the conference. As head of the Church of Scotland, where same-sex marriages can be performed in churches, he also offered his opinion, saying: “There is nowhere in my reading of the four Gospels where I see Jesus turning anyone away.”

He added: “There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets… And as Christians, that is the only expression that we can possibly give to any human being, in any circumstance.”

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.