Pope Francis, a 76-year-old Argentine, who was elected pope on Wednesday, has a deep anti-gay history. His election is historic because he is the first Latin American pope, but it seems as though the historic changes will stop there.
Pope Francis is famed for advocacy on behalf of the poor, primarily within his home country, but he is also known for his fervent anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption beliefs. He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a "destructive attack on God's plan." He has also said that gay adoption is a form of "discrimination against children."
The pope was heavily involved in speaking out against same-sex marriage and pushed against a bill for same-sex marriage and gay adoption in Argentina, in 2010. While championing against the bill, the new pope wrote a letter to the four monasteries of Argentina.
"In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family ... At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts," he stated.
While the new pope did push passionately to block this bill, in 2010 Argentina did, in fact, pass a bill allowing same-sex marriage. This law made history, making Argentina the first Latin American country to legalize gay-marriage, according to the New York Times.
Herndon Graddick, president of GLAAD, addressed Francis' previous comments about gay adoption being a "discrimination against children," stating "the real discrimination against children is the pedophilia that has run rampant in the Catholic Church with little more than collusion from the Vatican."
While these anti-gay statements seem to be raising question marks in the gay and lesbian community, perhaps there could be hope and progress in the future. Francis' official biographer, Sergio Rubin, defended him as a noble man.
"Is Bergoglio a progressive -- a liberation theologist even? No," he told the Associated Press. "He's no third-world priest. Does he criticize the International Monetary Fund, and neoliberalism? Yes. Does he spend a great deal of time in the slums? Yes."
Pope Francis also visited and washed the feet of AIDS patients in 2001, according to the National Catholic Register.