After Pope Francis’s support for civil unions for same-sex couples in an interview made headlines last week, the Vatican is stressing that the Pope does not support marriage equality and has released another part of the interview where he says, “It is a contradiction to speak of homosexual marriage.”
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” said in the documentary Francesco, released last week. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” he added. “I stood up for that.”
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According to the Catholic News Service, those quotes weren’t from an interview with Francesco film-maker Evgeny Afineevsky, but instead from a 2019 interview with Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki that was recorded by the Vatican. Afineevsky, apparently, pieced together the quote from different parts of the interview.
And the Vatican has released more comments from that Spanish-language interview, including: “I’ve always defended doctrine. And it is curious about the law on homosexual marriage — it is a contradiction to speak of homosexual marriage. But what we have to create is a civil union law, that way they are legally covered. I defended that.”
Pope Francis said that he would support “una ley de convivencia civil,” or “a law of civil cohabitation.” These are often referred to as domestic partnerships or civil unions but usually carry fewer rights than civil marriage. That he used the word “cohabitation” suggests that he was not thinking about adoption and child-rearing rights.
According to the Vatican, his comments about how gay people “have a right to be part of a family” were specifically referring to LGBTQ people and their relationships to their parents while discussing previous advice he gave to parents of LGBTQ children: “Homosexual persons have a right to be in the family and the parents have a right to recognize this son as homosexual, this daughter as homosexual. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.”
So while the Pope is now on record supporting some kind of recognition for same-sex couples, he does not support marriage or, necessarily, adoption or other protections that would allow LGBTQ people to become parents.