France surrenders to the Vatican over plans for gay ambassador
France has finally backed down following a stand-off with the Vatican over the nomination of a gay ambassador.
More than a year ago, in January 2015, the French government selected openly gay diplomat Laurent Stefanini to head to the home of the Catholic Church.
It usually takes just weeks for a nomination to be approved – but it became clear in April 2015 that the Vatican was ‘freezing out’ the country’s selection of ambassador, refusing to respond to the nomination at all.
French President François Hollande had initially stood firm in the dispute rather than be seen to discriminate against his own diplomat.
However, after over a year-long stretch of silence from the Vatican, France surrendered today.
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Signalling the end of the dispute, Mr Stefanini was today instead nominated as France’s representative to UNESCO ( United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
The country will not nominate a new ambassador to the Vatican until 2017.
France previously nominated a gay ambassador to Vatican City in 2007 – but backed down after receiving no response from the Vatican.
Today’s news comes after the Vatican has re-asserted its anti-LGBT stance.
Speaking at the opening of a Synod last year, the Pope suggested that same-sex marriage is a ‘passing fad’.
Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.
Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped at last year’s Synod – and despite suggestions that the plans would return this year, it is clear that the Church has no plans to have another discussion surrounding the matter.
The Vatican has also maintained a silence after a report exposed that it was funding a ‘gay cure’ clinic for priests.