Category Archives: 60 Marriage / family

In Grassroots Vote, US Church Approves Gay Marriage!

In their General Assembly 2014, the Presbyterian Church of the USA (PCUSA) approved a resolution to amend the church’s description of marriage from “between a man and a woman” to “between two persons” .  However, to come into full effect, the resolution required ratification by a majority of the country’s regional presbyteries. That ratification has now been achieved. Alex Patchin McNeill,Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians notes in a press release that this is the first time ever that marriage equality has been approved by a faith tradition in a nationwide, grassroots popular vote.

gay union, in church

Continue reading In Grassroots Vote, US Church Approves Gay Marriage!

Irish Archbishops Agree: Language Does Matter, Insensitive Language Deplored.

In a radio interview on March 9th about the pending Irish referendum on gay marriage, Bishop Kevin Doran made some highly insensitive remarks about gay and lesbian Catholics.  Just two days later, the president and vice – president of the Irish bishops’ conference have rebutted those remarks, regretting the “inappropriate” language. 

Archbishops Eamon Martin (left), and Diarmuid Martin (right)

The Irish bishops’ conference was gathered for their Spring meeting, during which Archbishops Eamon Martin and Diarmuid Martin hosted  a  press conference to release a joint statement on their response to the gay marriage referendum.  Responding to questions put about Bishop Doran, the archbishops stressed that it was they, not Bishop Doran, who were fronting the Catholic bishops’ opposition to marriage equality, and deplored the use of insensitive language. Continue reading Irish Archbishops Agree: Language Does Matter, Insensitive Language Deplored.

Irish Priest Will Vote For Gay Marriage

Meet the Catholic priest preparing to defy his church and vote for gay marriage in Ireland

Augustinian priest Iggy O’Donovan said this week that he will ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage because he believes in the freedom for all people to choose how they live their lives

An Augustinian Catholic priest has gone public with his intention of voting for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland in May, saying his personal religious views on marriage should not be imposed onto other people in society who believed differently.

Fr Iggy O’Donovan told The Irish Independent this week that he was an ‘an absolute believer in Catholic teaching on marriage.’

‘[But I also] accept that there are people with different but deeply held views to me and I respect their views and I don’t think I have the right to impose my views on them.’

As a result he said he would ‘unquestioningly be voting yes’ in the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland.

via Gay Star News.

PCUSA Just 7 Votes From Approving Gay Marriage, in Church.

At their General Assembly in 2014, the Presbyterian Church of the USA voted to change the church’s “definition” of marriage in it’s own Constitution, to make it gender neutral. That decision required approval by a majority of local presbyteries. After the Presbytery of East Tennessee became just the latest to approve the resolution,   just 7 more votes in favour are required, for full ratification of the proposal.

 Gay marriage

Presbytery of East TN approves same-sex marriage amendment

(WBIR) The Presbytery of East Tennessee (PET) voted Saturday afternoon in favor of an amendment that would change the national church’s definition of marriage to “between two persons, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Currently, the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church defines marriage as “between a man and a woman.”

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or PC(USA) is asking representatives from each of its more than 170 presbyteries to vote on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Elected representatives from each East Tennessee congregation met in Chattanooga and narrowly approved the proposal, 61 yes, 56 no.

– more at  WBIR

Continue reading PCUSA Just 7 Votes From Approving Gay Marriage, in Church.

Irish Catholic Couple, Married 50 years, Plead for Marriage Equality (VIDEO)

From Pink News:

A Catholic couple who have been married for 50 years have released a video showing their support for equal marriage in Ireland.

The video has appeared online as part of the pro-equal marriage campaign Vote With Us. Since its release on Sunday, the video has received more than 25,000 views on YouTube.

In the heartfelt video, Brighid and Paddy explain why they believe that all couples should have the opportunity to benefit from the love, protection and companionship they have experienced.

Brighid is clear that it is her Christian faith that has informed her decision to vote yes.

“I know the ever-loving god we believe in will say we did the right thing and the Christian thing and voting yes for marriage equality,” she said.

Honest about how his views have changed, Paddy openly admitted: “20 years ago I probably would have voted no, but now that I know gay people and see the love and joy they can bring to life, and I will be voting yes.”

 

From Africa and the Philippines, Signs of Hope for LGBT Catholics!

At the family synod 2014, some African bishops were prominent in opposition to the more welcoming tone towards lgbt Catholics, proposed by some of the Europeans, and included in the mid – synod interim relatio. From this it would be easy to read the struggle for lgbt inclusion as a contest between “progressives” of Europe (and North America), and conservatives  of the so-called “developing” world, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. That would be a mistake, as recent news reports illustrate:

Commonweal reports on a fascinating interview with the African Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, in the conservative website Aleteia, His responses should be warmly welcomed for the hope they imply for greater inclusion of both lgbt Catholics, and those who have been divorced and remarried. (There could also be some schadenfreude in noting how the responses clearly discomforted Aleteia’s interview, who did his best to get Palmer – Buckle to modify his words – to no avail).

In a wide-ranging, at points jaw-dropping interview with Aleteia, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, signaled his openness to finding a way for remarried Catholics to be readmitted to Communion–and suggested the church might reinterpret Scripture to allow the “unbinding” of marriages. Palmer-Buckle, who is sixty-four years old, was selected by his brother bishops to represent Ghana at this October’s Synod on the Family. Early in the interview, the archbishop makes it clear that he takes seriously Pope Francis’s call for open discussion of the challenges facing Catholic families today.

via Commonweal Magazine.

