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Pope Francis Endorses Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples For First Time As Pope

BOSTON (CBS/AP) -- Pope Francis has endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope, a major shift for the Vatican and Catholic Church. His remarks were revealed Wednesday in the documentary "Francesco," premiering at the Rome Film Festival.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it," Pope Francis said in the film, according to the Catholic News Agency .

"What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered," the pope said in the film. "I stood up for that."

While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis endorsed civil unions for gay couples as an alternative to same-sex marriages.

"It's been a long time coming for many Catholic LGBTQ Americans," said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLAD. "It's in line with the growing support across the nation."

There has been no comment yet from the Boston Archdiocese. Massachusetts was the first state in the U.S. to pass a law allowing same-sex marriage in 2004.

"It is clear and blatant Catholic teaching that we are to have regard for the dignity of every person," said Ernest Collamati, a professor of theology at Regis College in Weston.

The Archdiocese of Boston is the fourth largest archdiocese in the U.S. with more than 1.8 million Catholics, according to its website.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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