In the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at the Roman Film Festival on October 21st, Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions.
As FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors explain, “A civil union is a marriage-like arrangement available in several states that has important distinctions from marriage. It was created to allow same-sex couples a way to publicly commit to each other without quite granting them permission to marry.” Civil unions are not recognized under federal law like marriage. Therefore, individuals within civil unions are not offered the benefits that married individuals are– such as Social Security entitlement benefits.
In the documentary, Pope Francis claimed, “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family…They’re children of God. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.” He then went on to state, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way, they are legally covered.” This statement fits in with what the Pope has stated in the past.
Pope Francis has never fully endorsed the LGBTQ+ community, but he has voiced some support. He once asked the question, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” On the other hand, when questioned about same-sex couples being able to adopt children, he responded by stating, “There could be affected children… every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.”
In response to what Pope Francis stated in the documentary, Reverend Franco Coppola published on his Facebook page the following response, “More than a year ago, during an interview, Pope Francis answered two different questions at two different times that, in the aforementioned documentary, were edited and published as a single answer without proper contextualization, which has led to confusion.” However, figures like Father James Martin, who has been open about how the church should welcome LGBTQ+ people, stated, “He’s creating a new space for LGBT people…He’s saying it on the record, and he’s being very clear. It’s not simply that he’s tolerating it– he’s supporting it.”
His statement has caused division within not only the Church but society as well. However, despite the Pope’s words appearing to support the community, no real change within the Church occurs. Pope Francis has been known to make progressive statements, yet he continues to follow the traditional doctrine. The words may appear to be supportive, but there needs to be more done for the LGBTQ+ community to be welcomed truly, understood, and supported by their families, friends, community, and society.