Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of
more than 1.6 billion Roman Catholics, on Saturday held his first
public meeting with an LGBT rights activist.
Simon Cazal, executive director of LGBT
advocate SOMOSGAY (We Are Gay), was invited to join the conversation
with the pontiff as he visited Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.
He said that he was surprised by the
“We have to go. Ninety percent of
the country is Catholic; they all love the pope,” Cazal told CNN.
“We have to take this step because otherwise we are the ones who
are closing the doors.”
Cazal called the meeting – which
included hundreds of civil society leaders – “productive” and
quoted Pope Francis as saying, “There are no people of first, of
second or third class. Dignity is for everyone.”
Cazal married Sergio Lopez, who is also
involved in SOMOSGAY, in 2012 in neighboring Argentina, the first
South American nation to legalize such unions.
In April, SOMOSGAY announced a campaign
asking the Catholic Church to respect LGBT people in Paraguay.