Pope Francis met with a same-sex couple just before his "brief meeting" with the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, CNN reported Friday.
The revelation that the gay couple had a private meeting with the pope came just hours after the Vatican distanced itself from Kim Davis, insisting that her meeting with the pope was not a papal endorsement of her defiance of the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal in the United States.
One of the two men was an old friend of Pope Francis from Argentina, CNN reported. "Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man, brought his partner, Iwan, as well several other friends to the Vatican Embassy on September 23 for a brief visit with the Pope. A video of the meeting shows Grassi and Francis greeting each other with a warm 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 issued an unusual statement to distance itself from Davis, who has been using her meeting with Pope Francis to suggest Pope Francis supported her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
The "brief meeting" during the pope's visit to Washington, D.C., was not a "real audience" with the pope and was only one of dozens "due to the Pope's characteristic kindness and availability."
A anti-same-sex marriage group that provides public relations and legal help for Davis quoted the pope telling Davis "Thank you for your courage" and "Stay strong" during a 10-minute meeting at the Vatican's embassy in Washington, D.C., Thursday September 24, 2015.
Davis told ABC News meeting the pope gave her a renewed sense of purpose. "I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes," she said. "I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me."
She spent six days in jail last month after being found in contempt of court for defying a judge's order to issue same-sex marriage licenses to comply with June's Supreme Court order on the matter. Davis cited "God's authority" in her refusal.
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