Pope Francis has called for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples while being interviewed for a new documentary film.
"Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God," Francis said in one of his sit-down interviews for the documentary, according to the Catholic News Agency
. "What we have to have is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
This is the first time Francis has come out publicly in favor of civil unions as pope, which appeared to break with the position of the Roman Catholic Church.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples, but he criticized a gay marriage bill passed into law in Argentina in 2010 as a "destructive attack on God's plan.”
He has also been opposed to adoption by gays.
The feature-length documentary Francesco
had its premiere at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday.