Pope Francis calls for civil union laws on same-sex marriage


Sonali Carumbaya

“Francisco” was released in October 2020.

Senyi Yang, Segments Editor

In the documentary Francesco, released at the Rome Film Festival, Pope Francis made some groundbreaking remarks in terms of LGBTQ acceptance in religion. The pope seemingly endorsed civil union laws for homosexual couples, while still maintaining that marriage is solely “between a man and a woman.” 

“I think the pope talking about legalizing same sex unions is really progressive and it definitely sets Christianity apart from the people, like in government, who claim to use Christianity to spread homophobic ideologies,” said Sahana Kumar (‘22).

As heads of the Catholic church, recent popes have usually stuck to their religion regardless of what society wants. However, the announcement supporting civil unions for same-sex individuals has turned both past and more recent papal decisions. 

“[The pope] is really setting the path for future generations of Christians in terms of religious open mindedness. For example, when you look at BYU, a stereotypically mormon school, where you might not expect much progression for LGBTQ ideas, but you see many of the students are having protests and trying to show their support for the LGBTQ community,” said Kumar. 

Civil unions are usually seen as more secular, legal equivalents to marriage. They share mostly the same benefits and rights as a marriage, and they are usually used  to gain marriage benefits as a same-sex couple. As evidenced by Pope Francis’s lines, he supports civil unions but opposes marriage, which he says carries a great biblical significance. It is likely that the pope will not ever support same sex marriage (because the bible forbids it). 

“I don’t agree with the pope that marriage should only be restricted to male-female couples, but I think it’s good that he respects people in same sex relationships to be in civil unions,” said Kiana Lum (‘22).

The film’s feedback has been greatly split. Many high ranking Catholic church members denounced the pope for these statements, while many celebrities such as Elton John commended the pope for taking a huge step forward for the LGBT community. Whether or not the Catholic church will take further steps to aim for more acceptance is unknown.