Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,”saying “being homosexual is not a crime”.
The pontiff stated that the Roman Catholic Church should do more to put an end to such legislation and that bishops should welcome L.G.B.T.Q. people into the church, especially in countries where such laws exist.
“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an exclusive interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.
Francis further said they a need of a clear distinction between sin and a crime when it came to homosexuality. The Catholic Church considers homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered” and a sin, but believes that people in the L.G.B.T.Q. community should be welcomed with respect and sensitivity.
“First, let us distinguish sin from crime,” Francis said during the 75-minute interview conducted on Tuesday in Santa Marta, the Vatican hotel he calls home. “But it is also a sin to lack charity with one another.”
Francis also quoted the catechism of the church, which teaches that L.G.B.T.Q. people should not be marginalized but welcomed.
In the U.S., more than 12 tates still have anti-sodomy laws on the books, despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling declaring them unconstitutional
Some 67 countries or jurisdictions especially in Africa and Middle East criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty,