Unapologetically Catholic, unapologetically for same-sex marriage

Of a certain age, Glen Arm, Maryland’s Erma M. Durkin says there are plenty of Catholics who support gay marriage, and that it’s the logical conclusion of a life spent soaked in the best teaching of Catholicism:

For all of my 81 years I have absorbed, lived and taught the doctrines and spirituality of the Roman Catholic Church. My Church has directed me well to love what is right and just. Not only to stand up for the oppressed but to search my own soul lest it harbor prejudice or hatred toward anyone. Being true to one’s conscience is an essential teaching of the Catholic faith.

And so I must speak now as my conscience dictates. Having studied this question of same-gender marriage from every angle available to me, and having associated with broad range of members of the gay community, I conclude that same-gender couples have a right to petition the state to have their marriages lawfully recognized and protected. And the state, considering the right of all its citizens to live free from bullying, discrimination, physical and psychological violence, which is so carelessly heaped upon gay and lesbian persons, would do well to support same-gender marriage.

To want to be married is not a frivolous request. If anyone wanted to live a dissolute and totally selfish life they would not want to tie themselves down with a marriage certificate! Marriage is a bond that is made public, it brings with it responsibilities and entails sacrifices.

It’s a feisty piece, and it’ll only take a minute or two to read the whole thing.

UPDATE: That reminded us of a Francis DeBernardo’s column earlier this week in The Washington Post. DeBarnardo, executive director of LGBT Catholic advocacy group New Ways Ministry, says marriage equality in Maryland springs from religious faith, not against it.

Most Catholic voters in Maryland support marriage equality–not in spite of our faith, but because of it. We do not seek to change the definition of traditional marriage; we simply want to expand the definition of who may participate. In this we are influenced by Catholic social teaching which requires that people be treated with dignity, regardless of their state in life or their beliefs. Our moral tradition values increased access to health care benefits, the protection of children and dignity in end-of-life choices. All of these values would be expanded if marriage equality were written into law.

In my work with Catholic parishes, schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and many other institutions, I have learned that there is a tremendous concern about the protection of same-gender couples among the “middle managers” of the church–principals, pastors, leaders of communities of priests, nuns, brothers–in spite of what you hear from the hierarchy. It is clear to them, as it is to me, that without marriage equality, families that are headed by lesbian or gay adults will never have the full protection of the law. And what is more Catholic than wanting to protect families and children?

We Catholics are told repeatedly that the Church is not a democracy. But Maryland is. And in a democracy, the views of a church hierarchy that has been on the wrong side of issues ranging from slavery to the charging of interest on loans to the position of the sun in the solar system, are due no special deference. Most Catholics, and, I hope, most Catholic politicians, will do as Catholic moral teaching urges them to do and follow the dictates of their own well-formed, faithfully Catholic consciences when making decisions about marriage equality.

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