Allies: Kim Davis and Pope Francis
The fledgling romance between the Pope and the LGBT community may be over.
Following the Vatican’s confirmation that the Pontiff did indeed meet with homophobic County Clerk Kim Davis, LGBT Catholics say his shocking action is nothing less than a slap in the face.
Ahead of his visit to the US last week, a petition and letter campaign by leading LGBT Catholic leaders urged the Pope to meet with them during the trip. A number of LGBT representatives were also invited by President Obama to attend a White House function at which Francis spoke.
The Pontiff simply ignored these requests and made no references to the LGBT guests at the White House, effectively snubbing the LGBT community. Now, the news that he instead chose to meet with Kim Davis has further deeply disappointed and hurt many.
“It’s nothing short of appalling that the Vatican would turn its back on countless LGBT members and families by lending its support to someone who has brought so much pain to LGBT families,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO & President of LGBT media group GLAAD.
“This sends a clear message that the Vatican simply doesn’t care about millions of devoted LGBT Catholics, who wish to be a part of the Church they love. Pope Francis must answer the call of LGBT Catholics and finally hear their stories of faith, family, and affliction.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin commented that the news of the meeting was “a shock to all those who were inspired by Pope Francis’ call for greater tolerance and inclusion” and said it showed support for “a public employee who has become synonymous with discrimination against LGBT people.”
He added: “And, it would be most disappointing to the dozens of LGBT faithful who gathered to welcome Pope Francis to Washington, D.C., and whose request for a meeting was declined.”
Margie Winters, who was fired from her job as Director of Religious Education at the Catholic Waldron Mercy Academy in Pennsylvania because she is married to a women, attended the White House ceremony with her wife, Andrea Vettori.
In a statement, Winters said: “We are greatly disappointed about reports that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis while he was in the United States. Many members of the Catholic LGBT community reached out to him, but our voices were not heard.”
She believes that the meeting was inconsistent with the Pope’s “many messages of pastoral openness, respect for the dignity of the human person, and gratitude.”
Davis has become a poster child for the so-called “religious freedom” movement, which argues that discrimination against LGBT people should be permitted on the basis of one’s religious views.
According to Davis’ account of the meeting, Francis thanked her for her courage and urged her to, “stay strong.” They embraced, and the Pope said he’d pray for her, after which he gave Davis and her husband rosaries that he had personally blessed.