By Kim Glovas

By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pope Francis’ remarks to reporters about gays and lesbians on his return trip to Rome from Rio de Janeiro are being noticed by those in the LGBT community.

Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, says he was surprised by the Pope’s remarks. Martin says Pope Francis’ comments saying he won’t judge priests for their sexual orientation were remarkable.

READ: Pope Francis: ‘Who am I to judge’ gay clergy?

“I really hope that this leads to a larger conversation within the church, within its confines, in its pews and outside, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people need to be treated with equality, and deserve dignity and equality. To be honest, and that’s what I hope it means.”

Martin says overwhelmingly, American and Pennsylvania Catholics have been way ahead of the church leadership on this issue.

“Many people in the pews, if not the majority in the pews will say, ‘Holy Father, welcome, it’s about time.’ I think that’s generally going to be their response.”

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