The Mexican Catholic Church’s highest-ranking bishop agrees with recent comments by Pope Francis in support of legal protections offered by civil unions for gay couples, the prelate told Reuters, stressing that no family member should ever be rejected. Mexico is the second-biggest Catholic country after Brazil with around 80% of its nearly 130 million people affiliated with the church. It has historically been conservative-leaning on social issues. Cardinal Carlos Aguiar, archbishop of Mexico City, said in an interview that he backs the pope’s comments from a documentary that premiered in October and used previously unseen footage from an interview he gave to Mexican broadcaster Televisa. The comments marked the first time a sitting pope had advocated any legal protections for gay couples. “I completely agree,” said Aguiar, a long-time ally of Pope Francis, who spoke ahead of Saturday’s feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, one of the Mexican Church’s most important annual celebrations. In the documentary, entitled “Francesco,” the pope says, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family, they are children of god,” and “what we have to have is a civil union law, that way they are legally covered.” The pope’s comments did not signal any change in church doctrine on homosexuality or support for same-sex marriage, which the Vatican emphasized after the remarks made headlines across the globe.