Final Installment of Catholic Responses to Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling

Here’s what (we hope) is the final installment of immediate Catholic reactions to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Since the Catholic debate on this issue is not over yet, Bondings 2.0 will, of course, continue covering any ensuing controversies based on this decision as they develop.  [All previous Bondings 2.0 Catholic reaction compilation posts can be found at the end of this post.]

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan, Writer and Political Analyst, The Dish:

Sullivan, one of the first people to propose the idea of gay marriage as a serious legal possibility (and certainly the first Catholic pundit to do so), provides a poignant brief memoir of the struggle to arrive at the Obergefell v. Hodges victory.  I found this to be, perhaps, his most stirring passage:

For many years, it felt like one step forward, two steps back. History is a miasma of contingency, and courage, and conviction, and chance.

But some things you know deep in your heart: that all human beings are made in the image of God; that their loves and lives are equally precious; that the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence has no meaning if it does not include the right to marry the person you love; and has no force if it denies that fundamental human freedom to a portion of its citizens. In the words of Hannah Arendt:

“The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.” (from a blog post on The Dish)

Matthew Boudway

Matthew Boudway, Associate Editor, Commonweal:

Boudway categorizes the Obergefell v. Hodges case:

“. . . [It] was not about Constitutional theory or the burdens and perils of democracy. Nor was it about sex. It was about honoring people who promise to take care of each other and encouraging them to keep that promise.”

Yet, he disagrees with the outcome because on procedural grounds:

“Wherever possible, the Supreme Court should try to get out of the way, so that voters and their elected representatives can do the difficult work of democracy. If we want to change the definition of civil marriage so that it can accommodate gays and lesbians, there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent us, but neither is there anything to compel us. Why pretend otherwise?”  (from a blog post on Commonweal)

Margery Eagan

Margery Eagan, Columnist, Cruxnow.com:

” ‘The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,’ wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy explaining, if inadvertently, a big part of the problem for the Catholic hierarchy. They can’t recognize that injustice, even in 2015, because they live apart, isolated from, and largely ignorant of, the real, changed world.

“They do not see the gay parents chaperoning the apple-picking field trip in kindergarten. They do not see the son of those parents grow up to captain the football team and marry his college sweetheart. They do not see the life-long devotion of gay couples, in sickness and health, or in the mundane particulars of everyday life. Cooking, cleaning, planting the garden, mowing the lawn, driving the carpool, helping with the homework, wanting the best for their families, just like everybody else.”  (From a column on Crux)

Bill Baird and John Kennedy

Bill Baird and John Kennedy, Retired Gay Catholic Married Couple in Santa Rosa, California:

” ‘It’s important to realize how many people are not happy about the decision,’ Baird said, ‘so we have to find a way to work together to promote marriage equality. . . .’ 

” ‘We’re lucky here in the Bay Area, but in many parts of the country you can be fired for being gay, and landlords may refuse to rent to a lesbian or gay couple,”’Baird said.

” ‘There really is a lack of protections for gay people, and while we’re delighted by the ruling, there is still a lot of education to do,’ Kennedy said.”  (From a feature article in Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

Christa Kerber

Christa Kerber, Catholic laywoman, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania:

Our Church teaches a preferential treatment for the marginalized. It teaches the dignity of all human beings. It teaches the primacy of conscience — the idea that it is our obligation to prayerfully consider tradition and doctrine, as well as our experience and the experience of those around us, in discerning what is moral and just.

My conscience has been formed with the help of family, friends, teachers, clergy, theologians, and strangers. Most of all, it has been formed through my relationship with God and my Church. . . 

I hope and pray that Church leaders will hear and understand the majority who support those in loving same-sex relationships. Love is of God and adults who have formed their consciences in faith are very capable of making good decisions about how to express their love for other human beings. (From an op-ed essay on Philly.com)
Read more at

Archbishop Blase Cupich

Archbishop Blase Cupich, Archdiocese of Chicago:

In an earlier post, we noted Archbishop Cupich’s reconciliatory statement following the Supreme Court decision.  Cupich’s follow-up comments in an interview with The National Catholic Reporter about the statement are also worth noting.  The archbishop stated:

“My concern is that we don’t lurch in one direction or another in terms of reaction, but that we really have a sense of serenity and maturity and keep ourselves walking together.

” ‘I think that’s the most important thing,’ the archbishop said, using the example of a family that discusses issues they face together.

” ‘When they have [a] crisis, when they have something new happening, a good, mature, serene family says, “OK, take a breath, everybody. We’re all in this together. We’re going to help each other,” ‘ he said.”  (From a news story in The National Catholic Reporter)

Local Catholics

In Boston and northern New Jersey, reporters visited local Catholic parishes to gather a wide variety of reactions which are chronicled in these two articles:

Boston Globe: “Boston churches split over Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling”

NorthJersey.com: “North Jersey Catholics divided on marriage ruling”

Catholic legal analyses

America magazine enlisted a variety of Catholic legal scholars and analysts to respond to the decision.  Their opinions and topics are diverse.  The legal arguments are difficult to summarize, so, instead of attempting to do so, we will just provide links to the complete essays.

