ROME, ITALY – In a move that has helped to pave the way for marriage equality worldwide, Pope Francis this week endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, saying that they deserve to be part of a family and enjoy the same legal protections as other wedded couples.
Pope Francis made the comments as part of a documentary on his life that premiered this week in Rome, entitled “Francesco.” During a segment that centered on pastoral care for members of the LGBT community, Francis noted that he believed that laws should be passed that would allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” he said. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
Francis stopped short of saying that same-sex marriages should be officially recognized by the Catholic Church, but his new stance nonetheless drew support from gay Catholics and equal rights advocates, and represents a district shift from the Vatican’s traditional stance on marriage. However, Pope Francis’ comments are likely to ruffle some feathers among devout Catholics and conservatives, who have been long against any changes in the Church’s view on marriage.
Pope Francis has discussed the idea of same-sex civil unions in part interviews, but his comments in this documentary represent the first time he has officially stated an endorsement of them.