Another sign of the times!
Indiana’s Catholic bishops issued a statement Thursday on the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage — but they stopped short of taking a position on the hot-button topic.
The statement, signed by Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin and Indiana’s five bishops, emphasizes the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but also the dignity of all people.
“The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, who ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,’” the statement says. “At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage, a natural institution established by God. By its very nature, marriage is a permanent partnership between one man and one woman ordered to the good of the couple and the procreation and education of children.”
Church officials said the statement isn’t intended to stake out a political position, but to inform people about Catholic teachings as they weigh the issue.
“People have the right to make their own decisions on these issues, but it needs to be done with an informed conscience,” said Greg Otolski, a spokesman for the Indianapolis Archdiocese
-continue reading at Indianapolis Star
- Gay Catholic Group Lauds Indiana Bishops Marriage Statement (lezgetreal.com)
- IN Bishops Stay Neutral on Marriage Amendment (bilerico.com)
- Unnecessary roughing: Why Catholic bishops should be more accepting of gay marriage (suntimes.com)
All religious institutions – including the Church of Scotland – will be free to decide for themselves if they would like to provide marriages for gay couples, under plans announced today.
However, the Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages – a decision that has already been criticised by equality campaigners along with the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan.
The Scottish Government has ruled out introducing similar conditions for the nation’s Presbyterian church, although SNP ministers insist that no churches would be forced to hold same-sex weddings.
Ministers have already decided they want to make the change, and now need to consult on proposed legislation to be put to the Scottish Parliament.
The consultation on its draft legislation – opposed by the Church of Scotland and the nation’s Catholic Church – will last until March.
A group of 63 former Roman Catholic priests spoke out Thursday in support of Referendum 74, the November ballot measure that will ask voters to approve or reject Washington’s same-sex marriage law.
The former priests, some with as many of 43 years of service and all now married, are all members of local parishes.
Pat Callahan, a member of the group, said that for the last 27 years members have been a source of fellowship and support for each other. This is the first time the group has taken a public stance on an issue this important to the church. All but a handful of the group’s 120 or so members agreed to take this stance.
Catholic bishops in Washington state have been active in their opposition to gay marriage, encouraging in-pew donations in many of its parishes.
“A number of us became concerned by the way the church hierarchy is getting so massively involved in what we feel is a civil matter and politicizing the whole thing,” Callahan said.
They wanted to take this position, he said, to “give witness to the good Catholics who are getting so barraged with this message from the bishops that we feel they are hungry for some voice of some authority and relevance.”
In nationwide polls, nearly 60 percent of lay Catholics say they support same-sex marriage, a departure from the church’s core teaching and the positions taken by their bishops.
“We respect the right of the bishops to make policy within the church, but we feel that they are overplaying their hand,” Callahan said
via Seattle Times.
- 63 Former Roman Catholic Priests to Release Statement Supporting Marriage Equality in Washington (towleroad.com)
- 63 ex-Catholic priests in Washington: We back gay marriage – Blogs (seattlepi.com)
- Washington State Resigned Priests Come Out for Marriage Equality (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
Starting in December, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts will let clergy bless gay couples, a change announced after a national Episcopalian convention this month approved a new rite for same-sex relationships.
The diocese will continue to forbid clergy from performing gay marriages, something its Eastern Massachusetts counterpart allows. But in an interview last week, the incoming Western Massachusetts bishop said he plans on asking worshipers whether they want to revisit the prohibition.
By a wide margin, Episcopalians at this month’s national General Convention approved a new rite blessing same-sex relationships. Each diocese in the country can decide whether to perform the blessing.
Following the convention, the Diocese of Western Massachusetts announced it would give parishes the option to perform the same-sex blessing.
Bishop-elect Douglas John Fisher, who will succeed Bishop Gordon Paul Scruton in December, called the resolution “a big move in the right direction.”
“This is a great development for our gay brothers and sisters, and we hope to celebrate that with them starting in December,” Fisher said in an interview.
