Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unfair”He said that God loves all his children just the way they are and called on Catholic bishops who support those laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the Church.
“Being homosexual is not a crime” Francisco said during an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and referred to homosexuality as a “sin”. However, he attributed those attitudes to cultural contexts and said that bishops in particular must also go through a process of change to recognize the dignity of all.
“The bishop also has a conversion process,” he said, adding that they should show “tenderness, please, tenderness, as God has with each one of us.”
Some 67 countries or jurisdictions around the world criminalize consensual sexual relations between people of the same sex and 11 of them can or do apply the death penalty, according to The Human Dignity Trust, which works to end those laws. Experts point out that even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.
In the United States, more than a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling that declared them unconstitutional. LGBTQ rights advocates say such outdated legislation is being used to harass homosexuals and point to new rules — such as Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” — that bans education about sexual orientation and gender identity among kindergartners. childhood and third grade, as evidence of ongoing efforts to marginalize LGBTQ people.
The United Nations has repeatedly called for the abandonment of laws that criminalize homosexuality and affirms that they violate the rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination, in addition to failing to comply with the obligations of those countries under international law to protect the human rights of everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.