Ellen K. Boegel, Associate Professor, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security, St. John’s University, N.Y.:Same-Sex Marriage Decision Resolves One Question, Raises Many Others

Teresa S. Collett, Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis:  The Supreme Court’s Jurisprudence of Privacy”

Thomas C. Berg, the James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis: “Religious Liberty Concerns After Supreme Court’s Call on Same-Sex Marriage”

Richard W. Garnett, the Paul J. Schierl / Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law , University of Notre Dame: “Hard Questions from Chief Justice on Same-Sex Decision”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 

Related article:

dotCommonweal: Calm, collected.”

 

Previous blog posts of Catholic commentary on Supreme Court marriage equality ruling:

July 7: Orthodox Catholic Offers Important Lesson for LGBT Supporters

July 6: Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese Spells Out Falsehoods and Possibilities in Marriage Equality Responses

July 5: Tending to Christ’s Blood: The U.S. Church’s Post-Marriage Equality Agenda

July 4: Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, and Catholic Values

July 1: Father Martin’s Viral Facebook Post on ‘So Much Hatred From So Many Catholics’

June 30:  Here’s What Catholic Bishops Should Have Said About Marriage Equality Decision

June 29: Catholics Continue to React to Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling

June 28: Some Catholic Reactions to U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality

June 27: A Prayerful Catholic Response to the U.S. Supreme Court Decision

June 26: New Ways Ministry and U.S. Catholics Rejoice at Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision

 

3 thoughts on “Final Installment of Catholic Responses to Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling

  1. Friends July 11, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    Unfortunately, THIS response from a Texas bishop….

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/texas-catholic-bishop-gay-marriage-its-unjust-law-its-not-binding

    …epitomizes what we progressive Catholics are up against, in trying to dialogue with the Church hierarchy. I don’t see how the root problem can be resolved, as long as “Church Leaders” like this are still in place. It may just take another 50 to 100 years for common sense and caritas to prevail.

  2. Nobie Cop July 16, 2015 / 3:44 pm

    I have had many Gods in my lifetime. When young, I believed in a God that was all judging, always watching, and standing guard with a large club with which to punish me when I sinned. Later, I believed in the legalistic God, at one point, I just had blind faith and logic and reason played no role in my thoughts – a fundamentalist you could say.

    I point this out as we are all on a journey, a spiritual path but we each possess different gifts and often hold differing understandings of God, all try to follow their perception of God and his will. Unfortunately, we are all at different stages in the development and maturity of our common faith – thus we hear debate on faith issues. As we grow spiritually, our perceptions and understandings of God, faith and ethics change, grow, adapt… This is good. Today, I perceive of God as an all loving God who cares so deeply for us and grieves when we error, but God is strickly motivated by love, and love alone. As such, we need to remember many of those who oppose liberty and rights for others are sincere but we are all spiritually at different places. We recognize that every Christian and human is at a different stage and level in our spiritual journies. We need not view them as foes but rather pray for them to be blessed…. We pray for our enemies as scripture tells us. All this can be done as we proclaim truth, that all humans deserve love, freedom, rights and to live as they were created,.

    For many of us, we have followed this debate over LGBT rights for 40 some years and we know our attitudes have changed… our attitudes were challenged, so we stopped and listened. Overtime, the majority have seen the injustice of the past and no longer fear LGBT equity. Fear, we know, is often due to ignorance. We can be confident as we can educate and share truth and understanding as part of our ministry, simply by praying for them , taking opportunities to serve them and to share with them and truly befriend those who persecute LGBT persons. Remember, our so called “foes” have yet to pause, listen, research, look at both sides of an issue, review the credible peer related research, read the different theology on the topic. Get to know and truly love gay people.

    We know a tree by the fruit it bears, so far the churches treatment of LGBT persons, has brought forth fruit. Well, during the sex abuse scandals, gay preists were falsely scapegoated and seminaries were purged of gay seminarians . Not nice fruit. LGBT people feel alienated and not welcome in the church of their birth. LGBT persons are being threatened with removal of rights and liberties during the next election. LGBT rights and freedoms are fragile and still subject to the whims of political arenas and interest groups who do not stop to see the effect of their actions upon the victim: financial fruit , emotional emotional fruit, and deep pain. We witness wonderful teachers and employees fired as they are gay, lesbian… That is persecution, and simply wrong, poorly thought out and , just maybe, intentionally designed to inflict pain and suffering on others.

    One thing is clear… The debate over the role of LGBT persons in the church has started and it is not going away. As the last four decades have demonstrated , people have steadily increased their support for LGBT rights….a process that will continue, even in churches. So let us be thankful for each small step forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s