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Pope Francis

Leaders of major religious groups in the country are not supporting Pope Francis’s endorsement of same-sex civil unions.

They all shared one main reason – it is against the doctrines of their respective religious teachings and therefore it is not God’s will.

The Pope made the startling remarks in a documentary filmed entitled Francesco. According to AP news, the Pope stated, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

While the local Roman Catholic Church is awaiting official communication from the Vatican before commenting on this sensitive matter, representatives from other Christian faiths, the Muslim and Hindu bodies, have made it clear that they don’t agree or support the Pope’s stance.

However, the Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO) is hoping that the Pope’s “powerful” remarks would soften the country’s stance on same-sex relationships.

Contacted for a comment, T&T Council of Evangelical Churches Rev Desmond Austin said he hopes the Pope’s statement was taken out of context.

“For indeed if it is an endorsement of same-sex civil unions I want the entire world to know that a million Popes cannot change God’s word.”

He added, “No man, no religion, no government can alter the divine plan for marriage which obviously is the foundation of any moral society. I will not and cannot give my endorsement if this is indeed true that Pope Francis has given endorsement to same-sex civil unions.”

Haji Imtiaz Ali of The Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA) said same-sex civil unions are against the Islamic teachings.

“The Islamic law is fixed and Muslims do not believe in same-sex marriages and we would not agree with what he said,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha’s legal advisor Dinesh Rambally said, “The position of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha has traditionally been that while we respect individual rights to privacy and we respect their freedom same-sex we do not support same sex marriages.”

He noted that this was also the SDMS’s stance in the recent case of LGBTQI activist Jason Jones versus the state regarding laws that he contended were infringing their constitutional rights.

Rev Winston Mansingh, president of the Faith-Based Network, said the Pope speaks for the Roman Catholic church.

“The Bible is what the rest of us adhere to and the biblical teaching tells us first that we must love all regardless of sexual orientation and so we express love, compassion and common humanity to each person. But in adherence to our biblical text and our spiritual and moral position, we also do not accept or endorse any lifestyle that is inconsistent with that of the biblical position of the natural family which is between one biological male and a biological female.”

But for Robinson, the Pope’s stance is historic.

He said, “It is important that people model leadership around inclusion of LBGTI people and it is thrilling to see the Pope take yet another step in that direction. Catholic doctrine is still a little tricky around these issues in that you know he doesn’t really want us to have sex but he wants us to be legally protected and that’s a powerful message and it’s a message where politicians need to catch up.”

He said the Pope’s statements would deter people from campaigning against recognition and protection of LBGQI people because “clearly they won’t be able to do so in the name of the church.”

“With the Pope and Mia Mottley on your side you know that you are doing okay,” he added.