More than 50 countries have laws criminalising same-sex
The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said that any laws criminalising same-sex “are a sin and an injustice because God loves and accompanies people with same-sex attraction”.
Francis, who made his remarks in response to a reporter’s question aboard the plane returning from a two-country trip to Africa, received the full backing for his comments from two other Christian leaders on the plane with him, Reuters reports.
“The criminalisation of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored,” said Francis, who then cited unnamed statistics according to which 50 countries criminalise LGBT people “in one way or another” and about 10 others have laws including the death penalty for them.
Sixty-six U.N. member states continue to criminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations, according to data from ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association. In several countries where same-sex relations are illegal, punishments can include a possible death penalty.
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What Pope Francis is saying
“This is not right. Persons with homosexual tendencies are children of God. God loves them. God accompanies them … condemning a person like this is a sin. Criminalising people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice,” Francis said.
He noted that the Catholic Church’s catechism, or book of teachings, says same-sex attraction is not a sin but homosexual acts are. It also says that LGBT people should not be marginalised.
Francis mentioned his now-famous phrase from soon after he became pope in 2013 that he could not judge people with same-sex tendencies who are seeking God. He also noted that while visiting Ireland in 2018 he said that parents could not disown their LGBT children, but had to keep them in a loving family.