The pope said in an interview that ‘being homosexual is not a crime’
Even though a lot of countries are already very accepting of the fact that love is love, some countries still have laws in place that criminalize homosexuality. And some of these laws are connected to some religious beliefs that homosexuality is a sin. But now, the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has challenged this in an interview with The Associated Press. He said that being gay is not a crime.
Even in the US, some states still have laws in place that criminalize certain sexual acts between two consenting adults. Even though the Supreme Court has ruled these laws ‘unconstitutional’, they are still sometimes used. And mostly against people who are not heterosexual. And now, with new laws like the ‘Don’t say gay’-bill in Florida, the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people continues.
According to the Guardian, the UN has been trying to put an end to the criminalization of homosexuality for years. The Pope supporting this message might help this cause. Pope Francis said that these kinds of laws are “unjust” and that the Catholic church should try and get these laws revoked. Some bishops within the church support the laws but Pope Francis believes these bishops need to have a “process of conversion”. The pope told The Associated Press that: “We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity.”
Even though this is a historic moment and advocates of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church have marked this as a big step, the pope does say that homosexuality is still a sin. According to the head of the Catholic church, homosexual acts are still considered sinful. But that doesn’t mean that gay people don’t deserve respect or dignity. He told AP: “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”
Reaching out to the LGBTQ+ community and making sure the church is a welcoming place for all people, has been one of the trademarks of Pope Francis’ papacy. According to Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the US-based advocacy group Glaad, the pope’s statement is a big step in the right direction. She told The Guardian: “His historic statement should send a message to world leaders and millions of Catholics around the world: LGBTQ people deserve to live in a world without violence and condemnation, and more kindness and understanding,”
Also read: First openly gay imam wants to help and support gay Muslims
Source: The Guardian, USA Today, ACLU | Image: Unsplash, Stanley Dai