Gay Marriage

Pope Francis Declares Support for Civil Unions for Gay Couples

His statement doesn’t change Catholic Church teachings, but it’s an indicator of big cultural shifts.


Same-sex couples should be recognized under the law, Pope Francis said in a new documentary that premiered in Rome today.

"What we have to create is a civil union law," he said in an interview for the documentary Francesco, according to Jesuit magazine America. "That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that."

This is being treated as major news, the first time that a pope has called for legal recognition of gay relationships. However, it's reportedly not a new position for Francis. When he was an archbishop in Buenos Aires, America notes, he supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to legal recognition of gay marriage, which the Catholic Church was resisting.

The Church ultimately lost that debate; Argentina legalized gay marriage in 2010.

As pope, Francis has been supportive of embracing the Catholic Church's LGBT members as part of its family. Catholic teaching opposes gay sexual activity and marriage recognition but does not call for the rejection or abandonment of LGBT people. Francis had not at this point, though, made any statements as pope that staked out a position like the one he took in Buenos Aires—that same-sex couples should be entitled to some form of legal recognition.

This does not change the Catholic Church's official teachings or position on same-sex relationships. In just a couple of weeks, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case about whether a Catholic foster agency can refuse to place children in the homes of same-sex couples.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis openly revealing his support for legal recognition for same-sex couples, even if it's not called "marriage," is a significant cultural shift and an indicator of how much the Overton window on LGBT policies has been moved. The Catholic Church is following the path of millions of others who have slowly come around to accept LGBT relationships as valid. The "civil union" compromise was once an extremely popular position for many Americans, including many Democratic politicians before around 2012, when polls fully shifted to support for full marriage recognition.

It's too soon to speculate about whether Pope Francis' statement will lead the whole Church down the same path or whether the teachings will someday change. But it's worth the attention precisely because it's the first time a pope has directly supported legal recognition of same-sex relationships, even if he doesn't call it "marriage." That's a big deal.

NEXT: Libertarian Lawmakers or Libertarian Laws?

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  4. Legalized gay marriage? Can you show me where a gay couple was jailed for being married? Rather, isn’t it true it was “recognized” by the government instead?

    1. Maybe someone can explain to Francis how such government recognized contracts are ordinarily consummated.

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    2. Simialrly, where in the Bible does it teach to support your government’s support of gay marriage? Don’t burn down your gay neighbors’ homes and leave them in the streets to die homeless, sure, but each and every one of the “1,100 legal rights and privileges” secured by marriage was ordained by God? Fuck that noise.

      1. Simialrly, where in the Bible does it teach to support your government’s support of gay marriage?

        Romans 13?

        1. Submitting to burdensome and immoral government is a Christian obligation. Endorsing the immorality of the government is not.

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  6. Catholic teaching opposes gay sexual activity and marriage recognition but does not call for the rejection or abandonment of LGBT people.

    In just a couple of weeks, the Supreme Court will be hearing a case about whether a Catholic foster agency can refuse to place children in the homes of same-sex couples.

    There are a lot of Catholics on the Supreme Court. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if they ruled that adoption by same-sex couples was ok as long as they eschewed gay sexual activity!

    I don’t expect it at all. But Roberts goes so far out of his way to twist his rulings (penaltax!) sometimes that I can almost imagine some such twist for this case. “If same-sex couples take a vow of celibacy, they can adopt. Oh and also, it would be a violation of the 4th amendment to verify that vow of celibacy. Thanks, bye, have a nice day.”

    1. Roberts didn’t twist that, Congress did, by insisting that a tax was not a tax. Roberts just straightened them out.

    2. No court that high is going to be so foolish as to rule on what Catholicism really means. There’s never going to be a case about what conditions Catholicism can place on families to be Catholic. It’ll only be about whether a foster agency can follow their religious rules; the court will take for granted that the religious rule is whatever the agency says it is.

