Boldly Striding Into 1998, Pope Francis Supports Civil Unions For Gays
Pope Francis, whom we still keep wanting to call "New Pope" all these years into his Pontificationcy, said in an interview for a new documentary that he believes gay folks have the right to be together without anyone discriminating against 'em, and that he thinks governments should allow them to have legal protections — in the form of civil unions, not marriage, because that's for hets. Hey, it beats the American preacher what called for gays to be stoned to death during the Rose Parade, either literally or symbolically was OK with him.
The movie, Francesco, was released this week at the Rome Film Festival, no idea when it'll be in general release, but let's say "eventually pretty soon," since director Evgeny Afineevsky was nominated for an Acadamy Award and some Emmys in 2016. Afineevsky told the US Jesuit magazine America he was feeling drained after making his most recent documentary, 2017's "Cries from Syria," about the human rights horrors in the Syrian Civil War, and wanted to focus on "love and light" in his next film. A friend suggested he look at Francis and his positions on capitalism, human rights, and the environment, so Afineevsky did just that.
"Pope Francis embraces humanity," Mr. Afineevsky said. "That's what this movie teaches, the importance of being united, of being kind, of spreading love."
And now, it appears, Francis is publicly advocating a position on marriage equality that's right out of California in 2000, or Barack Obama in his first term. Problematic though that is, for a Pope, it's approaching light speed.
In the film, Francis states again a position that he's held from the beginning, saying,
Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. [...] They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.
But then he goes a big step beyond that, publicly calling for same-sex relationships to have the same civil protections as hetero marriages, as long as you don't call it marriage (again, yes that's still second-class citizenship and a denial of gay people's full humanity WE KNOW): "What we have to create is a civil union law. [...] That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that."
America explains this isn't any different from what Francis argued for when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and going by his pre-pope name, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. As archbishop, he had called for civil unions in an attempt to block a marriage equality law that was ultimately passed in 2010. At the time, he called the law "a destructive attack on God's plan," so yes, still very much a Catholic Church worldview.
[In] meetings with other Argentine bishops, Cardinal Bergoglio urged them to support civil unions as a way to keep marriage distinctly heterosexual. Bishops rejected the idea, but an L.G.B.T. activist in Argentina said the cardinal called him to say he personally supported the idea of civil unions.
The big difference now is that Bergoglio is pope, and no previous pope has come anywhere near to calling for civil unions. Next thing you know, Francis may start wearing a leather jacket and a backwards baseball cap. Can distressed denim cassocks be far off?
Again, most countries are already way past where Francis is now, but in a church whose most rightwing members still want gay people excommunicated, half a communion wafer may still cause many to head for the fainting pew.
Also in the documentary, Francis unequivocally condemned Donald Trump's policy of taking children from undocumented immigrants to "deter" illegal border crossings, calling it "cruelty of the highest form" and saying, "separating kids from parents goes against natural rights. [...] It's something a Christian cannot do."
The documentary also looks at other issues that have led alleged Christians to freak out, like his calls to fight climate change, recognize the rights of immigrants and refugees, and increasing the role of women in the church (but no priests, because again, we're talking Catholicism here). Here, have a trailer. Looks like Oscar bait to us (and we mean that every bit as ambivalently as it sounds, too).
At this rate, Holy Mother Church may catch up with the rest of us somewhere near the end of the century, depending on how bad the conservative backlash to his papacy is (It's going to be horrible).
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. Please help us keep this highly problematic progressive mommyblog going, ambivalence and all!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.