In a departure from the position held by the Vatican's doctrinal office, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples in a documentary that aired in Rome, NBC News noted.
"Homosexuals have a right to be part of the family," the pontiff said in Francescoa documentary about his life, according to the Catholic News Agency. "They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.
"What we have to create is a civil union law. That way, they are legally covered. I stood up for that."
Francis spoke in a section of the movie about Andrea Rubera, a gay man who adopted three children with his partner. The movie also features Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse. Cruz said that during their first meetings in 2018, Francis assured him that God made him gay.
"Pope Francis took a significant step for inclusion and acceptance in the Catholic Church by embracing unions for same-sex couples and affirming that LGBTQ Catholics are a part of their religious family," said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David in a statement. "By shifting Catholic theology in a more inclusive direction and making clear that LGBTQ people have a right to their own families, Pope Francis is letting LGBTQ Catholics know that being a person of faith and being LGBTQ are not mutually exclusive. "