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Before The Pope Met With Kim Davis, He Met With A Gay Couple

Pope Francis waves to schoolchildren after arriving at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Cliff Owen/AP hide caption

toggle caption Cliff Owen/AP

Pope Francis waves to schoolchildren after arriving at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24.

Cliff Owen/AP

Updated 7 p.m. ET

Pope Francis had a private meeting in Washington, D.C., with a gay couple a day before he met with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who spent time in jail last month for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Yayo Grassi, Francis' longtime friend from Argentina, spoke about the meeting during an interview with CNN. Grassi says that he and his partner, Iwan Bagus, and several others met with the pontiff at the Vatican Embassy on Sept. 23.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports:

"Grassi was a student of the pope when Francis taught in Argentina in the 1960s. He came with his partner. He says the pope has long known that he's gay but has never condemned him.

"Grassi says he believes the pope was misled into meeting Kim Davis, who has hailed her encounter as an endorsement of her defiance of US laws and refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses."

As we reported Friday morning, the Vatican has issued a statement on the meeting with Davis, saying it "should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects." It said the pontiff met with dozens of people at the embassy, but that "the only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family."

Bagus created a video of the encounter that shows Francis hugging and chatting with Grassi and the others.

The Vatican has declined to say who invited Davis to meet with Francis. Lawyers for Davis said that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano spoke with Davis about the invitation, adding that the private meeting was unsolicited, the Associated Press reports.

Vigano was named to the diplomatic position of Apostolic Nunciature to the United States by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

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