While the new ritual will not constitute nuptials, Fisher left open the possibility the diocese may ultimately approve gay marriage, following the lead of the Eastern Massachusetts diocese, which sanctioned such services in 2009.
“When I get there, I’ll certainly be having those conversations,” said Fisher, currently rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y. “We’ll see where all of that leads.”
– full report at The Boston Globe.
- Episcopalians Approve Rite to Bless Same-Sex Unions (nytimes.com)
- Episcopal Church approves same-sex blessing rite (kansascity.com)
- US church approves gay blessings (bbc.co.uk)
Religious figures who support gay marriage will today launch a fightback against church leaders who have come out against same-sex marriage.
Representatives from the Church of England, liberal Jews, the Quakers and the Unitarian and Free Church will join forces at Westminster to declare their backing for the Government’s plans to legalise civil gay marriage, which have provoked strong opposition from leaders of the Anglican and Catholic churches.
Some faiths want the Coalition to go further by giving churches the freedom to carry out religious same-sex marriage.
Those attending the conference will include Giles Fraser, a priest who resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral last autumn following the Occupy protests; Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans; Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for the Quakers; Rabbi Roderick Young; Derek McAuley, chief officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches; and the Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
Mr Parker said the Quakers believe that all committed relationships are of equal worth.
“The new proposals allow civil partnerships in Quaker meeting houses, but that is not a marriage; it is a legal contract, not a spiritual one,” he said. “We don’t seek to impose this on anyone else. For Quakers this is an issue of religious freedom.”
Rabbi Young, who will represent the Movement for Reform Judaism at the conference, said: “The proposal to extend civil marriage to gays and lesbians is greatly to be applauded. However it is not enough. It is a bizarre situation when lesbian and gay rabbis may perform a legal religious marriage for heterosexual couples, but are denied the right to experience that joy for themselves with their partners.”
Today’s meeting has been organised by Labour, which backs David Cameron and Nick Clegg in their efforts to bring in gay marriage, despite vocal opposition from many Conservative MPs. Labour also wants the Government to give churches the freedom to carry out religious same-sex marriages – without forcing them to do so by law.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said last night: “Many religious organisations and people within different faiths support same-sex marriage.
“Whilst opposition from some church leaders has been strong, other prominent church figures are supporting same-sex marriage. It should be recognised that there are many views within and between different faiths. If you believe in religious freedom, those organisations that do want to offer same-sex marriage ceremonies should be allowed to do so.”
She said Mr Cameron must not be deterred by opposition within his own party and beyond and urged him to call an early debate in Parliament rather than stall on the issue.
The Government is expected to reject the calls to allow churches to “opt in” to religious same-sex marriage, a proposal which could fuel the Conservative revolt on the issue.
But church leaders fear the planned civil marriage law would spark legal challenges in the European Court of Human Rights by gay rights campaigners, which would force churches to conduct religious same-sex marriage against their will.
– more at The Independent.
- Children’s Charity Barnardo’s Chief Joins Gay Marriage Row (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Could gay marriage debate drive young Christians from church? (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- (Australian) Gay Christians hope for church acceptance (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Gay religious weddings ‘supported by 68% of Scots’ (scotsman.com)
The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop on Saturday told several hundred Presbyterians committed to advancing gay equality issues that their work soon could pay off.
“This is hard work, but we can do it because it is worthy work and it is Godly work,” Bishop Gene Robinson, 65, of New Hampshire told those attending a dinner hosted by More Light Presbyterians, a pro-gay rights group of the Presbyterian Church (USA), in the Westin Convention Center Hotel, Downtown. “We will live to see the day that the church of Jesus Christ, in whatever form it is, will repent from what it has done to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the way it has repented for slavery.”
The Presbyterian Church (USA), the country’s largest Presbyterian group with 1.95 million members, is holding its 220th General Assembly in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, through Saturday.
Various proposals concerning gay marriage could lead to contentious debate within the Louisville-based Protestant denomination.
