While in the U.S. Pope Francis met privately with a gay couple one day before he had a private meeting with anti-gay rights Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in Washington D.C., CNN reported Friday.

The pope reportedly met with Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentinian man and longtime friend of the pontiff, according to the report. Grassi reportedly brought his partner of 19 years to the Vatican Embassy on Sept. 23.

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Grassi told CNN in an exclusive report that the meeting was arranged via email weeks before Francis arrived in the U.S. 

“Three weeks before the trip, he called me on the phone and said he would love to give me a hug,” Grassi said.

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News of the meeting comes after the Vatican confirmed the pope met privately with the anti-gay rights county clerk, sparking anger among liberals and cheers from conservatives. 

The Vatican said Friday there was "a sense of regret" over the encounter.