PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a shift from Vatican stance, Pope Francis is now calling for a civil union law to protect same-sex couples.

The Catholic News Agency reports that the Pope’s remarks come in a new documentary that premiered Wednesday in Rome.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film, of his approach to pastoral care.

The remarks depart from the position of the Vatican’s doctrinal office and the pope’s predecessors on the issue.

The comments are likely to spark controversy among Catholics, which numbered more than 600,000 in the Pittsburgh area in 2016.

Pope Francis took his comments one step further, weighing in directly on the issue of civil unions for same sex couples.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”

“Francesco,” a documentary on the life and ministry of Pope Francis is set to make its North American premiere on Sunday.