LGBTQIA+ Catholic Group Applauds Pope Francis Saying Being Gay “is Not a Crime,” Says Statement Could Improve Global Condition of Queer People
January 25, 2023. The world’s oldest Catholic group advocating for LGBTQIA+ equality is celebrating Pope Francis’ statement that “being homosexual isn’t a crime” in an interview with the Associated Press. DignityUSA says this welcome change in the Vatican’s position “could vastly improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ people around the world.”
“Since the Vatican led the opposition to a 2010 United Nations proposal to decriminalize homosexuality DignityUSA has repeatedly challenged our church leaders to reverse this stance,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director. “We have led nationwide witnesses at cathedrals across the U.S. for this purpose, held a rally at the United Nations, and called on Pope Francis to make a statement like this when he visited Africa in 2015. I served as an Advisor to the State Department on faith and LGBTQ+ issues during the Obama administration, and urged both Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama to make this their top request when they visited with Pope Francis.
Duddy-Burke noted that the Vatican’s stance on homosexuality has world-wide impact. “World leaders and legislators in many, many countries pay attention to what Catholic officials say. The Vatican’s support of criminalizing homosexuality has made life very dangerous for countless gay people in countries on nearly every continent. Shifting the stance and pushing for an end to making Queer identity illegal will make life safer for many people around the world,” she said.
Duddy-Burke said that DignityUSA stands ready to work with Vatican officials on the implications of this new position. “It is critical that the church’s bishops immediately end any support they have given to laws that make being gay or same-sex relationships illegal. We also call on Catholics in our own country and around the world to support equality and non-violence for their LGBTQIA+ neighbors.”