The following is a statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry on the Supreme Court’s decisions about marriage equality:
The Supreme Court’s decisions today that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that marriage equality should be revived in California feel like “justice rolling down like a river,” in the words of the prophet Amos. While Catholic bishops will not welcome these decisions, the people in the pews of Catholic parishes across the country are ecstatic that these major injustices against their lesbian and gay friends and family members are now dissolved. We thank the Court for these decisions, and we give thanks to God for answering our many prayers seeking justice.
Catholic lay people across the U.S. and in California have worked hard to support their deeply held Catholic belief that equal treatment by our government’s laws should be extended to lesbian and gay couples who want to marry. Catholics hold this belief because of their faith, not in spite of it. Our Catholic social justice tradition motivates us to work for strong families and expansive social protections, and these can only be achieved when all families are treated fairly and equally under the law.
These Supreme Court decisions are definitely not the final word on marriage equality in our nation. Much work remains to be done. And Catholics will be part of that work in state and national campaigns to facilitate marriage equality and to end other injustices against LGBT people such as discriminatory immigration policies. Catholics will stand with those of other faiths to show that religious people do not support discrimination.
Catholics also have work to do within our own church. We are ashamed and dismayed that our bishops are often the most vocal opponents of marriage equality. Their statements often reveal a stunning ignorance of lesbian and gay lives and a lack of compassion that is unbecoming of faith leaders. Catholics pray that today’s Supreme Court decisions will open our bishops’ eyes so that they will at least meet and dialogue with lesbian and gay Catholics and their families. If the bishops do this, they will witness firsthand how the Gospel of justice and love which they preach is practiced by those they consider the least in their flocks.
New Ways Ministry is a 36-year old national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for LGBT people and the Catholic Church. For more information visit www.NewWaysMinistry.org.