Robinson, who plans to retire next year, said he finds inspiration from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He called what is happening now in the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches “holy chaos.” Gay equality work in both denominations has caused a sense of confusion, which he called a step forward from the certainty that most Christians felt when it came to what God and churches thought of homosexuals.
Christian history teaches that standing for the right thing often comes with a price, Robinson said.
“So the real question for your church and mine is this,” he said, “If you’re not in trouble for the gospel you preach, is it really the gospel?”
- The Truth in Transgender: Will the Episcopal Church Amend Its Rules? (religiondispatches.org)
- Meetings to draw 6,000 Presbyterians to town (triblive.com)
Last month — just a week before the president announced his support for marriage equality — I had the privilege of hearing Governors Chris Gregoire of Washington and Martin O’Malley of Maryland speak (at the Human Rights Campaign [HRC] offices in Washington DC) about their hard-fought battles to secure marriage equality in their respective states.
Perhaps the most eloquent explanations of how her Catholic faith played an important role in her decision to defend marriage equality comes from Governor Gregoire who had initially opposed, on religious grounds, civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Speaking in a television interview on Seattle’s KING Channel 5 on 4 Jan. 2012, the governor related how she had been hesitant to support marriage equality, in large part, because of her Catholic faith. It was in talking with her own daughters, however, that she began to understand that marriage equality was a civil rights issue similar in some ways to the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s which she had supported passionately as a child. After talking with a priest friend who supported her change of heart on the matter and after entering into respectful dialogue with her local bishop (who did not support marriage equality), Gregoire made the bold and faith-filled decision that she could not in good conscience deny the right of civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples in her state. Moreover, it was as a person of faith, as a Catholic, that she realized that she had a moral obligation to support marriage equality.
While the march to full marriage equality in the United States seems to advance at an agonizingly slow pace, it is important for us to recognize that most American Catholics (who now represent the largest single religious denomination in the country and, with just over 68 million members, make up approximately 22 percent of the American population) support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Although it is the increasingly conservative bishops of the US church who get the lion’s share of press coverage on the issue, more newsworthy stories are actually those that report that five Catholic governors have worked, often at considerable risk to their political careers, to advance marriage equality. Even better news is that they are working in concert with the beliefs of millions of other American Catholics who understand that the Gospel AND important church teachings support marriage for all.
So, Let’s Hear It For The Millions of American Catholics Who Support Marriage Equality!
Bernard Schlager, Ph.D.
Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry,
Pacific School of Religion
-full report at Huffington Post
- Lay Catholics Stand Up for Gay Marriage (queeringthechurch.com)
- Maine’s Catholic Parishes Won’t Raise Funds for Marriage Equality Opponents (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Catholic Nun Challenges Church’s Stance on Gay Marriage (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Straight Mormon Allies at Gay Pride, in Nine US Cities. (queeringthechurch.com)
- Rabbi criticises religious opponents of equal marriage (queeringthechurch.com)
- Maryland Catholics Organize to Support Marriage Equality (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- A Father’s Love for His Gay Son and for the Catholic Church (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Mormons For Marriage Equality (queeringthechurch.com)
It’s one of the most shopworn cliches of the gay rights movement—the angry religious leader, usually Christian, denoucing LGBT people as “perverts” or a danger to the stability of society.
Even in Minnesota, that trope has continued to play itself out with the state’s Catholic bishops helping lead the charge to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The state already has a similar law on the books, but the amendment would make it hard for a future legislature to reverse it or for a court to find the law unconstitutional.
One local filmmaker, though, wants to change that.
“The religious right owns faith when it comes to issues like this,” Matt Peiken told Patch. “There’s an imbalance here that I wanted to correct.”
- Catholic Bishops’ Response to Equal Marriage Proposals: Don’t do it (queeringthechurch.com)
- Minnesota Lutherans reject gay marriage ban (queeringthechurch.com)
- Gay marriage vote divides Minnesota clergy (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Over 100 Religious Leaders in Minnesota Unite to Defeat Anti-Gay Legislation On November Ballot (thinkprogress.org)