Pope Francis meets with same-sex couple

Pope Francis meets with gay couple at Vatican Embassy in Washington

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Pope Francis held a private meeting with a same-sex couple at the Vatican Embassy in Washington during his visit to United States last week.

Yayo Grassi, a gay Argentinian man, travelled with his long-term partner Iwan Bagus to the Vatican Embassy for a brief visit with the Pope. Grassi and Francis greeted each other warmly and discussed his business but not discuss gay issues.

Earlier this week, the pontiff met well-known American gay marriage opponent Kim Davis and this was greeted with anger by many liberals and gay campaigners in the US.

Yayo Grassi, 67, and his male partner Bagus talked with the Pope for 15 minutes. Grassi and the Pope have known each other since the 1960s when Francis taught him literature and psychology in high school and they have kept in touch.

"What I can say is that he met with me knowing that I am gay, and we had an extraordinary, very moving conversation," Grassi said.

During their meeting, they had a conversation about their lives and Francis asked him about his catering company.

"Just two friends meeting after a long time," said Mr Grassi. "We didn't talk about gay issues or anything like that."

The Vatican approved the meeting and spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, "The Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue."

Both Grassi and his partner shared a video of the meeting on their Facebook pages.

Earlier on Friday the Vatican stated that the meeting with Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, should not be considered to have condoned her views. The Vatican added, “The only real audience granted by the Pope at the nunciature [embassy] was with one of his former students and his family.”

Grassi said the Pope has known about his sexual preference for a long time and has never criticised his same-sex relationship. ”He has never been judgmental... he has never said anything negative.” Grassi said.

Kim Davis was taken into federal custody last month for repeatedly refusing to issue same-sex marriage licences and has become a center of attention in the US, drawing both criticism and support.

The Apostolic Christian, jailed for being in contempt of court, told a US District Judge David Bunning that her religious beliefs should free her from the obligation of signing the licences.

"Marriage is a union between one man and one woman," Davis said in court while being questioned by her lawyer.

TRTWorld and agencies