WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 21, 2015 — On the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis to the United States, the National LGBTQ Task Force is making the following statement – through the words of Russell Roybal, National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director.
“As an LGBTQ catholic myself, I would like to welcome the Pope to the United States. In fact, one of the Task Force’s founders, the late Father Robert Carter, was a Jesuit like Pope Francis.
I think many LGBTQ people of faith were pleasantly surprised when the Pope made his ‘who am I to judge (LGBTQ people)’ comment to journalists early into his pontificate. We had hoped that this would lead to rapid changes in church doctrine that currently negatively impacts LGBTQ people — from its opposition to marriage equality to reproductive rights.
Sadly we still wait to see whether the Pope will use his immense power to make these important changes that could positively change the lives of millions — and that better reflect the views of the majority of Catholics in the United States. That said, he has highlighted the importance of fixing our broken immigration system and tackling issues such as poverty, homelessness and economic disparity — views that put him completely at odds with high profile conservative politicians such as Rick Santorum, also a Catholic.
We hope Pope Francis will substantively move from kind words to real actions — and that he uses his trip to these shores as an opportunity to transform the church into a force for welcoming LGBTQ people and truly affirming the realities of our lives.”
The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. For over forty years, we have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level.