Pope Francis — under fire from same-sex marriage advocates for his private meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis last week — also had a closed-door talk with a man who has been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years, CNN reports
Yayo Grassi, an old friend of the pontiff from Argentina, had a brief visit with him one day before Francis met with Davis.
Grassi brought along his partner, Iwan, and several other friends for the meeting at the Vatican Embassy in Washington. A video shows the Pope and Grassi greeting each other with a hug.
"Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug," Grassi told CNN.
The Vatican on Friday said the pontiff's meeting with Davis — who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses on religious grounds, in defiance of a court order — was not meant as a show of support
Grassi told CNN that Francis has "never been judgmental."
"He has never said anything negative. Obviously he is the pastor of the church and he has to follow the church's teachings," Grassi said.
"But as a human being he understands all kinds of situations, and he is open to all kinds of people, including those with different sexual characteristics."
Francis' meeting with Davis was originally kept secret and criticized as a mistake during an otherwise positive trip to the United States.
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