UK
02/10/2015 18:54 BST | Updated 02/10/2015 18:59 BST

Pope Francis Met Gay Couple, As Well As Kim Davis, During US Visit, Vatican Says

The Vatican distanced Pope Francis from Kim Davis on Friday after it was revealed that the pontiff took a meeting with the anti-gay marriage clerk during his US visit.

The Kentucky clerk, who is notorious for refusing to issue marriage licences to gay couples, did meet with the pope last week, but their encounter "should not be considered a form of support of her position," the Vatican said.

Furthermore, the pope's "only real audience" in Washington was with a gay student and his family, who later identified himself as Yayo Grassi.

pope

Pope Francis

Mr Grassi, 67, has known the pope since Francis, 78, taught him literature and psychology at a high school in Argentina in the 1960s.

The pair have stayed in touch ever since, Reuters reports.

"What I can say is that he met with me knowing that I am gay and we had an extraordinary, very moving conversation," Grassi said.

The news is a twist on Davis' camp championing her meeting with the pope as an endorsement for her actions.

kim davis

Kim Davis

On Tuesday night, her lawyer, Mathew Staver said that Davis and her husband, Joe, met with the pope for about 15 minutes after being sneaked into the Vatican Embassy in Washington by car.

Yet the pope's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombard, said Davis' "brief" meeting that afternoon was by no means a papal endorsement of her cause, the Associated Press reported.

"The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects," Lombardi said.

"The only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family," he added.

When questioned by reporters on Wednesday, the pontiff said that it was a "human right" for government officials to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.

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