From sea to shining sea today, articles on Catholic involvement in the marriage equality issue appeared in two separate papers. On the east coast, a New York Times analysis article assesses the evolution of legislators’ opinions on marriage equality. On the west coast, an op-ed essay in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer highlights the not-well-known-enough-fact that the Catholic laity are enormously supportive of marriage equality initiatives, despite the opposition of the bishops.
In the Times piece, William Yardley examines how some key government leaders in Washington State have changed their thinking on marriage equality. Most notable among them is Governor Christine Gregoire, a Catholic, who the article quotes:
“I’m a lawyer, I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m governor. I’m also a Catholic, and I have struggled with this issue for the last seven years.”
On the Post-Intelligencer’s op-ed page, reporter Joel Connelly, who describes himself as a “recently returned Catholic perplexed at the way my shepherds view their faith and human commitment . . . and how they treat people I know who are in loving, committed same-gender relationships, in several cases doing a splendid job of raising children,” points out what readers of this blog are probably already aware of: Catholics do not follow their bishops on marriage equality issues.
That message cannot be repeated strongly enough since the erroneous presumption in the minds of so many people is that the bishops’ opposition to marriage equality reflects the totality of Catholic opinion. Connelly points out recent research on this matter:
“The bishops see themselves as shepherds, but American Catholics are not sheep. They think and act independently. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that nearly three quarters of Catholics favor letting gays and lesbians marry (43 percent) or form civil unions (31 percent).”
From coast to coast the Catholic tide is turning in favor of marriage equality.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry