Pope Francis backs consciencious objection to marriage licenses for gay couples

Pope Francis visits the U.S.As he spoke to reporters while returning home from his trip to the United States and Cuba, Pope Francis said on Monday government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.

The Pontiff did weigh in on several of the United States’ most contested political debates over the course of his visit, but never specifically referred to the controversy over same-sex marriages, which the Church firmly opposes.

On the flight, he was asked if he supported individuals, including government officials, who refuse to abide by some laws, including issuing marriage licences to gays.

The Pope stated clearly that “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.”

Earlier this month a Kentucky city official named Kim Davis went to jail because she refused to issue a marriage licence to a gay couple following a Supreme Court decision to make homosexual marriage legal.

Davis’s case has taken on national significance in the clash between freedom of religion and the SCOTUS’ bench-based reinterpretation of marriage beyond one man and one woman.

Francis added, “I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection but, yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.”

 

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