    3. seems like an easy First Amendment call — free exercise of religion

      1. It’s not a free speech issue at all. They got a state license to handle adoptions of children and seek out safe homes, then reneged because they didn’t like certain safe homes. They should have given up their license, not complain about the gays and religion.

        It’s an administrative issue of the state’s executive authority to issue licenses and oversee actions of adoption agencies.

  7. Sure am glad Reason is covering the really important stuff. Instead of that silly Biden family corruption and sleaze story.

    You guys are top notch.

    1. Reason Ignore-O-Meter:

      It’s Not Real
      It’s Russian Disinfo
      It’s Real But Doesn’t Matter (local story) <– YOU ARE HERE
      It Matters But Not Very Much
      This is Old News
      Shut Up Racist

    2. Apparently the conventional wisdom on the Biden family corruption story is that it has been discredited and can therefore be ignored.

      1. The. Big. Lie.

        It might even work.

        Giuliani et al need to get off their asses, and dump the thing on Wikileaks or the equivalent. Early voting has been going on for awhile now, and it’s insanely popular. People don’t wait until Election Day anymore.

        If they want this to have impact, release it now. Nobody is going to jail over this, no matter what vile things are on that drive. Let the weaponized autists at the data. And damn any Republicans that get splattered by shit too.

        1. Giuliani’s involvement is at the heart of why the story is suspicious. The best thing Giuliani could have done is never associated his name with the story.

          1. In other words you dismiss the information based on where it came from rather than on the basis of any evidence. There’s a named logical fallacy for that. I’ll give you the pleasure of googling it for yourself.

          2. TWK….The emails do not lie. The pictures do not lie. The videos do not lie. The testimony of the email recipients do not lie.

            Neither Sleepy Joe or his crackhead son have denied that the laptop was Hunter’s, or the emails themselves.

            Personally, I find the picture of Crackhead Hunter passed out with a crackpipe in his mouth, along with the pictures of him diddling around with underaged oriental girls pretty illuminating…and utterly revolting.

            Quid Pro Joe doesn’t belong anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Quid Pro Joe is corrupt AF.

        2. Gosh I wish it was up on Wikileaks.

      2. the conventional leftist wisdom is that they made up a lot of stuff about Trump, so this must be made up too

    3. You have to show Biden family corruption before it can be covered. It not enough to say that some Russian told it to Rudy Giuliani so it should be covered.

      1. Would Hunter Biden’s own laptop and emails count? Or did that come from Russia too?

        1. It might if you could prove that the laptops were Hunter’s. What you have is a story of a man comes into a shop and drops off three laptops. The store owner is legally blind and he did not save the video recording of the interaction. So at this point there is nothing but allegations.

          1. No one, not even the Bidens, are claiming the laptop isn’t his or that the emails are fake. Let it go man, your guys are scummy corrupt pedophiles. Sucks to suck.

            1. Christ, even the FBI and DOJ have explicitly stated these are definitely not part of a Russian disinformation campaign.


                Pathetic. Really? The Russians did it?

                1. It’s all they’ve got.

              2. No, they haven’t. The FBI will not confirm nor deny having the laptop, and “has nothing to add” to Ratcliffe’s statement that they have the laptop. They are being mum.

                1. Yes, they have. They have also torpedoed your other talking point about this being a Russian disinformation campaign.

          2. Uh, I’m pretty sure they also have HUNTER BIDEN’S SIGNATURE.

            1. They also have hunter’s lawyer asking for the laptops to be returned.

              Why would he want it returned if it was never Hunter’s laptops?

      2. Pay no attention to those never-before-seen pictures of Hunter Biden snorting coke off a hooker’s ass, and the verified email exchanges, and the text message chains…

        Jesus Christ, if you fuckwads could have come up with something like this for the Trump impeachment you might actually have gotten away with it.

        1. That Hunter Biden was a drug addict and had other vices isn’t news.

          There are a couple of emails that are verified by right-wing sources. But weigh that evidence against the involvement of Giuliani, Bannon, an ex-Hannity staffer, and a guy who lives in Los Angeles just happening to drop his laptop off for repair in the Delaware shop of a guy who is a Trump partisan. Add in several changes in story and odd behavior by repair shop owner.

          I’m not saying it’s not true. Joe Biden may well have taken a cut of Hunter’s business deal, but there is evidence both for and against believing the story.

          1. That Hunter Biden was a drug addict and had other vices isn’t news.

            That these are new, never-before-seen pictures of Hunter Biden indulging his vices, which may include fucking underage girls btw, IS news because it goes a long way towards verifying the ownership of the laptop in question and blows up your narrative that “some Russian told it to Rudy Giuliani”. Unless “some Russian” was partying with Hunter Biden and took pictures of him getting a blowjob while smoking crack. Which I’m certain you’d believe unquestioningly if it were required to maintain your handlers’ talking points, just like you did with every wild and outlandish claim during the 3 year Russiagate hoax.

            There are a couple of emails that are verified by right-wing sources.

            In other words you dismiss the information based on where it came from rather than on the basis of any evidence. There’s a named logical fallacy for that. I’ll give you the pleasure of googling it for yourself.

            Let’s take another moment to compare and contrast your assessment of the Steele dossier, which contained no verifiable information, came from questionable Russian sources, was paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign, and was used as a pretext to spy on a rival campaign and incoming administration. That would be the Steele dossier that you accepted without question or hesitation and continue to defend to this day even after you got impeachment rammed up your ass.

          2. By the way, cute trick coming back 9 hours later to corpse-fuck a thread so you can actually get the last word without getting called on your bullshit. How’d that work out for you?

            1. It’s what the lying sack of shit does, William. I don’t bother engaging with it, for the same reasons i don’t try to convince a PR flack that they’re wrong.

              If it posted that today was Thursday, I’d doubt it.

          3. Crackhead Hunter is a national security risk. That is news.

          4. Literally the only “evidence” you have AGAINST the story is “I don’t trust the source.”

  8. No, it is an indication that a leftist was elected Pope. It says absolutely nothing about the larger culture outside of the top echelons of the Catholic Church.

    1. Absolutely. Go just about anywhere in Africa or Latin American and try to sell this. Guess where most of those who actually believe in the Catholic Church live.

      1. “Go just about anywhere in Africa or Latin American and try to sell this.”

        Speaking of, the Church could do a lot worse than nominate Cardinal Sarah to take Francis’s seat.

        I am not a Catholic. I have had read though, that the exact specifics of Benedict’s ‘retirement’ allow the Church to rule that Francis’s various proclamations need not be considered binding upon subsequent Popes. No idea how that works, or if it’s completely off base, but maybe some of you do.

    2. In case you did not know it the Catholic Church has been pretty far left for a while. I grew up in a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school. We voted Democrat, opposed the war in Vietnam and supported civil rights. Catholics support immigrants who often come from countries with large Catholic majorities. And most Catholic families have gay bothers, sisters or relatives.

      By the way if your looking for the origins of socialism you might check out the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible.

      1. Or you could go back another 2500 years. But yeah, Jesus was totally a commie who would have supported your mass murder fantasies and shit.

        1. Jesus, yea I remember him. He the guy who said that its easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. He also told people to give up all they own. Didn’t he also say that the field hands who worked for an hour should get the same pay as those working all day. How could you mistake a guy like that for a communist?

          1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10, NIV: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. ‘”

          2. Literally none of the cherries you picked even support your contention. Typical fucking Catholic. Don’t know what you believe or why you believe it.

            1. Great thing about the Bible. Plenty of cherries to pick, take your choice.

              1. And yet all you could come up with were 3 examples that don’t support your point.

          3. He also compated a samaritan woman to a dog.

      2. So now that you’re admitting you’re a lefty, I have to ask, why were you lying when you created your handle?

        1. No. Most of what I was taught in Catholic school was considered middle of the road. War is wrong, treat people with respect, work hard, your friend, family and God loves you. I don’t think my values have changed, they are moderate. What has changed is world around me that see any not right as left. Ask yourself if the middle is where it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago or even 50 years ago when I was in school.

  9. “Is the Pope Catholic?”

    1. At least as Catholic at the Speaker of the House.

  10. lmao. Is this a joke? Why doesn’t he just become a methodist?

    1. That’s an insult to principled Methodists. If he wanted to pander abjectly while claiming to have read it from the Bible, he could’ve just been a Unitarian. But then, there’s no Papacy which to claim power and influence and what’s the fun in that?

      1. Not to mention all that glorious loot.
        I am still waiting for a Pope to follow Matthew 19:21
        “If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

    2. He’d have to give up his throne, fancy clothes, and the worship of his followers.

      Gotta get that sweet, sweet indulgence dough.
      (Yes, I understand the church stopped selling tickets into heaven after a German guy told everyone the pope was an idiot).

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  12. While it is a good step in the right direction, it kinda feels like a PR move to distract from the whole ‘property is a secondary right’ fiasco. Not to mention the money the church is getting for ‘state approved’ churches in China. Until a pope gets rid of clerical celibacy, I will remain skeptical.

  13. Meanwhile the Seinfeld D list actors are trying to flip Texas. They don’t have a shot but it reminds me of that old Pace picante commercial.

    Oh and the pope is an Argentine leftist socialist fuckwad too.

    1. Julia Louis Dreyfus was so great in Veep, its a shame she didn’t learn anything from it.

      1. Where would the world be without (probably) billionaires like Julia Louis Dreyfus looking out for the common man?

        I say probably because she was an heir to her father’s 3+ billion fortune.

  14. So the Pope wants sin (according to the Church) legalized?

    I wonder if a Pope has ever wanted sin legalized before.

    1. I wonder if a Pope has ever wanted sin legalized before.

      Depends whether a king needs out of his marriage or not.

    2. Francis joins an “honor roll” which includes the Renaissance Popes, the Cadaver Synod Pope, etc.

      If I recall correctly, one of the Renaissance Popes, Julius II, got praise from Machiavelli, and such praise should be the *opposite* of what a Pope should be seeking.

      Likewise, Francis is getting support from the Masons, the LGBLTs, and (to his face at least) various imams. Support from faithful Catholics – not so much, but the anti-Catholics *love* him.

    3. Just for the record, the sin is engaging in homosexual sex acts, not being homosexual.
      Just like being a heterosexual is not a sin, but pre/extra-marital sex is.
      The blanket sin is fornication, and it is an equal opportunity charge, heterosexual or homosexual.

      1. (Male-on-male) Homosex gets a special call out as an abomination, but yes, it’s permissible to be gay as long as you remain celibate and don’t act on it. Getting gay married or gay civil-unioned generally doesn’t entail Christian chastity.

        1. It’s also ok to be a murderer as long as you don’t act on it.

          Homosexuality is a behaviour.

        2. I don’t think abomination had the same weight as it does now, considering eating with an Egyptian and wearing clothes of multiple types of material were also called that.

  15. Cool story. Yet another conservative who only discovers the “Civil Union compromise” when he’s losing the fight over marriage.

    If any of these supposed “civil union” supporters had offered a sincere “Civil Union compromise” back in the 80s or 90s, it would have been accepted immediately. But nope… They only support civil unions when marriage is on the table. If it’s off the table? They oppose civil unions too.

    So yeah… woo hoo. Go Francis. You going to get around to chastising bishops who support sodomy laws yet?

    1. “another conservative”

      Yep, Pope Francis is a noted right-winger.

    2. If any of these supposed “civil union” supporters had offered a sincere “Civil Union compromise” back in the 80s or 90s, it would have been accepted immediately.

      That literally happened dozens of times in dozens of states, and you said it was “separate but equal” and literally the same as slavery. Nice try though.

