New Ways Ministry Welcomes Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage Equality

Supreme Court

Supreme Court

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

22 replies
  1. Janet Hanson
    Janet Hanson says:

    Met you all at Pax Christi National Meeting. Thanks for your courage and hard work. It’s a great day!

  2. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    I respectfully disagree with you. As Catholic I follow Jesus teaching and the model of family he presented us with was his own family: Mary and Joseph, a woman and a man.

  3. artquiltma
    artquiltma says:

    Jesus taught us to love one another, and he expressed love and acceptance for all. That is the basic message of Christian belief but the Catholic Church has gotten very far from it. I cannot belong to a church that finds reasons to judge people and refuse to love them for who they are.

  4. Linda Bowen
    Linda Bowen says:

    ” 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”…..
    It seems to try to imply that there is Universal euphoria over this decision and there is not. I agree with Maggie and my concern now is that Catholics, Baptists, Orthodox Jews, etc with all be labeled “bigots” if we disagree. That disagreement may also lead to an infringement on our freedom to worship because we “discriminate” against gays. That there will be costly court battles if the church does not allow gay Catholics to be married in their churches. I have seen very little in the way of tolerance from the gay community.

  5. Melva Robbins Shrum
    Melva Robbins Shrum says:

    I don’t care for the sweeping generalization that Catholics, who sit in the pew, support LGBT. I and my family sit in the pew and most certainly do not support marriage outside of its Biblical definition. Marriage joins one man and one woman, who forsake their respective families to cleave to one another.

    • Donn Murphy
      Donn Murphy says:

      Your gay grandchildren or great-grandchildren will eventually influence your thinking. Gay marriage joins one man and one man, or one woman and one woman, who forsake their respective families to cleave to one another, just as you have done. Whomsoever God has joined together, let no one in your pew wish asunder. Judge not, lest you shall be judged.

    • Kat
      Kat says:

      Sorry you feel that way Melva. It might be helpful to consider that the spirit of goodness and love is alive and well in our world, showing us the way out of darkness and into light. Marriage equality as a civi right though separate from holy matrimony in the church, is a passage toward enlightenment to bring all of us together in Christ. Its time we learn about the gifts God has given us through the lgbt community, a constant part of His creation. This in no way disrespects or undermines the unique procreative quality of heterosexual unions. It seems to me gay and lesbian couples are esential to the spiritual health of the Catholic church and until we all open up our hearts to them, we will remain unable to see as God sees.

  6. Friends
    Friends says:

    No religious denomination in the United States will EVER be forced to marry people within its church premises whom it declines to marry, for whatever theological or political or social reason. But the vicious rhetoric from high Church officials, who are now condemning the legal authorization of secular marriage for same-sex couples as “tragic”, is so mean-spirited and wrong-headed and callous that it’s completely off the charts. This Church desperately needs new (and newly-enlightened) charismatic leadership. Pope Francis, to be fair, is moving in that direction. But it’s going to require a long, hard process of “Reformation” to set the Church on a new course of true pastoral relevancy and service to the world.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Edith Windsor, who was the plaintiff behind the court case which led the US Supreme Court to strike down DOMA earlier this year. For some LGBT advocates, awarding the pope is misguided recognition, as in an […]

  2. […] step the justice took in reading aloud from the bench his blistering dissent when the Supreme Court struck down DOMA this past […]

  3. […] The anti-marriage equality effort is in response to a  judge’s September 27th court order that New Jersey issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples beginning October 21. Judge Mary Jacobson claimed same-gender couples would be denied equal protection under the law if the state continued with merely civil unions, as they would be unable to receive federal benefits in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decisions in June. […]

  4. […] Pope Francis’ statement which was heard around the gay and Catholic world.  Not even the Supreme Court’s marriage decisions in June generated this much electronic […]

  5. […] Also on The Wild Reed, Michael Bayly also wrote up an account of the Pride Festival in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, describing Catholic participation at the event.  Though last year Bayly organized “Catholics for Marriage Equality” in the state,  this year, the group edited its name to “Catholics Celebrating Marriage Equality,” reflecting that the state recently adopted a marriage law for gay and lesbian couples and the Supreme Court’s recent decisions. […]

  6. […] struggle for LGBT legal equality advances in the wake of the Supreme Court’s two decisions this week and yet, for Catholics, creating equality in our Church remains unachieved. Equally […]

  7. […] responses to Wednesday’s Supreme Court decisions around marriage equality continue from politicians, pundits, and parishioners alike. Celebrations […]

  8. Tragic says:

    […] DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for LGBT people and the Catholic Church […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *