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POPE FRANCIS SAYS BEING GAY IS NOT A CRIME, GLAAD RESPONDS
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
POPE SPEAKS OUT AGAINST LAWS THAT CRIMINALIZE LGBTQ PEOPLE IN NEARLY 70 COUNTRIES
Pope Francis called laws that criminalize same-sex relationships “unjust,” stating that “being homosexual is not a crime” in an interview with the Associated Press today. The Pope also called for the Roman Catholic Church to play an active role in opposing and repealing those laws, recognizing that some bishops who advocate for criminalization and discrimination laws against the LGBTQ community must undergo “a process of conversion,” welcome LGBTQ people into the church, noting “it’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, released the following statement:
“Pope Francis denounced laws in nearly 70 countries that criminalize LGBTQ people and called on the Roman Catholic Church to take an active role in repealing those laws. 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. Other influential voices in faith, government, business, sports, and entertainment should now similarly speak out on outdated laws that criminalize the lives and relationships of LGBTQ people and that negatively impact travel and business in these countries.”
Ellis continued: “Today’s statements from Pope Francis are a game changer in the fight to decriminalize LGBTQ people and also illustrate the work that needs to be done with religious leaders to finally show that being LGBTQ is not a sin.”
Pope Francis said to the AP: “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.” He then continued by noting that mistreating LGBTQ people is a sin as well: “It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
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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