Catholic Responses to Supreme Court Decisions Continue to Pour In

The euphoria over yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality is continuing unabated by Catholics and LGBT advocates.

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy

Perhaps the most amazingly Catholic quotation from the decisions was the phrase written by Catholic Justice Anthony Kennedy in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act:

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”

Equally Blessed, a Catholic coalition that works for equality and justice for LGBT people in church and society, released the following statement yesterday:

 

Equally Blessed Logo“As members of the Catholic Church and citizens of the United States, we are elated that the U. S. Supreme Court has both struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for marriage equality in the state of California. We are especially pleased to see that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, wrote the opinion striking down DOMA, and that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is also a Catholic, concurred in this historic decision.

“While we would have preferred the Court to find the California law prohibiting same-sex marriage to be clearly unconstitutional, in dismissing the case, the Court has cleared the way for same-sex couples to be legally married in that state.

“Catholics around the country have worked hard to pass legislation that permits same-sex couples to marry, and protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination. They have done so not in spite of their faith, but because of it, knowing that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and that all of God’s children must be treated with dignity, compassion and respect.

“The court today has removed two obstacles blocking the path to justice for same-sex couples, but that path must still be walked. So today we celebrate and offer prayers of thanksgiving, and tomorrow we invite our fellow Catholics to join us in working to bring marriage equality to the states in which it has not yet been written into law.”

The member organizations of Equally Blessed are Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry.

Both the National Catholic Reporter and Whispers In the Loggia reported on reactions from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other marriage equality opponents.

Bryan Cones, on U.S. Catholic’s blog wondered if the Supreme Court decisions will persuade the bishops to tone down their campaign against marriage equality and instead engage in dialogue with LGBT people:

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones

“I for one would hope for a kind of pause on the bishops’ approach to this question: It should be obvious now that, on the civil side of things, same-sex couples have convinced Americans that they deserve access to the civil benefits of marriage. We in the church need to be having our own conversations about the religious institution of marriage and the religious meaning of human sexuality–long a monologue from the hierarchy that has not included the voices of lay people, married, single, gay, bisexual, or straight. Our own deliberations may lead us to new conclusions, or it may lead to a reaffirmation of old ones. But the signs of the times, today’s rulings included, demand our common discernment. “

Catholics United’s blog, Our Daily Threadcarried a post by Daniel Byrne in which he challenged the USCCB’s characterization of the decisions as “tragic”:

“It further upsets me that you call these decisions “tragic.” What’s tragic is that 23% of children live in poverty. What’s tragic are the natural disasters occurring because of climate change. What’s tragic is that Guantanamo Bay is still open (thanks to Bishop Pates for hisstatement, by the way). Providing equal rights for same-sex spouses is not tragic.

“Let’s be clear, this is a civil rights issue. No longer will same-sex spouses be turned away from seeing their partner in a hospital. No longer will binational couples be separated because their marriage isn’t recognized in the US. No longer will another 1,100 rights be denied same-sex spouses.”

Jamie Manson, writing on HuffingtonPost.com, tells the story of a group of Catholic LGBT advocates from Dignity/New York, who helped bring the DOMA case to court by supporting the plaintiff, Edith Windsor:

Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor

“As millions celebrate today the Supreme Court’s striking down of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), many will be giving thanks to Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old plaintiff in the case, and her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.

“What most people will not know, however, is the instrumental role that a few members of the New York City chapter of DignityUSA played in this historic moment.”

You can read the inspiring story here.  Or you can see a synopsis and link to an earlier version of this story from The National Catholic Reporter by clicking here.

Manson concludes her essay with some hopeful words, which reflect the mood of yesterday’s and today’s exuberance:

“To paraphrase Margaret Mead’s oft-quoted aphorism, never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed Catholics can change the world.”

–Francis DeBernardo and Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

 

 

9 replies
  1. Chris Nunez
    Chris Nunez says:

    And just coincidentally, in Santa Cruz we’re still celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and had already planned to examine the document ‘Dignitatis Humanae’ for the remainder of the year. Serendipity? The Holy Spirit’s other name!

    Reply
  2. Friends
    Friends says:

    It is indeed interesting that most lay Catholics seem to have a good grasp of social justice issues, and are open and willing to discuss them prayerfully and thoughtfully. But just dangle the words “same sex civil marriage” in front of the Church’s bishops and cardinals, and they react like vampires who have suddenly been exposed to a crucifix or a clove of garlic! Funny thing about that, huh? As the old (but newly cyber-updated) saying goes: “It’s funny peculiar…not funny ROTFL!”

    Reply
  3. Will
    Will says:

    And yet two of the ‘bruiser-prelates’, Dolan and Cordileone, managed to spew some co-ordinated poison almost immediately.

    Reply
  4. Sal James
    Sal James says:

    And the Bishops response to the voting act ruling that gutted the most powerful tool this nation has ever had to stop discriminatory voting practices from becoming law?

    “Personally, I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify the coverage formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, as it disregards the overwhelming evidence that discrimination still exists at the voting booth.”

    Opps. Not the Catholic Bishops but Congressman Sanford Bishop from Georgia.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] United States, the decision which overturned key sections of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Bondings 2.o speculated  that his Catholic upbringing may have influenced his support of human dignity and equality.  We […]

  2. […] cases are heard and ruled upon.  Six of the nine Justices on the Court are Catholic, including Anthony Kennedy, considered the swing vote that brought favorable outcomes in two other cases regarding gay and […]

  3. […] decision against DOMA was written by Justice Kennedy, a Catholic, who placed human dignity at the heart of the ruling as he has done before. How closely his use of dignity is with […]

  4. […] on marriage legislation, and other diocesan officials released statements. Yesterday, Bondings 2.0 reported on the response of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These reactions wer expected, but the Supreme […]

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