Pope 'secretly met US official jailed over gay marriage row'
Pope Francis secretly met a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples due to her religious beliefs.
Mat Staver, attorney and founder of the Liberty Counsel, said that the Pope met Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis and her husband at the Vatican embassy in Washington last Thursday during his visit to the United States.
The Pope told Ms Davis to "stay strong," Mr Staver said.
Vatican chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said he would neither confirm nor deny the report and that there would be no further statement.
The report of the meeting came after Francis largely avoided the contentious issue of same-sex marriage during his historic visit to the United States, where he addressed Congress, met with the homeless and urged the country to welcome immigrants.