Civil unions provide same-sex couples with a legal framework equivalent to the marriage of heterosexual couples. Countries that make civil unions legal say it protects LBGTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) persons without destroying the sanctity of marriage as Christians know it.
BVI News asked Bishop John Cline, leader of the New Life Baptist Church, to state his position on the Pope’s endorsement. He said the Pope’s position may seem right from a human rights standpoint, but is wrong in the eyes of God.
“The Pope is still a man and as long as we are human, we have room for error and we always have room to go against God. It is my belief, in this instance, that the Pope is wrong. So he can endorse it from a humanistic standpoint and a human rights standpoint. But from a theological standpoint, I don’t see the grounds,” Bishop Cline said.
He added that as a minister of the gospel, he cannot endorse civil unions simply because God doesn’t approve of homosexuality.
“My position is what I understand God’s position to be. As far as I can tell from the Bible, marriage was designed to be a relationship between a man and a woman. And as far as I can tell, there is no Biblical or theological basis for same-sex marriages. If God is against it, then I don’t have the right to for it,” Bishop Cline said.
The Pope made the endorsement in a new documentary about his life and work. And in the film titled ‘Francesco’, he said, “homosexual people have a right to be in a family”.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the Pope said.
According to the BBC, the film also shows Pope Francis encouraging two gay men to raise their children in a parish church.
The Pope’s comments in the film are a departure from his usual stance on LGBTQ rights. In the past, he has said every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity.
The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world and the BVI is home to at least three Catholic churches.