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LGBTQ group provides insight into Pope Francis' endorsement of same-sex couple civil union protections

While the Pope's statement is being viewed as progress by some LGBTQ organizations, some believe there's still much work to be done in providing true equality.

SAN ANTONIO — The LGBTQ non-profit organization Pride San Antonio is calling comments made by Pope Francis in support of same-sex couples a step in the right direction. 

“Religion sometimes can serve to do great things, but it also can oppress certain people and some people feel very shamed by their religion and this is a step in the right direction. Hopefully other groups of faith kind of follow the lead,” said James Poindexter, secretary of Pride San Antonio, an organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community. 

During an interview in the documentary, “Francesco,” the Pope endorsed same-sex civil unions by stating, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God…You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this.” 

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis opposed same-sex marriage but voiced support for civil union protections for same-sex couples. He had never publicly supported civil unions as Pope before now. 

Poindexter wishes the Pope could have gone a step further and outright approved same-sex marriage. 

“Would we have wanted it to be a bigger step for the Catholic church, sure but you know, this is huge for him and huge for the Catholic church,” Poindexter said. 

The Archbishop of San Antonio emailed KENS 5 a statement in response to the Pope’s comments.  

“I have not seen the documentary film “Francesco,” which premiered October 21 in Rome. According to news reports I have read, Pope Francis spoke briefly in the film regarding civil unions. He has addressed this issue in the past, when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and in prior interviews. He is NOT advocating for same-sex marriage. I am sure in the coming days the pope will offer clarifying comments and speak more in depth regarding his remarks in the documentary. The Holy Father remains daily in my prayers,” said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.  

Dignity San Antonio has served the local LGBTQ Catholic community for over 30 years. 

Poindexter believes organizations such as Dignity SA are bound to feel emboldened after hearing Pope Francis statement on civil union protections.