In Asia, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued a statement in support of a government bill to prohibit anti-gay discrimination. At the Filipino blog Catholic LGBT (Catholic gay and blessed), there are two posts quoting sections of the statement, in which Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, sets out the bishops’ opposition to homophobia, and support for greater lgbt inclusion in the life of the church.

On homophobia, Villegas is forthright on condemning parents who inculcate homophobia in their children:

The Church has much to contribute towards the education of Catholics to be more accepting of others and to see through appearances the Lord present in each brother and sister There can be no more approval of parents who imbue in their children the loathing and disgust for persons with a different sexual orientation or with gender identity issues. In Catholic institutions, there should be zero – tolerance for the bullying and badgering of persons in such personal situations.

On lgbt inclusion, he is equally clear:

[We] call on all pastors throughout the country to be as solicitous of the pastoral welfare of all our brothers and sisters regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Their exclusion from the life of the Church, their treatment as outcasts, their relegation to the category of inferior members of the Church worthy only of derision and scorn certainly does not conform to Pope Francis’ vision of the Church as the sacrament of Divine mercy and compassion”

To be sure, it’s not all rosy in the garden.  A longer news report at Rappler also describes how Villegas, while opposing discrimination, reserved the right to contiue discriminating in its own hiring and selection procedures for the priesthood, and the Church’s firm opposition to both homosexual “acts”, and gender transitions. Like many other bishops, he has no desire to change Church teaching – but just like the 2014 Family synod, this signals a clear desire to adjust pastoral practice, in  a more sensitive, caring direction. That augers well for the 2015 synod, and in the longer run, that will undoubtedly lead to some modification of the core doctrine, itself.

It's Not So Hard to Be Married………….

This morning, we did it – converted our existing civil partnership to formal marriage. Not a wedding, no grand celebration: the time for that was 9 years ago, at the civil partnership ceremony. This was just a legal procedure at the Guildford Registrar’s office, costing all of £8.

It’s good to have done it, but I’ve now experienced one conventional, formal marriage lasting 9 years, followed by an informal committed relationship amounting to what was in effect a legally unrecognized common- law marriage (19 years in total), the now defunct civil partnership lasting just under a further 9 years. That first marriage began over 40 years ago. During those four decades, I’ve fathered two children, and supported by my spouses, watched them grow, mature, marry and produce children of their own.   I’ve also gone through grief and bereavement for my own parents and brother, supported by my partner – and supported him through the deaths of his own mother and other family members.

I’ve experienced divorce, and a further painful separation.  My spouse(s) and I have shared and supported each other through myriad joyful celebrations and difficult trials, trivial and serious.  I think I’ve earned enough in practical experience of the realities of marriage, to claim some understanding of what it’s all about.

As I begin this new marriage,and largely agree with Stephen Sondheim,  in “Company” – It’s the little things you share together, that make perfect relationships. (Like Joanne in the video clip above, “I’ve done it three or four times”).

It’s the little things you share together,
Swear together,
Wear together
That make perfect relationships.

The concerts you enjoy together,
Neighbors you annoy together,
Children you destroy together

Becoming a cliche together,
Growing old and gray together
Withering away together
That make marriage a joy.

It’s not so hard to be married
It’s much the simplest of crimes
It’s not so hard to be married
I’ve done it three or four times.

marriage News – Personal, Political.

First, the personal (because the personal is political).

Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), Raymond and I have an appointment at Guildford registry office to formally convert our current civil partnership to legal marriage. This is not a “wedding” – in effect, the important bit was done some years ago. This is simply a legal formality, to change the wording – but words and language matter. The fact is,

And now – the political:

Slovenia has just become the first Central European / former Soviet bloc country to approve marriage and family equality.

Slovenian lawmakers have approved same-sex marriage and child adoption by gay couples amid opposition from conservative groups and the Catholic Church.

Parliament voted 51:28 Tuesday to pass changes to the family law allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children. Slovenia in the past allowed same-sex partnership union, but without the right to child adoption.

Earlier Tuesday, a few thousand people protested at a rally dubbed “Children Are At Stake” to voice their opposition to the changes. Opponents have announced plans to force a referendum on the issue after a similar bid was rejected in a vote three years ago.

Leftist lawmaker Matej Vatovec said the parliamentary support ensured Slovenia will become a “truly tolerant and inclusive community.” He said “today Slovenia is entering the 21st century.”

-abc news

Making History – Gay Marriage, Texas

As legal confusion continues over gay marriage in both Alabama and Texas, one couple have succeeded in obtaining a licence, and registering their marriage, in Austin, Texas

Two Austin women were legally married Thursday morning after a Travis County judge ordered the county clerk to issue a marriage license.

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant, together almost 31 years, said their vows before Rabbi Kerry Baker while standing in front of the Travis County Clerk’s Office sign on Airport Boulevard.

The rushed ceremony was a mix of personal – with friends and their teenage daughters, Dawn and Ting, standing nearby – and public statement, with photos of their vows sure to include the county sign.

“It’s very exciting,” Bryant said before the wedding. “My little one was worried about missing her history class. I said we’ll be making history.

Statesman

Mary – the Annunciation and Visitation (Luke 1:26-56)

This passage, the third in the English bishops’ suggested texts for reflection on marriage as part of the consultation process for the Rome Family Synod 2015, is the familiar story of the Annunciation,  Mary’s subsequent visit to Elizabeth, and her song of praise, the “Magnificat”.  (The  text may be read  here, at Bible Gateway)

Fra Angeilico, “The Annunciation”

In my lectio divina practice, for the passage, I went through this as three distinct reflections. For each, I give the phrases that most struck me,  followed by my reasons. Continue reading Mary – the Annunciation and Visitation (Luke 1:26-56)