That was confirmed on background by two senior officials of the bishops' conference in Argentina, both of whom worked with Bergoglio and took part in the behind-the-scenes discussions as the conference tried to shape its position.
"Bergoglio supported civil unions," one of those officials told me.
Mariano de Vedia, a veteran journalist for La Nación, has covered church/state issues in Argentina for years and said he could confirm Bergoglio's position had been correctly described in the Times account.
Guillermo Villarreal, a Catholic journalist in Argentina, said it was well known at the time that Bergoglio's moderate position was opposed by Archbishop Héctor Rubén Aguer of La Plata, the leader of the hawks. The difference was not over whether to oppose gay marriage, but how ferociously to do so and whether there was room for a compromise on civil unions.
Villareal described the standoff over gay marriage as the only vote Bergoglio ever lost during his six years as president of the conference. Behind the scenes, sources say Bergoglio tried to avoid fireworks on the gay marriage issue. One young Catholic told me, for instance, he had wanted to organize a public recitation of the rosary on the eve of the vote outside the legislature, knowing that supporters of gay marriage would also be there and the prayer would be a provocation. He wrote to Bergoglio seeking advice, he said, and Bergoglio called him directly, suggesting they pray at home instead.
Oesterheld suggested Bergoglio went along with the harder line espoused by the majority of the bishops' conference even if it wasn't his own instinct.
"At that time, there were different views within the bishops' conference on how open the church should be [to compromise solutions]," Oesterheld said. "The Cardinal went along with what the majority wanted. He didn't impose his own views. He never publicly expressed his own feelings on the matter, because he didn't want to seem to be undercutting the common position of the bishops."
Full article which covers many issues related to the Pope's record in Argentina.