Faced with the likelihood that same-sex marriage would be legalized in Argentina in 2010, the head of the Argentina Bishop’s Conference, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, wanted the church to support civil unions as ‘the lesser of two evils.”
Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis I, was rebuked over the idea by the other bishops, according to the pope’s authorized biographer. Bergoglio went on to become the public face of opposition to the marriage equality law proposed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
In a letter asking for prayer from Argentine monasteries, Bergoglio blasted same-sex marriage “an attempt to destroy God’s plan” and called adoption by gay and lesbian couples a form of discrimination against children.
Despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, the law passed in July 2010 and made Argentina the first South American nation to recognize same-sex marriage.
Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “medieval,” met privately with the new pontiff Monday at the Vatican.
“I saw him serene, confident, at peace, calm and also busy and concerned, not just about the enormous task that will be governing the Vatican State, but also about the commitment to changing the things he knows must change,” she said at a news conference after the meeting.