Pope Francis expressed openness to nonmarital same-sex civil unions, while stressing that the Catholic Church believes marriage to be between a man and a woman, in an interview with an Italian newspaper.
“Matrimony is between a man and a woman,” the pope told Corriere della Sera, as translated by Catholic News Service.
He continued, however, with a more libertarian take on the matter saying that the move to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care.”
“It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety,” he added.
According to CNS, the Francis’ interview represents the first time a pope “has indicated even a tentative acceptance of civil unions.”
Pope Francis has been heralded by gay activists for his more open tone on maters of homosexuality.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” the pope said last year, explaining he would not judge gay priests. Also saying later in the year that the church des not have a right to interfere in the lives of gays.
The gay magazine the Advocate named Pope Francis their “Person of the Year” for 2013 for his nonjudgmental stance on gay issues.
According to the New York Times, Francis supported the idea of same-sex civil unions when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010 and fighting same-sex marriage in Argentina.