ROME— Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pontiff while being interviewed for the feature-length documentary “Francesco,” which premiered it the Rome Film Festival. The papal thumbs-up came midway through the film that delves into issues Francis cares about most, including the environment, poverty, migration, racial and income inequality, and the people most affected by discrimination.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the film. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.” While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope. It was in September 2020 that Pope Francis had told a group of parents of LGBTQ children that “God loves your children as they are” and “the church loves your children as they are because they are children of God.” He did so in a brief meeting with some 40 Italian parents (both mothers and fathers) of LGBTQ children after the public audience in the Renaissance courtyard of San Damaso in the Vatican. Even during his tenure as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope.