Pope Francis calls for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis has issued his strongest ever statement in support of same-sex relationships, calling for a law to recognise civil unions.

Speaking in a documentary film about his papacy Francesco, the global head of the Catholic Church said nobody should be ousted from their families because they are homosexual.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” the Pope said.

His comments have won the support of the United Nations, with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling them a “positive move.” Mr. Guterres is also a devout Catholic.

Spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia, Father Muliau Stowers did not respond directly to a request for comment. 

The documentary was released in Rome on Wednesday and was made by Russian director Evgeny Afineevsky. He said he hopes the film will be released for home streaming so that it can be watched globally.

“If before he was able to travel to every periphery in the world, right now, only his words can travel. That’s why for me releasing the movie right now was so important – so that his words and his actions can travel around the world,” he said.

It is not Pope Francis’ first comments calling for more inclusivity of the L.G.B.T.Q.I. community. When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires he advocated for same-sex civil unions. 

Asked about gay priests soon after he was elected Pope in 2013, he said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Marriage is a complex matter in the Catholic church. In 2003, a Vatican document was published which explained the church position. 

According to the document, it is “necessary” to oppose same-sex unions because they “obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The document does however call for L.G.B.T.Q.I. people to be “accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” and that discrimination against them must be avoided.

In the wake of widespread coverage of his comments, Pope Francis tweeted a passage from the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus says: “Enough!”

“Enough!” says Jesus (Lk 22:38), when his disciples produce two swords before the Passion. “Enough!” That single word of Jesus echoes through the centuries and reaches us forcefully in our own time: enough of swords, weapons, violence and war!”

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