In a shift, Pope Francis has voiced his support for same-sex civil unions in a documentary that debuted in Rome today, October 21, 2020.
Speaking about pastoral outreach and care for people who identify as LGBTQ, the pontiff said that he thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to have “civil unions”.
His comments in the documentary directed by Evgeny Afineevsky has been described by observers as his clearest remarks yet on gay relationships.
“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family,” Pope Francis said in the documentary.
“They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
He added that he “stood up for that”, apparently referring to his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires when, although opposing same-sex marriages in law, he supported some legal protections for same-sex couples.
The film Francesco, about the life and work of Pope Francis, premiered as part of the Rome Film Festival.
As well as the Pope’s comments on civil unions, the film also shows him encouraging two gay men to attend church with their three children.
Pope Francis’s biographer, Austen Ivereigh, told the BBC he was “not surprised” by the latest comments.
“This was his position as Archbishop of Buenos Aires,” said Mr Ivereigh. “He was always opposed to marriage being for same-sex couples. But he believed the church should advocate for a civil union law for gay couples to give them legal protection.”