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Pope Calls for Civil Union Laws for Same-Sex Couples

Pope Francis arrives at the Paul VI Hall for the weekly general audience, keeping a distance from faithful due to the coronavirus disease, at the Vatican, Oct. 21, 2020. (Reuters)

Pope Francis has called for civil union laws for same-sex couples in what is a dramatic change from the Vatican's position on the subject.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They're children of God and have a right to a family," the pontiff says in a new documentary, "Francesco," according to the Catholic News Agency.

The Pope's statement came Wednesday during the premiere of the documentary at the Rome Film Festival.

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

According to CNA, the Pope opposed same-sex marriage in 2010 while he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

In the 2013 book "On Heaven and Earth," Pope Francis "did not reject the possibility of civil unions outright, but did say that laws 'assimilating' homosexual relationships to marriage are 'an anthropological regression.'"

In the book, CNA reported that Pope Francis said that if same-sex couples "are given adoption rights, there could be affected children. Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity."