Tagged: Catholic attacks on LGBT rights

Catholic Bishops Becoming Increasingly Hysterical in Opposition to Marriage Equality

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 in June, and two new states enacting same-sex marriage legislation in the first few months of 2013 (with another potentially on the way), marriage equality in the United States is on the move.

RainbowCatholicWhile this is welcome news to equality-minded folks across the country, it’s decidedly bad news for America’s Catholic bishops, who are leading the crusade to exclude same-sex couples from legal civil marriage. It’s a battle they’re clearly losing, but as the bishops’ struggle against the tide of history becomes ever more exhausting, they’re taking a cue from their Anglican counterparts: their opposition is becoming increasingly hysterical.

In their latest anti-equality attack, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has prepared an insert that Catholic parishes across the country will place in their bulletins in May and June. They warn that a pro-fairness Supreme Court ruling (a broad negative ruling,” as they call it) could “redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of marriage.” [emphasis theirs] Continue reading

Cardinal Dolan to LGBTs: Wash Your Hands Before Entering My Church

Archbishop Timothy Dolan smiles during the Solemn Vespers ceremony for Dolan at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New YorkNew York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the American Catholic Church’s most outspoken homophobe, caused a stir last month when he acknowledged that the Church needs to be more “welcoming” to gays and lesbians. He then proceeded to denigrate loving and committed same-sex relationships as mere “friendships,” although this detail was largely overlooked in coverage of his remarks thanks to a misleading and overly optimistic New York Times headline.

Things got even more confusing at the end of April, when Dolan expounded on his “let’s welcome the gays” message in a jaw-droppingly arrogant blog post where he made clear that any such “welcome” would be conditional: only those who accept the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings could be truly welcomed into the fold, in the same way that children must wash their “dirty hands” before they can be welcomed to the dinner table.

Naturally, Dolan’s condescending comments provoked outrage among equality-minded Catholics. Last Sunday, a small group of them — LGBTs, straight allies, and parents of LGBT children — decided to see whether Dolan meant his remarks literally. They gathered a few blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, soiled their hands with ashes, and prepared to walk to the Cathedral for Sunday Mass. Their intention was to see whether or not they would be welcomed, and if they were, to be a peaceful, silent presence during the service in order to draw attention to the Cardinal’s exclusionary remarks and the marginalization experienced by LGBT Catholics.

How did Dolan respond? By calling out the New York Police Department to prohibit the group from entering the cathedral for Mass — unless they washed their hands. Continue reading

Marriage Equality Coming to France

IMG_3567Last night, after more than ten hours of debate, the French Senate passed marriage equality on a vote of 179-157. While a few more steps remain, this vote was the most critical hurdle for the freedom to marry; now that it’s been cleared, it’s all but assured that same-sex marriage is coming to France.

The article voted on by the Senate last night is the marriage equality provision of the marriage and adoption equality bill that passed France’s National Assembly in February. According to John Aravosis of AMERICAblog, the way things work in France is that the law gets broken up into its component parts and each is voted on individually.

BuzzFeed‘s Chris Geidner reports that the Senate is expected to wrap up voting on the remaining articles, including the adoption equality provision, by the end of the week. Once that happens, the Senate votes once more on the bill in its entirety. The only way last night’s vote would not be the final word on marriage equality is if the Senate rejects the entire bill in this final vote. However, since the marriage equality article was by far the bill’s most controversial portion and the Senate passed it without any changes, this possibility is considered extremely remote.

french_senatePresident François Hollande pledged during his presidential campaign last year to pass a law allowing same-sex couples in France to marry and adopt children in 2013. His Socialist Party controls both the National Assembly and the Senate, and Socialist lawmakers have carried the measure through both chambers. All of the Socialists in the Senate voted in favor of marriage equality, and five members of France’s right-wing UMP Party also crossed over and voted to support the measure.

If the bill passes its final Senate vote later this month as expected, it will go to Hollande, who will sign it into law.

While the exact date is unclear, it looks like same-sex couples will be able to marry in France sometime this summer. France will become the world’s 12th nation to enshrine full marriage equality into law. Marriage equality also enjoys majority support among the French people.

After the historic vote, Socialist Party president François Rebsamen said:

Despite attempts at obstruction from the right, the Senate has adopted Article 1 which allows same-sex couples to marry. The adoption of this article by a vote of the entire Senate majority, puts an end to the discrimination that resulted from sexual choices of citizens.

Rebsamen continued, noting the alarming surge in homophobic protests and violent anti-gay attacks that France has seen as the marriage equality bill worked its way through Parliament:

Given the abuses that took place either by manifestations of violence in the street, either by verbal excesses in the chamber, the vote on this article marks a victory for the fight against homophobia, that of tolerance and democracy.

french_flag2The fact that last night’s vote happened despite an aggressively homophobic campaign against the law by France’s Catholic bishops and the U.S.-based National Organization for Marriage makes this pro-equality victory even sweeter.

Barring the unforeseen, marriage equality is coming to the land of libertéégalité, fraternité.

Vive la France!

Detroit Archbishop: Pro-Marriage Equality Catholics Taking Communion is ‘Not Unlike Perjury’

allen_vigneron2In the latest salvo fired by the Catholic Church in its worldwide crusade against LGBT rights and marriage equality, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron said yesterday that pro-equality Catholics should not receive Communion and claimed that those who choose to do so essentially perjure themselves before God. USA Today reports:

On Sunday, Vigneron said about supporting gay marriage and receiving Communion: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

The Detroit Free Press also notes that another prominent Detroit-area Catholic — Edward Peters, a professor of canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary — made similar comments in a March 27 blog post:

Peters said that Catholic teachings make it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And so, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to” Catholic law “and should not approach for holy Communion,” he wrote. “They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them … being rebuked and/or being sanctioned.”

Peters didn’t specify a Catholic politician or public figure in his post. But he told the Free Press that a person’s “public efforts to change society’s definition of marriage … amount to committing objectively wrong actions.”

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Peters as a legal advisor to the Apostolic Signatura, known colloquially as the Vatican’s Supreme Court. According to Jeremy Hooper of Good As You, marriage discrimination runs in Edward Peters’ family: his son Thomas is the communications director for the National Organization for Marriage, which fights to preserve an exclusionary definition of marriage across the country.

Of course, this latest attempt to use the Eucharist — which is sacred to Catholics — as a weapon of punishment against marriage equality supporters is utterly repugnant and deserves to be widely condemned. But it’s definitely not the first time Catholic leaders have singled them out in this way. The Archbishops of Newark and San Francisco have made similar statements advising gay and lesbian Catholics and their pro-equality allies not to take Communion at Mass. Bishops in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Springfield, Illinois warned Catholics before the November election that voting for candidates that opposed the church’s positions on marriage equality and reproductive choice would jeopardize a Catholic’s eternal salvation. And Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt even told the mother of a gay child — who wrote to him pleading for acceptance for her son — that she “ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church” unless she renounced her pro-equality views and that her “eternal salvation may well depend upon” her ability to accept the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings. 

When considered alongside such a reprehensible track record, these statements from Archbishop Vigneron and Edward Peters prove once again that the Catholic Church has made homophobic bigotry and the spiritual bullying of LGBT people and their allies a top priority. In my view, it’s utterly monstrous.

Fox News’ Anti-Gay Catholic Priest Doesn’t Want You to Call Him a Bigot

gerald_murrayAs the crusade against same-sex marriage looks more and more hopeless, equality opponents have taken to claiming victimhood — asserting that they, not the people whose rights they work so hard to suppress, are the ones being bullied, oppressed, and persecuted.

The latest example of this is Fr. Gerald Murray of New York’s Church of the Holy Family. He complained to Faux Noise FOX News host Megyn Kelly earlier this week that when it comes to marriage equality, it isn’t the Catholic Church that’s being intolerant, it’s those pesky gays who want equal treatment under the law:

You can caricature Christian teaching and call it bigotry and that’s reasonable speech on the left these days. This nonsense that we want to disadvantage blacks, when we say that homosexual activity is sinful, to call that equivalent to denying them their basic rights — no, we’re telling them if you want to live a good life, you have to follow what Jesus said. Basically, this is an attack on our freedom to preach what we believe.

Murray lamented:

They used to want to debate the merits of gay marriage. Now, they simply want to assert that this is the only rational and Christian thing to do, and historic Christianity and the Catholic Church says absolutely not. There’s no such thing as gay marriage. You can name something marriage. It’s not that. But, instead of debating me on that, they want to say, ‘You’re a bigot. You’re equal to a racist. You’re equal to an anti-feminist’ and all the rest, and I say, hold on, that’s not the reality at all. We love everyone, including sinners of all types, but we don’t tell the sinner, well, you’d like to have a legal recognition for your relationship, go ahead and have it. We don’t do that.

Watch:

Sorry, dude, no dice. First of all, as I wrote earlier this week when Cardinal Dolan claimed to “love” gays, you don’t “love” someone by denigrating their loving and committed relationships. You can call that a lot of things, but you can’t honestly call it love.

Second, nobody’s attacking your freedom to preach or believe whatever bigoted views you want. What we’re attacking is your presumption that you’re entitled to write those religious beliefs into our civil law.

Third, I’m glad that being called a bigot makes you feel uncomfortable. It should. But if you don’t want to be called a bigot, then stop preaching bigotry. It’s really that simple. If you’re going to continue spreading bigotry, we’re going to continue correctly calling it out for what it is. Don’t expect us to just stop calling you a bigot because it makes you feel sad.

Hate wrapped in the name of God is still hate. Bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry. I’m so sorry it makes you squirm, but the truth hurts, doesn’t it Father?

h/t: Towleroad

Cardinal Dolan Demeans Gay Relationships As He Says Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gays

TimDolanAs I paged through today’s New York Times, a surprising headline greeted me: “Dolan Says the Catholic Church Should Be More Welcoming to Gay People.” I was incredibly intrigued, of course — considering that Dolan is one of the American Catholic Church’s most outspoken homophobes — so I read on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near naïve enough to have expected a departure from the Catholic Church’s anti-gay teachings. But I wondered after reading the headline if perhaps Dolan might be advocating that his church soften its bigotry by shifting focus away from its worldwide crusade against LGBT rights and onto something that Jesus actually talked about, like feeding the hungry and serving the poor.

