The Pope suggests Catholic Church could support same-sex civil unions

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While reaffirming the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Pope Francis said in a newspaper interview Wednesday that the church could support some form of civil unions. In an interview published in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily, the pontiff suggested the Catholic Church could tolerate some types of same-sex civil unions as a practical measure to guarantee property rights and health care. The pope said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman,” but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.”

“Matrimony is between a man and a woman,”

Pope Francis

The new Pope, who marks his first year as Pope on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for the Catholic Church on issues related to homosexuality and abortion. Francis had led the Catholic Church’s public stance against legalising same-sex marriage in Argentina while he was Archbishop. At the time, Francis called the proposed legislation “a destructive attack on God’s plan.” However, he was part of a number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples in Argentina.

In an interview with CNN last year, Marcelo Marquez, a leading Argentinian LGBT rights activist, said that during that nation’s 2010 debate over same-sex marriage, he received a phone call from the Pope Francis then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.  According to Marquez, then-Cardinal Bergoglio told him “… ‘I’m in favour of gay rights and in any case, I also favour civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law.’ “


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