Pope Francis has no problem with people of the same sex getting married.
The Pope has given his most straightforward support to same-sex civil unions in what would likely further infuriate his conservative detractors in the Roman Catholic congregation.
The Pope's comments were made halfway through a film called "Francesco," which premiered at the Rome Film Festival on Wednesday. "They're children of God and have a right to a family," he said in the feature-length documentary.
In order for gay marriage to be legit, Francis stressed that "What we have to create is a civil union law...I stood up for that," the Guardian quoted him as saying in Spanish.
His social viewpoint is a departure from the position of his predecessors and the comments he made is expected to trigger another debate within the Vatican on morality and spark a denouncement from detractors who claim the pope has extricated himself from the church's long-held beliefs.
The Catholic Church has long opposed the concept that couples of the same sexual orientation should be granted legal protection. Such was the case in Italy where civil unifications are viewed as something different from actual matrimony, which remains a choice between a male and a female partnership.
Francis' comment came in the final leg of the U.S. election campaign in which both President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden have enthusiastically courted voters from the Catholic church.
The Vatican leader's comment elicited support from prominent Jesuits, including Fr. James Martin who asserted that the church should not shut its doors to LGBT people. "Pope Francis's support for same-sex civil unions is a major step forward in the church's support of LGBTQ people," he tweeted.
Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry lauded Francis' comments, saying it was a "historic" shift for a religious organization known for oppressing gays.
But the Pope's position did not sit well with Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island. "The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships," The Associated Press quoted him as saying.