Catholic Case for Same-Sex Marriage Is Part of Religion's Next Great Awakening

Last week, we reported how statistical research continues to show that people of faith across the country, especially Catholics, are supporting marriage equality initiatives in great numbers.  That message is getting across to lawmakers and opinion leaders and is starting to re-shape the debate about marriage in our nation.

In a blog post on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) website, Dr. Sharon Groves, Director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, likens this movement to the next Great Awakening for religion:

“Faithful people have been wrestling for decades with their faith and their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, neighbors, or fellow congregants.  But just as Jacob found a deep love for his estranged brother Esau after wrestling with God, when people of faith soulfully and honestly look to their spiritual roots for guidance they are joining in larger and larger numbers the chorus of religious voices supporting marriage equality throughout the country. For people of faith, this movement feels sometimes like the next great awakening!”

Catholics are in the forefront of this movement.  The statistics show that Catholics poll higher than any other Christian denomination in their support for marriage equality.  As in the other denominations and faiths, Catholics are supporting marriage equality not in spite of their faith, but because of their faith.  As evidence of this trend is an op-ed essay on the Washington Post’s website entitled “A Catholic case for same-sex marriage,” by New Ways Ministry’s Sister Jeannine Gramick and Francis DeBernardo.  The essay is written in the name of the Equally Blessed Coalition, of which New Ways Ministry is a member, along with Call To Action, DignityUSA, and Fortunate Families.

Among their arguments, they use traditional Catholic reasoning to support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples:

“Catholic thinking dictates that we should use the evidence we find in the natural world to help us reach our conclusions. Many Catholics have reflected on the scientific evidence that homosexuality is a natural variant in human sexuality, and understand that lesbian and gay love is as natural as heterosexual love.

“In forming our consciences, Catholics also consult scripture and our theological tradition. Here, again, there is little firm reason to oppose marriage equality. The Bible presents us with a marital landscape that includes polygamy, concubinage, temple prostitution and Levirate marriages (in which a man is bound to marry his brother’s widow.) Jesus disputed the Mosaic law on divorce, saying that what God has joined man must not separate, but this dictum was modified in the letters of St. Paul.”

Moreover, they find support for marriage equality in the Catholic social justice tradition:

“Catholic social teaching requires that all people be treated with dignity, regardless of their state in life or their beliefs. It upholds the importance of access to health-care benefits, the protection of children, dignity in end of life choices, and, most importantly, the promotion of stable family units. Marriage equality legislation would be an obvious boon to same-sex couples and their children in each of these areas, yet the bishops are spending millions of dollars opposing it.”

You can watch and listen to the great diversity of religious leaders, including Sister Jeannine Gramick, who are speaking out for marriage equality because of their faith, on this short video made by Marylanders for Marriage Equality:


–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

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