The Vatican Shies Away From Condemning Criminalization And Conversion Therapy of LGBTIQ People

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Earlier today, on 5 April 2019, the Secretary of State of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin met international lawyers and civil society representatives who urged the papacy to take a strong stand against conversion therapy and criminalization of same-sex relations. Rumors about a historic speech on the topic expected to be delivered by Pope Francis after this meeting did not materialize and the Pope’s presence at the meeting was canceled, possibly pointing to a lack of consensus within the Catholic Church on the topic.

Too often LGBTIQ people have been, and continue to be, subjected to violence and persecution, harmful and ineffective “conversion therapies”, and have their very basic human rights denied in the name of religion, so-called morality, or other traditional religious values, forcing LGBTIQ people of faith to choose between their faith and their sexual orientation or gender identity, and inciting acts of violence and hate towards LGBTIQ people.

The Holy See has already previously condemned criminalization of same-sex relations during a United Nations General Assembly side event panel in December 2009. Cardinal Parolin did not renew this condemnation today.

Jessica Stern, OutRight’s Executive Director commented:

“In a world where LGBTIQ people have all too often experienced persecution, violence, discrimination and even murder in the name of the church, it is high time that the Catholic Church, one of the largest religious denominations in the world, takes a strong and clear stand against criminalization of homosexuality and conversion therapy of LGBTIQ people.

Let us not forget that the Holy See has already spoken out against criminalization of same-sex relations and violence on that basis. The lack of reiteration of this commitment today is concerning. It also coincides with the Holy See stepping up its opposition to what they call ‘gender ideology’, with particularly vicious and harmful implications for trans people. Their hateful rhetoric is not just within confines of the church, it is also at international platforms like the UN. Just last month the Holy See backed a number of efforts at the Commission on the Status of Women, advocating for the use of language that would specifically exclude LBI, and especially T, women from any subsequent gender equality promoting recommendations agreed by Member States. This marked an attack on the human rights of all women and created a dangerous blur between Church and State. For this reason, we support the call to revoke the Holy See’s observer status at the UN.”