Pope Francis made comments earlier this week signalling his support for same-sex civil unions.

Earlier this week, Pope Francis publicly called for the creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples, in a dramatic shift in his support of LGBTQ+ rights.

His comments have been received both warmly and harshly from Catholics around the world, with many activists hoping it could push Catholic countries to becoming more supportive of LGBTQ+ rights.

And one such country could be Venezuela, as the country’s disputed president Nicolás Maduro has called on his country’s Congress to look to legalising same-sex marriage in its next session.

Reuters reports that Maduro said: “I have friends and acquaintances who are very happy with what the Pope said yesterday. I will leave that task, the task of LGBT marriage, to the next National Assembly.”

The country is due to have its next elections for the National Assembly on 6 December 2020, however, opposition parties have pledged to boycott the election over fears that it will be rigged.

Maduro’s position as president is currently under dispute. In 2017, he created the Constituent Assembly, however elections to these were condemned for “irregular” voting patterns, including by Smartmatic, the company which ran the voting machines.

And then in 2018, Maduro called early presidential elections where many opposition leaders were either jailed, exiled from the country or barred from running.

Venezuela currently lags behind many other South American countries when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, with constitutional bans on same-sex unions and marriage since 1999.

The country also doesn’t allow for same-sex adoptions, LGBTQ+ people to serve in the military, and has no laws surrounding gender recognition.

Last year, Ecuador’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, voted in favour of same-sex marriage. The decision came as the court ruled on lawsuits from two pairs of men who wanted to get married, including a couple called Efrain Soria and Javier Benalcazar.

“I want to say hello to Javier, who is in Guayaquil. Honey, I love you,” Soria told reporters in Quito, while urging other LGBTQ people to “enjoy the happiness that comes from being equal, like anyone else”.

And earlier this week, Chile took a huge leap forward in recognising same-sex marriage as it got around to approving parts of a bill that was first brought in in 2017.

The Senate Constitution, Legislation, Justice and Regulation Commission has so far examined and approved 29 articles within the bill, however, there will be more detailed examination on a further 27 articles in the bill, where some senators want change.