It didn’t take Cardinal Dolan long to disappoint. According to the Times, Dolan implied in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the Catholic Church’s opposition to equality will continue unabated. What he thinks needs improvement is the messaging around the hierarchy’s homophobia:

He defined marriage as “one man, one woman, forever, to bring about new life,” but, he told Mr. Stephanopoulos, “we’ve got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people.”

“And I admit, we haven’t been too good at that,” the cardinal continued. “We try our darnedest to make sure we’re not an anti-anybody.”

Translation: we still oppose your right to legally enter into a civil marriage with the person you love and intend to continue spending time and money fighting against your equality, but we’re not anti-gay! And for heaven’s sake, please don’t think we’re attacking you!

Seriously. Remember last year when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, of which Dolan is president, decided to launch an “ambitious public relations drive” in an attempt to rehabilitate the American Catholic Church’s tattered public image? This strikes me as a continuation of that strategy.

The conversation between Stephanopoulos and Dolan continued (transcript provided by Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress):

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know, especially this week – because it’s been at the top of the news – for many gay and lesbian Americans –– gay and lesbian Catholics, they feel unwelcome –– in the Church. And what do you say as a minister, as a pastor – to a gay couple that comes to you and say, “We love God. We love the Church. But we also love each other, and we –– want to raise a family in faith. What do you say to them?

DOLAN: Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, “I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness. And – and we – we want your happiness. But – and you’re entitled to friendship.” But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally.

Did you get that? As far as Cardinal Dolan is concerned, gay and lesbian couples don’t really have marriages or families. In his mind, same-sex marriages like mine are undeserving of the same civil benefits, protections, and recognition that all other marriages in this country enjoy… because they aren’t real marriages. But in his magnanimity, Dolan is now apparently willing to concede that couples like Michael and me — who have dedicated our lives to loving each other and committed ourselves to one another forever — are “entitled” to “friendship.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that successful relationships aren’t based on friendship. They are. Michael is my best friend — but it doesn’t stop there. He’s my husband (whether Dolan likes it or not), which means he’s my best friend, my confidante, my joy, my inspiration, and my lover. (Yes, Cardinal Dolan, we have sex. Hot, sweaty, passionate, beautiful, fulfilling gay sex.)

With respect, sir, you say that you “love” gays and lesbians, but if trivializing our relationships as mere friendships and opposing our basic rights is how you define the word “love,” you can keep it. If you believe that God is the author of love, you can’t honestly say that gays and lesbians are “made in God’s image” while also believing that our love for each other and its sexual expression is disordered and inferior. I realize that claiming to “love” LGBT people helps you rationalize your bigotry and sleep better at night, but it doesn’t change the fact that you don’t “love” someone by denigrating and dehumanizing them or by denying the reality and the beauty of that person’s most important relationship.

And if that kind of “love” is how you make others feel welcome, it’s no wonder that so many Catholics are voting with their feet and heading out the door.

tim_dolan_thisweekCardinal Dolan, your self-righteous belittling of same-sex relationships harkens back to a troubling time not long ago when LGBT people were so invisible that couples living together were referred to as “roommates” and “friends” so as not to make straight people squeamish. I understand that that’s the world you’d prefer to live in, but it’s a world that no longer exists. It’s 2013, and gays and lesbians are out, proud, and forming not only friendships, but loving, committed, lifelong relationships — and even marriages! — with one another. And you’re fighting a losing battle: three-fourths of American Catholics support civil marriage equality for same-sex couples, as do 81% of adults under 30.

So you go right on ahead pretending that your patronizing doublespeak constitutes some kind of welcoming, loving outreach to the LGBT community and our straight allies. We see right through it, and the rest of the country does as well. The longer you persist in your spiritual bullying, the more quickly you’re bringing about your own utter irrelevance.

History is passing you by, Cardinal Dolan. Enjoy the view.

Putting Yesterday’s White Smoke in Perspective

White smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel yesterday announced to the world that the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church had elected a new pope. The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who took the name Francis, has a disturbing history of ugly anti-gay comments.

While the new pope’s comments are ugly enough on their own, they were put into sobering perspective — for this writer, anyway — on Twitter by Alfredo’s Fire, a film about a gay Italian writer who set himself on fire in St. Peter’s Square fifteen years ago to protest the Vatican’s anti-gay teachings.

The contrast between the jubilant white smoke from the Sistine Chapel and the grim black soot on St. Peter’s Square vividly illustrates the consequences of religion-based anti-LGBT bigotry.

alfredos_fire_conclave

Please consider making a donation to support the production of this important film, so that Alfredo’s story can be told. Click here to visit the Alfredo’s Fire Kickstarter page.