The State Department has welcomed the recent comments made by Pope Francis against criminalization laws, according to a statement made by spokesperson Ned Price. Price stated that the Pope’s use of his platform to address this issue will have a significant impact on people and governments around the world, as he speaks with a level of authority that cannot be matched. Price referred to President Joe Biden’s memorandum which commits the United States to promoting LGBTQ and intersex rights abroad as part of the country’s overall foreign policy.
Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Rt. Rev. Ian Greenshields of the Church of Scotland spoke out against criminalization laws in South Sudan and encouraged their respective churches to welcome LGBTQ and intersex people. During an interview with the Associated Press in January, Pope Francis referred to criminalization laws as “unjust” and stated that “being homosexual is not a crime.”
While the Vatican’s stance on LGBTQ and intersex issues has softened since Pope Francis assumed the papacy in 2013, the church still considers homosexuality a sin and remains opposed to marriage rights for same-sex couples. However, Price emphasized that the administration and government will continue to take practical steps to promote and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.