Pope’s dismissive comments on gay parents “harmful”


pope_francis_says_children_need_straight_parentsFollowing Rome’s Pride march on the weekend, Pope Francis has dismissed gay families, stating that children need a mother and a father as parents to thrive.

On Sunday, the pontiff told an audience of around 25,000 people in the Italian capital that the differences between men and women are “an integral part of being human” and that heterosexual marriages and parents are essential for children.

He asserted: “Children mature seeing their father and mother like this; their identity matures being confronted with the love their father and mother have, confronted with this difference.”

The comments were seemingly well-timed. A day earlier, on Saturday, thousands of people marched through Rome demanding the recognition of same-sex relationships.

Italy remains the only Western European nation that has not legalised same-sex unions or marriages, primarily due to the influence of the Catholic Church. Adoption by gay and lesbian couples is also not allowed.

Despite famously stating that he’s in no position to judge gay people, Pope Francis has previously described same-sex marriage as a threat to the family.

Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program, described the Pope’s comments as “harmful”.

“At a time when so many children across our world lack loving, welcoming homes, it is heartbreaking to hear Pope Francis dismiss a whole swath of potential LGBT parents who continue to prove that they are fully capable of providing safe and nurturing environments, just like many of their non-LGBT counterparts.”

She urged Francis, who is known to be “pro-science”, to follow the lead of scientists who have repeatedly shown that children from LGBT parents do as well as children from heterosexual parents.

“We call on the Pope and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to reconsider their harmful statements and renounce the message of exclusion that only serves to hurt all families,” Rivera said.

In February, the country’s highest court ruled that Italy’s Constitution does not give same-sex couples the automatic right to marriage equality.

Earlier this month, however, the Lower House of Italy’s Parliament made a promising move. It passed a motion calling on the government “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex.”

Over the last 20 years, numerous bills to recognise same-sex relationships have been rejected by the Italian Parliament.

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