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Gay envoy to Vatican 'remains the French proposal', says government spokesman

The Vatican has dragged its feet in approving the gay ambassador picked by French President François Hollande AFP

France says it will stand by its choice to send a gay diplomat to the Vatican, which has dragged its feet in approving the envoy.

The French cabinet approved 55-year-old Laurent Stefanini as France's ambassador to the Vatican on 5 January, but has not yet received a response.

The Vatican usually declares its acceptance of a candidate about a month after an appointment is made, but makes no public statement if the candidate is rejected.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told the French news agency AFP Wednesday that Paris has no plans to change its nomination.

“France has chosen its ambassador to the Vatican. This choice was Stefanini and that remains the French proposal," he said of the nominee who was chosen by French President François Hollande for the top post and served in the French embassy to the Holy See between 2001 and 2005.

“We are awaiting the response from the Vatican," he added.

In 2007, under Pope Benedict XVI, France proposed openly gay diplomat Jean-Loup Kuhn-Delforge to be its ambassador at the Vatican. When Paris did not receive a response it put forward another nominee.

The current stand-off is bound to draw attention to Pope Francis, who in response to a question about an alleged gay lobby at the Vatican two years ago said, “Who am I to judge?”

Vatican Insider, the blog of Italian daily newspaper La Stampa, says it is Stefanini's position on same-sex marriage that could be the determining factor rather than his sexual orientation.