Pope Francis called for the legalization of same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope, a shift from the Catholic Church’s longstanding doctrine on LGBTQ rights. This endorsement was confirmed in a documentary film that was released in Italy today.
The Pope has long expressed an interest in outreach to the church’s LGBT followers, but his remarks have often stressed general understanding and welcoming — rather than substantive policies.
The pope gave an interview to the filmmaker, Evgeny Afineevsky, saying that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family.”
“They’re children of God and have a right to a family,” the pope said. “Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
Francis, who became pope in 2013, gave earlier, oblique signals interpreted as openness to recognizing same-gender civil unions. He has usually framed his comments in pragmatic, curious terms — as someone noticing the possible need for legal recognition for existing families, so they can access civil benefits such as heath care.