Equally Blessed, the coalition of four Catholic organizations which work for justice and equality for LGBT people has issued a statement on Election Day’s four marriage equality victories and the re-election of President Barack Obama. Here’s the statement in its entirety:
“Like millions of other faithful Catholics, we watched with mounting excitement last night as election returns poured in from the four states in which marriage equality was on the ballot. By this morning we knew that Catholic voters and politicians had helped, in the words of the great abolitionist Theodore Parker, to bend the arc of history toward justice.
“In Maine, Maryland and Washington, faithful Catholics ignored the high-pressure tactics of their bishops and helped make marriage equality a reality. In Minnesota their votes were indispensable in defeating an amendment that would have made marriage equality unconstitutional.
“We congratulate Vice President Joe Biden, a faithful Catholic whose support for marriage equality helped persuade President Barack Obama to embrace our cause. We thank Governors Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Christine Gregoire of Washington, both Catholics, for leading the movement toward marriage equality in their states. We are also grateful to the many Catholic legislators who risked their political careers and the opprobrium of their bishops to vote as their consciences dictated on this important issue.
“Mostly, however, we want to share in a moment of prayerful joy with all the Catholic lay people who considered the teachings of their church, the promptings of their hearts and the leadings of the Holy Spirit and then helped make history.
“We hope that the rising Catholic tide of support for marriage equality will one day carry along our bishops as well. Their intransigence in refusing even to speak with groups that represent gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their families is becoming increasingly untenable. Their penchant for threatening Catholics who follow their own consciences in the voting booth is both theologically suspect and obviously ineffective. The millions of dollars that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus spent attempting to crush the hopes of LGBT Catholics and their families could have been better spent to achieve more Christian ends. And their ongoing relationship with the National Organization for Marriage, even after its deliberate attempts to divide the electorate on racial grounds, is a scandal for which they have yet to answer.
“Despite loud and frequent warnings from their bishops, Catholics voted yesterday for President Barack Obama, and their votes were critical in passing marriage equality into law. The results of the election point to a crisis of credibility. Catholics are tired of watching their church’s leaders ride into the cultural wars in the ranks of the political right. It is time the bishops begin working with the People of God to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry