US Archbishop bans discussion of gay rights during Pope visit

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An Archbishop has banned people from discussing LGBT rights during a Philadelphia conference that is set to be attended by the Pope.

The head of the Catholic Church is set to travel to the United States in September, and will attend the ‘World Meeting of Families’.

It is expected that at least 15,000 people will attend the Catholic event, which will feature a range of lectures and workshops.

However, discussion of LGBT rights will be off the table at the event according to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has warned it is not a “lobbying opportunity”.

He told the press: “We hope that everyone feels welcome to come, and certainly people who have experienced same-sex attraction are certainly welcome like anyone else.

“But we don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our church, so we’re not providing that kind of lobbying opportunity.”

Though some media reports claim he said gay families are welcome, the phrase “people who have experienced same-sex attraction” is generally used in anti-gay religious circles to refer to people who have ‘cured’ their sexuality or abstain from sex.

There is one gay man scheduled to talk across the five-day event, Ron Belgau – a gay Catholic who abstains from sex because he believes his homosexual acts are sinful.

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.