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Pope Francis says anti-LGBTQ laws are a ‘sin’ and an ‘injustice’

Pope Francis called anti-gay laws a "sin" and expressed support for civil union legislation.

By Emily Maskell

Pope Francis said those with “homosexual tendencies” should be welcomed by their churches. (Image: WikiCommons)
Pope Francis said those with “homosexual tendencies” should be welcomed by their churches. (Image: WikiCommons)

Pope Francis and leaders of England and Scotland’s Protestant churches have denounced the criminalisation of homosexuality.

On Sunday (5 February) during a trip to South Sudan, Pope Francis said laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people are a “sin” and an “injustice”. Recently, he said being homosexual “isn’t a crime,” but that “it’s a sin.”

The Pope said those with “homosexual tendencies” should be welcomed by their churches. However, he reaffirmed that the Catholic Church cannot permit sacramental same-sex marriage.

“People with homosexual tendencies are children of God,” he added. “God loves them, God is with them.”

“The criminalisation of homosexuality is a problem that cannot be ignored,” the Pope continued.

He then cited that 50 countries criminalise LGBT people “in one way or another.” He went on to add about 10 others have laws including the death penalty for them.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 67 countries have laws that criminalise same-sex relations. 11 countries impose the death penalty.

“Criminalising people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice,”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Dr. Iain Greenshields, backed the Pope’s comments. 

Their joint trip calling for peace in the country is the first time the leaders of the three traditions have come together for such a journey in 500 years.

“I entirely agree with every word he said there,” Archbishop Welby added following the Pope’s comments.

Also expressing support, Dr. Greenshields pointed out that the Bible doesn’t condemn queer people.

“There is nowhere in the four Gospels that I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whoever he meets,” he said. “As Christians that is the only expression that we can give to any human being in any circumstance”.

Despite such comments, last month Church of England bishops refused to allow priests to marry same-sex couples in its churches.

The decision was made mid-January following a five-year consultation on the issue called Living in Love and Faith.

Though Pope Francis has previously expressed support for gay civil unions, in 2021 he allowed the release of a Vatican decree stating the Catholic Church would not be allowed to bless them as “God does not bless sin.”

The Pope also remains one of the most powerful barriers to LGBTQ equality in the world, remaining a staunch opponent of marriage equality.