What does the pope’s departure mean for the church’s stand on LGBT rights

If Pope Benedict had died in office, many LGBT activists would have been dancing on his grave. But we’re still seeing a fair amount of jubilation at the surprise news of his resignation, (perhaps) tempered by the lack of schadenfreude that the pope is not actually dead.

Dan Savage, for example, had this to say in a post on The Stranger’s “Slog”: “That Motherfucking Power-Hungry, Self-Aggrandized Bigot In the Stupid Fucking Hat Announces His Retirement.”

Pope Benedict has been consistently strident in his opposition to homosexuality, including devoting a special Christmas address to denouncing same-sex marriage in December. Towleroad greeted news of his resignation by posting a roundup of the pope’s anti-LGBT comments.

But if they’re hoping for a more gay-friendly replacement, they’re likely to be disappointed. He appointed several of the cardinals who will choose his successor, and others were selected by John Paul II appointees who helped pick Benedict. I leave it to those who know the church better to game the odds on his replacement, but the nature of the process makes it very unlikely that major change on this issue is in the works.

As the former head of Italy’s Arcigay Franco Grillini told Gay Star News, “Finally, one of the biggest enemies of LGBT people has resigned… But I know [the cardinals] very well and I’m sure that the next Pope will be as extremist as Benedict XVI was. “The cardinals are obsessed by homosexuality and by sex in general. Nothing is going to change.


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