Pope Francis became the first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions, his remarks came in a documentary called Francesco that was released on Wednesday.
“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,” the pontiff said
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that,” he said.
The documentary on the life and ministry of Pope Francis was presented at the Rome Film Festival, and is set to make its North American premiere on Sunday.
The film chronicles the pope’s approach to pressing social issues, and in the words of the pontiff, those living “on the existential peripheries”.
The pope’s direct call for civil union laws represents a seismic shift from the perspective of his predecessors, and from his own more circumspect positions on civil unions in the past.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages. However, he had never come out publicly in favour of civil unions as pope, and no pontiff before him had either.