  16. How does he feel about collective economics?

    1. Acts 2:45
      They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need

      1. For the record, I encourage everyone to read the surrounding context of all scripture I reference.
        It does matter.

        1. There’s no context that can wipe away the fact that the early church was communalist, if not communist (certainly not Marxist by any description, Marx having lived 1800 years after the establishment of the church). That isn’t a binding condition on Christianity though, just the pragmatic choice the church made in structuring itself during a time when it was a hated minority at the mercy of a hostile government. By the middle ages communal living was confined to only a few Christian religious orders and not practiced at all by the laity.

          1. Communism works, but only if the community is small enough, freely chosen, and is brought together by a common philosophy or faith.
            As a larger political structure, imposed upon people, it’s a terror.

            1. Libertarianism seems to also be so limited.

  17. It’s too soon to speculate about whether Pope Francis’ statement will lead the whole Church down the same path or whether the teachings will someday change.

    I think it is great the Catholic Church has been telling the faithful for over 50 years to go fuck themselves if they want to use contraception but when one woke, virtue signaling Pope gets white-smoked, one of the least important issues in the Catechism gets top billing. Way to keep your finger to the wind Francis. Give him five years and abortion will be acceptable.

    1. If they fuck themselves, they won’t need contraception, will they?

  18. No, it is an indication that Commie Pope is STILL Commie Pope.

    Either that or he’s looking for a choirboy hookup …

    1. Commie Pope says, what?

  19. Civil unions, not marriage.

  20. this guy who”s claiming to be the representative of Christ on earth.. yet this guy is clueless as to what He proclaimed.
    Jesus made it crystal clear that marriage is one man and one woman for life. Nothing else qualifies. He also, elsewhere made it clear that two men or two women together is not acceptible.

    This guy in Italy can declare all he wants, call it whatever name he wants to coopt or invent, but whether it is a legally or ecclesiastically recognised “union” or not is immaterial. It is still clearly against God’s plain meanint. For him to sanctin or condone it well,maybe he should reconsider his stand on the murder of not-yet-botn children, ir even those who have been born and lived outside the womb for some time. He cold rename theft, call it “lifting” r”pincihng” but guess what? It is STILL the taking of what is rightly someone else’s stuff. And still not acceptible.

    1. We aren’t a theocracy.

      It’s perfectly reasonable for any religious person to acknowledge that other ways, including sin, exist. It would be irrational not to.

      Civil unions are not religious. He did not suggest that they could marry.

      1. I agree. This is another example of people misinterpreting the Pope’s words. The Pope is talking about rights and benefits, not sex. He said this years ago, and his words are used again to make it appear that something has changed in the Church. Nothing has changed, but he’s more Jesus-like in his approach to issues.

        1. Yes, we are surrounded by bigots with agendas.

          When it’s not enough to simply refuse to consider arguments, they misrepresent them even changing the very definitions of words that give our language meaning.

          1. Let me guess; is it the JOOOOOOOOS again?

            1. Right on queue.

  21. The guy wears a dress. I’d think he would be sympathetic to such things.

  22. Wow, what’s next, the Pope saying it’s okay to covet your neighbor’s goods? Oh wait, he already did, when he spoke favorably of socialism.

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  24. It thought this was a libertarian website, where one would hear the standard libertarian position that of course gay people can be married because it’s not our business to run others’ lives. But this thread has confirmed not only how many conservative commenters there are here, but that they are religious conservatives.

    1. “Everywhere I look I see exactly what I’m looking for!”

      The article is about something the pope said, not government policy. Bringing up the gay marriage pony that you already got would be rather stupid since it’s utterly unrelated to the topic of the pope reversing 2,000 years of church orthodoxy.

