When Argentina was on the verge of legalizing gay marriage in 2010, Pope Francis — then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires — suggested the church support civil unions, according to news reports published at the time.
"We don't have a fanatic vision," his spokesman, Federico Wals, told Argentina's Infonews in 2010. "What we are asking is that the laws are respected. We believe that we must propose more comprehensive civil union rights than currently exist, but no gay marriage."
Faced with the likelihood that gay marriage would be legalized, Bergoglio, then head of the Argentina Bishop's Conference, suggested during a meeting with bishops in 2010 that the church support civil unions in the country. The idea was rebuked by the bishops, Pope Francis' authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, told the Associated Press.