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Could the Catholic Church Support Same-sex Civil Unions?



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Pope Francis has indicated that while the Catholic Church continues to oppose same-sex marriage, the Church may be able to support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. His remarks, made during an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera and published today, reiterated the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, he stressed it is important to “look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety.” For example, the pontiff noted that civil unions provide financial security to same-sex couples living together with regard to issues such as medical care.

In America, the pontiff’s comments are likely to be welcomed by Catholics, as majorities of both white Catholics (58 percent) and Hispanic Catholics (56 percent) support legalizing same-sex marriage. Support among American Catholics has grown significantly during the past decade, from only about one-third (35 percent) of the group expressing support for legalizing same-sex marriage in 2003 to a nearly 6-in-10 (57 percent) in 2013.

For a look at where other American religious groups fall on this issue, be sure to check out PRRI’s recently released report on same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.