Pope Francis has spoken out against laws that criminalize homosexuality.
In an interview with the AP, Francis called such laws "unjust."
"Being homosexual isn't a crime," he said.
"We are all children of God, and God loves us as we are and for the strength that each of us fights for our dignity," Francis said.
Francis also criticized bishops who support such laws, saying that these bishops should "have to have a process of conversion" and should apply "tenderness, please, as God has for each of us."
Consensual same-sex sexual activity is a crime in 67 countries or jurisdictions, according to The Human Dignity Trust, a group opposed to such laws.
Francis is speaking out ahead of a trip to Africa, where anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is high and laws criminalizing gay sex are common.
In his remarks, Francis reiterated the Church's position on gay sex being a sin but added that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect.
"It's not a crime. Yes, but it's a sin," he said
. "Fine, but first let's distinguish between a sin and a crime."
"It's also a sin to lack charity with one another," he added.