Breaking News: Pope Francis Endorses Same-Sex Civil Unions?
In a documentary on the life and thought of Pope Francis released in Italy on October 21st, Pope Francis is quoted saying
“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. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
This is the first time since becoming pope that he has spoke out about the issue.
Around 2010 when he served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he also expressed these views. The country was considering legalizing gay marriage and while he did not want gays to be married, reserving that right to straight couples, he did argue with his fellow bishops that they should be allowed civil unions with all the same rights as a marriage. He argued that this would be a way to protect the human rights of homosexuals while still defending marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Argentina did legalize gay marriage in 2010 much to his displeasure, saying this is a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”
This view is not contrary to Catholic teaching. Catholicism does teach that marriage is only for a man and a woman because it is the bedrock of the family. Only a man and a woman are capable of having biological children (transexuals and reproductive assistance notwithstanding as beyond the scope of my current article).
However, the Church also teaches that gay people are children of God. They should never be robbed of their fundamental human rights such as housing, food, health care, and the like just because of their sexual orientation.
Governments have, however, tied so many of these rights to the institution of marriage. This is right and good as families do need to be supported by the government, but what about gay people? Should they be robbed of these supports just because they’re not straight? So the solution that Pope Francis endorses is well within the realm of debatable Catholic stances.
Note, just because a Pope says it in an interview doesn’t make it infallible teaching of the Church. He is stating an opinion and as I argue above, I think this opinion is well within the umbrella of a reasonable opinion for a Catholic to have.
I think that this debate is a little past due as gay marriage has been legalized already in many countries, but the discussion is still a valuable one. In much of the world, it is still illegal to be gay. There are countries where you can get the death penalty for being gay. In our own country, much of the homeless youth population are LGBTQIA+ (and they are also the most likely to be human trafficked).
Catholics, with our deep respect for human life, should add to our list of causes the basic human rights of our LGBTQIA+ siblings. No human being should go hungry or homeless for having the “wrong” gender or sexuality. No one should die because of this stuff.
And thank you Pope Francis for voicing your agreement.
I would like to add a map I found when I was researching for this article. This can give you hints of specific countries to pray for when praying for our LGBTQIA+ siblings around the world: