LGBTI activists urge Vatican to condemn homosexuality criminalization laws

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A group of more than 50 LGBTI rights advocates on April 5, 2019, met with a high-ranking Vatican official and renewed their calls for the Catholic Church to denounce laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations. (Photo by Jean-Pol Grandmont; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A group of more than 50 LGBTI rights advocates on Friday met with a high-ranking Vatican official and renewed their calls for the Catholic Church to condemn laws that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.

ILGA World in a press release said the activists met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, and presented him with “the preliminary findings of a research project” that focuses on the criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual relations in the Caribbean. National LGBT Bar Association Executive Director D’Arcy Kemnitz, ILGA World Co-Secretary General Luz Elena Aranda and IBM Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Tia Silas are among those who met with Parolin.

“On receiving the research, Cardinal
Parolin pointed out that the church is against all forms of violence, and
supports respecting the dignity of all persons,” said ILGA World. “He
also vowed to convey all information to the Holy Father to continue the
dialogue.”

Francis
DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group
that ministers to LGBTI Catholics, in a
statement
said the meeting “could
be the beginning of a new era of dialogue between the Catholic Church and the
LGBT community by working together for the common goal of ending
discrimination, violence, and legal penalties against LGBT people around the
world.” DeBernardo added, however, Parolin did not specifically condemn
laws that criminalize homosexuality.

“We had hoped for a
stronger statement from Cardinal Parolin in response to the information
presented by the LGBT advocates on human rights violations,” said
DeBernardo. “Parolin reaffirmed church teaching on human dignity and
opposition to violence of any sort, and he promised to inform the pope of the
meeting and to remain in touch with the leaders. But, the Vatican, and
especially Pope Francis, need to speak out more strongly against laws which
criminalize LGBT people and cultural attitudes which support and promote
violence against them. Vague generalizations will not suffice, nor will they be
effective.”

The Vatican’s tone towards
homosexuality and other LGBTI-specific issues has moderated under Pope Francis’
papacy. The church’s opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples, gay
men in the priesthood and homosexuality has not changed.

Friday’s meeting took place amid
renewed calls for the U.N. to strip the Vatican of its observer status over its
opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples, abortion and other issues.

The Washington Blade will update this story.

The post LGBTI activists urge Vatican to condemn homosexuality criminalization laws appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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