Fine Gael Senator and LGBT advocate Jerry Buttimer has welcomed Pope Francis’ defending of civil unions but said action and not just words is needed.
In a new documentary entitled Francesco, the Pope said that same sex couples should be protected by civil union laws.
"Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it," he said in the documentary made by Oscar-nominated director Evgeny Afineevsky.
He said that what needs to be created is a civil union law under which same sex couples would be “legally covered”.
Speaking to The Echo about the Pope’s comments, Senator Buttimer said that that it was a “positive step in the right direction”.
“I think the movement by the Pope in terms of recognition of civil union and of equality between all people is a positive step in the right direction but we obviously have a long way to go,” he said.
Senator Buttimer said that although there is hope for change that many members of the LGBT community have been “hurt by the church and by their language and teachings”.
“I welcome the papal declaration and think it’s a remarkable step taken by the Pope to recognise that LGBT members of the community have the right to be part of a family but again it needs to be in tandem with adopting those words and taking action within the church and I look forward to seeing that happen.
“Until we see a complete change within the church then they are only words but something should now happen in tandem with the statement,” he said.