France is refusing to back down over the selection of an ambassador – after nominating a gay man to go to Vatican City.

It emerged earlier this month that the country’s government had selected openly gay diplomat Laurent Stefanini to head to the home of the Catholic Church – which remains opposed to LGBT rights.

However, it was reported that the Vatican was snubbing the country’s selection of ambassador – refusing to answer the nomination which had been filed in January.

Despite silence from the Vatican, France is refusing to rescind Mr Stefanini’s nomination – in an apparent bid to either force the Vatican to either accept it or openly reject it.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told France24: “France has chosen its ambassador to the Vatican. This choice was (Laurent) Stefanini and that remains the French proposal.

“Negotiations are underway. Every ambassador must be approved when they are nominated… we are awaiting the response from the Vatican.”

François Hollande’s government has implemented a number of reforms on LGBT issues, introducing same-sex marriage in 2013. However, there is still considerable opposition from right-wing parties and Catholics.

France previously nominated a gay ambassador to Vatican City in 2007 – but backed down after receiving no response from the Vatican.

A source in Rome told AFP: “A delay of three months like this is not normal.”

Despite a recent PR blitz attempting to bolster his gay-friendly image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.

He has also rallied against same-sex marriage, inviting representatives from listed hate groups to a ‘traditional marriage’ conference last year, and recently urged Slovakians to vote against equal marriage.

The Catholic leader has also compared transgender people to nuclear weapons.