A Catholic priest in Argentina has been expelled from the church following an investigation after he voiced his support for equal marriage in the country.
The investigation into the priest, Jose Nicholas Alessio, was previously led by the new Pope, Francis, then known as Jorge Bergoglio, and then archbishop of Buenos Aires.
In 2010, Argentina’s Senate voted 33-27 to support a bill to legalise equal marriage. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner supported the legislation, making Argentina the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, and full adoption.
Originally suspended in 2010, and rejecting the opportunity to retract his statements, Alessio has now been expelled entirely, and said he was very disappointed in the decision of his archbishop’s office, which confirmed his expulsion.
“More than 30 years serving God’s people has meant nothing for the Catholic Church. All it took to get thrown out was having an opinion different from that of the archbishop,” he said.
Around 6,000 same-sex couples have reportedly wed in Argentina since the new law came into practice.
Upon his appointment, ministers in Denmark dubbed the newly elected Pope Francis “harmful”, expressing disappointment that the Vatican did not choose someone more progressive on LGBT and women’s rights, but remain hopeful that he may prove them wrong.
71 of 92 politicians in the lower house voted for equal marriage, the country’s president Jose Mujica is expected to sign the bill into law today. The bill to legalise same-sex marriage passed the Senate 23 votes to eight last week.