Pope Francis will hold his first-ever meeting with a married gay activist during a visit to Paraguay next month.
The activist is Simón Cazal, executive director of the Paraguayan LGBT rights group SOMOSGAY, who married another SOMOSGAY activist, Sergio López, in neighboring Argentina in 2012. Though the pope has reportedly held pastoral meetings with some LGBT people, this meeting marks the first time he will publicly meet with an LGBT political activist. Cazal received an invitation on June 4 from the committee of the Paraguayan bishops’ conference to participate in a roundtable with the pope and civil society leaders. The invitation — provided to BuzzFeed News by SOMOSGAY — said it was extended in recognition of the “high impact of your organization on Paraguayan society.” The meeting will be held on July 11 in the capital, Asunción.
SOMOSGAY says the invitation to meet with the pope came as a surprise as they had not requested an audience during the papal visit. Paraguay currently does not offer any legal protections to its LGBT citizens and a constitutional ban on same-sex unions was enacted in 1992. Homosexuality has been legal there since 1880.