The euphoria over yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality is continuing unabated by Catholics and LGBT advocates.
Perhaps the most amazingly Catholic quotation from the decisions was the phrase written by Catholic Justice Anthony Kennedy in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act:
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
Equally Blessed, a Catholic coalition that works for equality and justice for LGBT people in church and society, released the following statement yesterday:
“As members of the Catholic Church and citizens of the United States, we are elated that the U. S. Supreme Court has both struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for marriage equality in the state of California. We are especially pleased to see that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, wrote the opinion striking down DOMA, and that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is also a Catholic, concurred in this historic decision.
“While we would have preferred the Court to find the California law prohibiting same-sex marriage to be clearly unconstitutional, in dismissing the case, the Court has cleared the way for same-sex couples to be legally married in that state.
“Catholics around the country have worked hard to pass legislation that permits same-sex couples to marry, and protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. They have done so not in spite of their faith, but because of it, knowing that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and that all of God’s children must be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.
“The court today has removed two obstacles blocking the path to justice for same-sex couples, but that path must still be walked. So today we celebrate and offer prayers of thanksgiving, and tomorrow we invite our fellow Catholics to join us in working to bring marriage equality to the states in which it has not yet been written into law.”
Bryan Cones, on U.S. Catholic’s blog wondered if the Supreme Court decisions will persuade the bishops to tone down their campaign against marriage equality and instead engage in dialogue with LGBT people:
“I for one would hope for a kind of pause on the bishops’ approach to this question: It should be obvious now that, on the civil side of things, same-sex couples have convinced Americans that they deserve access to the civil benefits of marriage. We in the church need to be having our own conversations about the religious institution of marriage and the religious meaning of human sexuality–long a monologue from the hierarchy that has not included the voices of lay people, married, single, gay, bisexual, or straight. Our own deliberations may lead us to new conclusions, or it may lead to a reaffirmation of old ones. But the signs of the times, today’s rulings included, demand our common discernment. “
Catholics United’s blog, Our Daily Thread, carried a post by Daniel Byrne in which he challenged the USCCB’s characterization of the decisions as “tragic”:
“It further upsets me that you call these decisions “tragic.” What’s tragic is that 23% of children live in poverty. What’s tragic are the natural disasters occurring because of climate change. What’s tragic is that Guantanamo Bay is still open (thanks to Bishop Pates for hisstatement, by the way). Providing equal rights for same-sex spouses is not tragic.
“Let’s be clear, this is a civil rights issue. No longer will same-sex spouses be turned away from seeing their partner in a hospital. No longer will binational couples be separated because their marriage isn’t recognized in the US. No longer will another 1,100 rights be denied same-sex spouses.”
Jamie Manson, writing on HuffingtonPost.com, tells the story of a group of Catholic LGBT advocates from Dignity/New York, who helped bring the DOMA case to court by supporting the plaintiff, Edith Windsor:
“As millions celebrate today the Supreme Court’s striking down of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many will be giving thanks to Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old plaintiff in the case, and her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.
“What most people will not know, however, is the instrumental role that a few members of the New York City chapter of DignityUSA played in this historic moment.”
Manson concludes her essay with some hopeful words, which reflect the mood of yesterday’s and today’s exuberance:
“To paraphrase Margaret Mead’s oft-quoted aphorism, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed Catholics can change the world.”
–Francis DeBernardo and Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry