Pope Francis called for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples in a new documentary that aired in Rome on Wednesday, breaking from the Vatican’s stance on the issue.
“Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family,” he said in Francesco, a documentary about his life, according to the Catholic News Agency. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
“What we have to create is a civil union law,” he added. “That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
Francis’ comments, which are likely to be seen by many Catholics as controversial, are reflective of his own views, and not an indication that the church will change its teachings on same-sex relationships.
As the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, but had never publicly expressed support for the unions as pope.