Don't Expect Gay Rights to Advance Under Francis Richard Socarides: New pope's previous statements are pretty clear By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Mar 14, 2013 1:47 PM CDT 54 comments Comments In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis waves from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Wednesday. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano) (Newser) – Humble, yes. A champion of social justice and the underprivileged, sure. But Pope Francis is also a strict conservative on church doctrine, which means that even though polls show most Catholics favor gay marriage, the Vatican isn't about to soften its views on homosexuality, writes Richard Socarides at the New Yorker. Consider this quote from Francis when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires during the debate over gay marriage in Argentina: “Let’s not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” He also referred to gay adoption as "discrimination against children." In fact, the pope's handling of the debate is now seen as a good example of what not to do, and he will presumably want to avoid such strong language again, writes Socarides. But that's the only silver lining for advocates of gay rights. "Any Catholics who were hoping that new leadership would modernize (even a little) the Church and its teaching when it comes to the issue of homosexuality will likely be disappointed." Click for the full column. Or click to see a roundup of the pope's quotes on gay marriage at Salon.