      It should also go without saying that using the government to distribute public benefits to people based on who they have legally committed to fucking is not “the standard libertarian position”. And even if you want to make a non-libertarian utilitarian appeal to equality your position is still not defensible since you’re happy to close the door at “2 men or 2 women should be able to belly up to the public trough, but no more, and in no other combination”. You don’t give a fuck about equality for icky Mormons (although I suspect you’ll warm up to polygamy quite a bit once you find out that it’s a Muslim thing too). You don’t give a fuck about the government using marriage as a tool for social policy. An actual libertarian position would be something more like “anyone who wants to register a marriage for legal purposes can fill out this form and submit it to the county registrar; no benefits or penalties apply”. The government’s sole role if you must give it one should be registration for record-keeping purposes, no different from deeds and titles of registration. But again, you couldn’t give a fuck about anything other than getting your pony. And even after you got it you’re still fucking bitching about it. Religious indeed.

  25. Hate the sin but love the sinner.

    I see an analogy with the Church’s attitude towards divorce (unless that has changed). It doesn’t really like divorce, but may even encourage it in some cases if that would provide necessary protection to a spouse.

  26. Translation: socialist pope calls for more government power. That’s all.

  27. Going the wrong way. There should be no such thing as a government marriage license nor civil union. Adults form personal relationships and commitments according to their own beliefs. Government has no place in that relationship. If it is for inheritance that is a legal document and a simple will can handle it.

    1. The point that you are complaining missing is culture in civilization.

      Marriage is defined as “between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others” because that is the most stable and beneficial relationship that supports the continuum of life and the nuclear family in civilization.

      We’ve known for millennia that this is better that running around like feral cats. Where have you been?

      1. Dr Phil has said something like the best environment for a child to grow up in is with both its biological parents. And that is what we should be trying to achieve.

  28. The Federal Government should never have gotten involved in marriage. What a mess! Marriage had been a state issue prior to DOMA, and it should have stayed that way.

  29. I have reviewed many of the statements Francis has said and how he has been quoted in the media, and this may be one more instance of him being misquoted in order to achieve the media’s Leftist ends. Francis is not the straight, plain spoken theologians that John Paul II and Benedict are/were. The thing to keep in mind about Francis is that he is a Jesuit and just because he is pope doesn’t mean the way he conducts his ministry ends by becoming Pontiff.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Jesuits are a fantastic religious order, and are the most successful order in the Catholic Church for a reason. They tend to take a more humanistic approach to Catholicism but they stay within its framework in order to conduct their ministry. If Francis actually did make this statement then taking into account his being a Jesuit makes sense since civil unions are not the same as marriage.

    Another example is his statement about priests marrying. Anyone who knew what Francis said prior to the symposium on married priests that occurred last year would know that he would not approve it. That is why, in the end, the recommendations made by the conference of bishops that met in Rome would end up being rejected.

    It may seem dishonest, but that is what Jesuits can do, punt on issues popular with the culture or congregation. In instances like social issues, like married priests and women clergy, in the end Jesuits will uphold the doctrines of the church because that is their sworn duty. They see it as a way to let Catholics know that they may tacitly agree on certain issues, but they are sworn to obedience to the Church including to the authority of the Pope.

    1. One thing I forgot to point out. The symposium on priests and Francis making this statement about civil unions for gays is in the context of maintaining church unity. Catholics tend to be a pretty conservative demographic but they have differing views on certain issues, gay marriage being one of them. By doing this, the Vatican thinks it can reduce tensions among the faithful and, anyone who works in customer service-oriented fields, knows this tactic can work rather well.

    2. The conversation about gays was provoked by a gay film director/journalist, who interpreted the pope’s words, if I recall.

      They sat to shoot the breeze and the conversation got sloppy. Not exactly a statement made in any official capacity.

  30. Hollow rhetoric. This is a PR stunt for a failing, corrupt institution with a centuries-long history of persecuting and even murdering homosexuals.

    Absent any concrete action, his statement is pretty meaningless.

    1. Are you actually accusing the pope of advocating the murder of homosexuals as if they had unique human DNA like fetuses do?

      1. Does the third Lateran Council of 1179 ring a bell?

        1. Does abortion?

  31. Well at least some of the priests who leave the church can now get married civilly in the eyes of the church.

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