FRANKFORT, KY, March 6, 2014 ( – Pope Francis has unequivocally opposed same-sex “marriage.” As a cardinal he went so far as to call it a “machination of the Father of lies.” But that hasn’t stopped Catholic politicians from claiming him as their inspiration when they take part in overturning the traditional definition of marriage.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, a Catholic Democrat, became the latest to do so when he explained to Time magazine this week his decision not to defend his state’s marriage laws after a federal judge ruled Kentucky must recognize out-of-state same-sex “marriages.”

In the words of Time:


A Catholic and a Democrat considering running for governor in 2015, Conway said he knew the decision could put him at odds with voters and with church leaders in his hometown. His thinking was shaped partly by statements from Pope Francis that encouraged openness toward gays. “Our new pope recently said on an airplane ‘Who am I to judge.’ The new pope has said a lot of things that Catholics like me really like. I have, as someone who grew up as a Catholic listened to some of the words of the new pope and found them inspirational.”

Catholic legislators in Illinois also cited this papal line, taken from an interview on his flight home from World Youth Day in Rio, in justifying their vote for same-sex “marriage” in the fall.

Click “like” if you support TRADITIONAL marriage.

Conway told Time that he sees bans on same-sex “marriage” as the “last vestige of widespread discrimination in America,” in the magazine’s words.

“I know where history is going on this,” he said. “I know what was in my heart.”

“Where we are as a country now, this really seems to be the only minority group that a significant portion of our society thinks it’s still okay to discriminate against.”

Kentucky passed an amendment to its state constitution in 2004 upholding marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It was backed by 75 percent of voters. But on February 12 U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II ruled that the state must recognize same-sex “marriages” contracted in other states or foreign countries.

Pro-family leaders in the state accused Conway of throwing the case.

After Conway said he would not defend Kentucky law, Gov. Steve Beshear, also a Democrat, announced the state would hire outside lawyers.

While the pope has upheld Church teaching on marriage, his views on state recognition of same-sex civil unions are unclear. Since his election, rumors have circulated suggesting the pope proposed that Argentina’s bishops support civil unions as a compromise measure when the country was preparing to pass same-sex “marriage.”

In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Serra, published this week, the pope said, “Secular states want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of cohabitation, pushed by the demand to regulate economic aspects between persons, such as ensuring health care. It is about pacts of cohabitating of various natures, of which I wouldn’t know how to list the different ways.”

The Vatican condemned state recognition of same-sex unions in a 2003 document, insisting that “civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience.”