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Pope and civil unions??

Pope and civil unions??

It is being reported, by blogger Christopher Hale, but not confirmed by news or Vatican sources, that Pope Francis, while a Cardinal in Argentina, gave tacit approval to civil union laws as a way of trying to hold off marriage equality:

Buried within several news reports is the stunning revelation that Pope Francis, then Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, may have quietly backed gay civil unions as an alternative to the gay marriage law that passed in Argentina in July 2010.


According to the new pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, Bergoglio was politically wise enough to know the church couldn’t win a straight-on fight against gay marriage, so he urged his bishops to lobby for gay civil unions instead. It wasn’t until his proposal was shot down by the bishops’ conference that he publicly declared what Paulon described as the “war of God” — and the church lost the issue altogether.

In addition, BuzzFeed reports:

When it became clear that stopping the marriage law would be impossible, the church may have tacitly given its backing to a civil union law as a way to head off the marriage bill. Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso, a member of Opus Dei and one of the politicians most closely linked to the Catholic Church, sponsored the civil union bill. (This would be like Rick Santorum having endorsed a civil union law in the United States.)

This Spanish-language transcript was provided to me by an Argentinian friend Natalia Jacovkis. It comes from Federico Wals, Cardinal Bergoglio’s spokesman in response to the 2010 proposal to legalize gay marriage in Argentina:

No buscamos discriminar a las uniones de personas del mismo sexo. No tenemos una mirada fanática. Lo que estamos pidiendo es que se respeten las leyes. …Creemos que hay que plantear un proyecto de unión civil más completo del que existe, pero no de matrimonio.


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David da Silva Cornell

“How about we begin with whatever we can get and go from there?”

The Argentine example — like that of other jurisdictions, including several US states — shows, however, that even when the opponents try to get folks to settle for a half loaf, holding out and refusing the half loaf can lead to being handed the full loaf instead.

In Argentina and these other jurisdictions, same-sex couples now have the rights, responsibilities, and benefits of full and equal marriage. Had they settled — on the basis of a misperception underestimating what actually constituted “whatever we can get” — they would instead now be in second-class, “separate and unequal” civil unions.

Don’t underestimate “whatever we can get.”

Peter Pearson

If someone is starving, does it matter to them what the intentions are of the person who is bringing them bread? Is not the immediate need to get nutrition? Sometimes the most amazing things come from less-than-skillful intentions. How about we begin with whatever we can get and go from there?


If true, he’s aligned w/ Liverpool CofE Bishop James Jones.

I find this kind of rear-guard action very disingenuous. If the proposal is for civil unions, they fight them tooth&nail. It’s only when CU’s are the “lesser alternative” (to full marriage equality), that they suddenly seem unobjectionable.

Equality: nothing more, and nothing LESS will do!

JC Fisher

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