Gay rights activist pleased with papal message

The Metropolitan Cathedral is illuminated in the colors of the Paraguayan flag during evening prayers with Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay.

The Metropolitan Cathedral is illuminated in the colors of the Paraguayan flag during evening prayers with Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay. Cesar Olmedo, AP

The Metropolitan Cathedral is illuminated in the colors of the Paraguayan flag during evening prayers with Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay.Cesar Olmedo, AP

The Metropolitan Cathedral is illuminated in the colors of the Paraguayan flag during evening prayers with Pope Francis in Asuncion, Paraguay.

ASUNCION, Paraguay –– The Paraguayan gay rights activists who attended a gathering that Pope Francis held with 1,600 members of so-called civil society says some in his own movement thought he should have skipped it.

But Simon Cazal told The Associated Press after Saturday night’s event that he accepted the Paraguayan bishops’ conference’s invitation because he doesn’t think the Catholic Church will use his attendance for publicity purposes.

Cazal is executive director of SomosGay. He noted with satisfaction Francis’ statement that people’s richness is in their diversity and no one should be excluded from anything.

Cazal told AP he hopes Paraguay’s government is listening. He said 54 killings of transgender Paraguayans have gone uninvestigated in the past decade.

The church and the pope oppose gay marriage. To them, marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Cazal is married to an Argentine. Their union is not recognized by Paraguay. In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This Story Filed Under

Comments