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POPE FRANCIS COMPELS OTHER GLOBAL FAITH LEADERS TO REAFFIRM THAT LAWS CRIMINALIZING LGBTQ PEOPLE ARE UNJUST, THAT CONDEMNING GAY PEOPLE “IS A SIN” AND URGING PARENTS TO ACCEPT AND LOVE THEIR GAY CHILDREN
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is responding to historic remarks from Pope Francis and leaders of the Anglican Communion and Presbyterian church in calling for gay people to be welcome in their churches, and that restating that laws making being gay a crime are as “unjust.”
The Pope and other Christian leaders spoke out on LGBTQ rights in an unprecedented airborne joint news conference on Sunday, February 5th, while returning from South Sudan, one of 67 countries that still criminalizes same-sex relationships and behavior.
Pope Francis was asked about his recent comments to the AP in which he declared that criminalization laws are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”
“To condemn someone like this is a sin,” Pope Francis said on Sunday. “Criminalizing people with homosexual tendencies is an injustice.” The AP reported that the Pope repeated previous comments that parents should never throw their gay children out of the house, noting they “are children of God. God Loves them. God accompanies them.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, affirmed the Pope’s words, “I wish I had spoken as eloquently and clearly as the pope. I entirely agree with every word he said.”
The Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields, the Presbyterian moderator of the Church of Scotland agreed. “There is nowhere in the four Gospels where I see anything other than Jesus expressing love to whomever he meets. And as Christians, that is the only expression that we can possibly give to any human being, in any circumstance.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, released the following statement:
“Pope Francis is doubling down to make it clear that laws and actions that persecute, criminalize, or ostracize LGBTQ people are sinful and unjust. He’s demonstrating leadership by compelling other faith leaders to join him condemning criminalization laws. This is the moral leadership needed in all facets of society. We need more voices speaking up against the criminalization and persecution of LGBTQ people in the U.S. and around the world.”
ABOUT CRIMINALIZATION OF LGBTQ PEOPLE
GLAAD has been working to raise awareness about the criminalization of LGBTQ people around the world, most recently speaking about the issues during last week’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
There are currently 67 countries around the world with laws on the books that criminalize private same-sex relationships among consenting adults. All of those countries criminalize same-sex relationships among men and 41 do so among women, while 11 countries include the death penalty as punishment.
LGBTQ criminalization laws are often one part of larger human rights abuses and have been used to justify home raids, attacks, imprisonment, and family and societal rejection of LGBTQ people. In at least 26 countries, authorities public order, vagrancy and misdemeanor offenses to harass, arrest and prosecute transgender people. Blackmail, extortion, and physical and sexual violence is commonplace.
Still, in recent years, social acceptance of LGBTQ people has increased around the globe. Many nations have made progress in decriminalizing same-sex behavior, including Singapore, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda. At the same time, several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Ghana, and Indonesia, have recently passed various laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people and organizations.
The AP notes more than a dozen states in the U.S. have anti-sodomy laws on the books despite a Supreme Court decision in 2003 declaring them unconstitutional. In his concurrence in the decision overturning Roe v Wade, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas called for the Lawrence ruling to be reconsidered.
ABOUT LGBTQ PEOPLE OF FAITH
In the U.S., 47% of LGBTQ people consider themselves religious. One in seven highly religious LGBTQ people are in a same-sex relationship.
According to a 2022 poll, majorities of all religious groups favor state laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. This includes support from a majority of Hispanic Catholics (80%), white Catholics (80%), and white Evangelical Protestants (60%).
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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