Janine Scott-dos Santos said she hesitated and prayed about the possibility of legalizing her relationship with her long-time partner. South Africa, where Ms. Scott-dos Santos lives with her partner and their 8-year-old son, legalized same-sex marriage in 2006. But it is only more recently that public attitudes have begun to shift there in terms of the acceptance of L.G.B.T. people. Ms. Scott-dos Santos said her eventual decision to commit to her partner was “exactly for what the pope is saying, to have our legal rights as a family protected.” Ms. Scott-dos Santos was referencing clips revealed this week in a new documentary that show Pope Francis urging families to accept their L.G.B.T. members and endorsing the idea of civil protections for same-sex couples—though the pope was careful not to endorse same-sex marriage. She said she is hopeful the pope’s words will encourage other people in her situation to take steps to ensure their families are protected under civil law, but she is unsure how much of an impact the pope’s words will have on shifting attitudes.