Catholics Continue to React to Supreme Court Marriage Equality Ruling

Bondings 2.0 is continuing its coverage on the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.  We are continuing to provide our readers with more responses from Catholic leaders, organizations, and individuals.   If , in your general reading on this topic, you come across a Catholic response that you like, please send the link to:  We will try to include it.   Please limit suggestions to responses from Catholics or that discuss Catholic issues.   Of course, feel free to share your own reactions in the “Comments” section of this post.

For yesterday’s post, which contains more reactions, click here.  For a prayerful response, click here.  For New Ways Ministry’s official response, click here.

The following are some of the responses we’ve been collecting.  For each excerpted response, we provide the link back to the full statement or article.

Lisa Fullam

Lisa Fullam, Associate Professor of Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley:

After providing an analysis of how Catholic principles underlie Justice Anthony Kennedy’s judicial opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Fullam states:

“Perhaps a good first step for Church leaders would be to applaud the Court’s decision in light of its overlap with Catholic values regarding marriage. Of course, the Church may still refuse to marry lesbian and gay couples, just as it refuses to marry anyone with an un-annulled previous marriage. In time, I trust that Church teaching on sacramental marriage will evolve, too, and take note of the powerful spirit of love and commitment vivifying lesbian and gay marriages as well as straight marriages. 

“But in the meantime, please, please, let’s stand with the Court and celebrate the equal human dignity of ALL God’s children.”   (From a Commonweal magazine blog post)

[Read Professor Fullam’s article, “Civil Same-Sex Marriage: A Catholic Affirmation,” published on Bondings 2.0 on April 15, 2014.]

Bishop Robert McElroy

Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego:

After a statement expressing a desire for government to preserve a unique status for heterosexual married couples, Bishop McElroy stated:

“The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God- -in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world. We will do so in a manner which profoundly respects at every moment the loving and familial relationships which enrich the lives of so many gay men and women who are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and ultimately our fellow pilgrims on this earthly journey of life. And commanded by the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will continue to reach out to families of every kind who are encountering poverty, addictions, violence, emotional stress or the threat of deportation, and to attempt to bring them faith and care, service and solidarity.”  (From a statement)

(As mentioned in yesterday’s Bondings 2.0 blog post, a number of bishops have issued statements on the court’s ruling, many of which were similar in tone and message.  We provided links to blog posts which contain excerpts and links to these if you would like to read them.  We will try to provide excerpts from bishops’ statements which we consider to have some unique aspect or tone to them.)

Christopher Hale

Christopher Hale, Executive Director, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good:

“Friday’s Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage across the country presents an interesting moment for Catholics in the U.S. The church opposes gay marriage, and this likely won’t change even under Pope Francis the Troublemaker. But we also must acknowledge that this moment is a great joy for many Catholics—gay and straight. In recent history, many upstanding and faithful Catholics have said that they have heard the voice of Jesus say to them that the love between two persons of the same-sex isn’t sinful, but holy, sanctified, and blessed.

“I myself struggle with this conundrum. There’s nothing more important in my life than being Catholic and a part of the universal Church of Jesus Christ. For me, it’s not just membership in a fraternal organization or civic group, but in a family that gives me my identity, my roots, and my wings. I take my faith’s teaching on every issue—including gay marriage—seriously, but I, too, can’t help but feel joy for my LGBT friends who celebrated Friday’s decision.” (From a blog post)

Archbishop Wilton Gregory

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta:

After reiterating official Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman, Archbishop Gregory stated:

“This judgment, however, does not absolve either those who may approve or disapprove of this decision from the obligations of civility toward one another.  Neither is it a license for more venomous language or vile behavior against those whose opinions continue to differ from our own.  It is a decision that confers a civil entitlement to some people who could not claim it before. It does not resolve the moral debate that preceded it and will most certainly continue in its wake. 

“The moral debate must also include the way that we treat one another–especially those with whom we may disagree.  In many respects, the moral question is at least as consequential and weighty as the granting of this civil entitlement.  The decision has offered all of us an opportunity to continue the vitally important dialogue of human encounter, especially between those of diametrically differing opinions regarding its outcome.”  (From a statement)

Jason Welle, SJ

Jason Welle, SJ, Contributor, The Jesuit Post:

After describing the challenging closeted situation that Nana and Dot, his grandmother and her lifelong woman companion endured decades ago, Welle reflects on the significance of the court’s ruling:

“This weekend, I’m thinking about Nana & Dot as the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage is to be considered a civil right for all couples, without exception. This week, thousands of couples in the United States will not have to endure a life of secrecy and legal uncertainty. This ruling means that their unions have the law behind them. Their families will be treated equally by the states, they will not risk losing their children and property because someone else disapproves of their union. As of today, as Justice Kennedy notes in his opinion, ‘This Court’s case and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order,’ and gay and lesbian civil marriages will be respected, as far as the law is concerned, as part of the foundation that contributes to our civil and social order. . . . 

The trending hashtag on Twitter this weekend is #LoveWins. I hope that this will be true for everyone of goodwill in this nation, regardless of their view of this decision. While the legal case may be settled, it does not bring everyone into agreement. But I sincerely believe that when they’re at their best, the United States of America and the Catholic Church are about the same thing: enabling and inspiring people to greater love, fidelity, and mutual care. Nana and Dot were both American and Catholic and these are the things they taught me to value most. It is my prayer that this ruling, which brings gay and lesbian people more openly into the mainstream of American society than ever before, can be an opportunity for greater understanding and mutual love and concern for each other.” (From a blog post on The Jesuit Post)

Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters, Columnist, The National Catholic Reporter:

“Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision. The sky did not fall. Young men and women will still fall in love, get married, and make babies. The Church will still be there to accompany them. The fact of sexual difference is not going away anytime soon. But, as in the referendum on this issue in Ireland, yesterday’s decision is a wake up call for the Church. Are we going to continue to fight same sex marriage in the courts and in our words, to the exclusion of other more pressing issues? Are we going to continue to let the egalitarian, and largely secular, left set the Church’s agenda? Or are we going be about our business of accompanying people, all people, and especially married couples, with a teaching about marriage, and with the grace of the sacrament, and with the loving support of the Christian community, all of which are as beautiful today as they were at 9:59 a.m. yesterday. ” (From a blog post on


Stay tuned for more excerpts from commentary continuing this week.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

12 replies
    • Thomas Smith
      Thomas Smith says:

      How can Bishop Gregory state that “we will continue dialogue” when even Fortunate Families and CALGM, church-sanctioned groups, are refused a place at the Synod on the Family in September?

  1. Richard McIvor
    Richard McIvor says:

    I hope we can live and let live again.
    I want that everyone that’s LGBTQ can commit to the one they love and marry just as everyone cis/straight can.
    We’re all continually trying to understand love and sex and it’s power for life.
    Marriage itself evolves in every generation while having a long tradition of being the love of a lifetime.
    Who can understand this thing called love?
    How can we get love right even with one person?
    We’ll sort out the legal implications of same sex and opposite sex marriage.
    Just as new rights are legally recognized and obtained let’s not legally sanction those trying to live with long developed traditions of marriage.
    A traditional religious leader who declines to perform a gay marriage is not a criminal, a hater.
    Who can make their spouse, whom they love, do anything?
    Let’s live and let live.

    • poolgirl2
      poolgirl2 says:

      Congratulations! If only my brother and his partner could have also enjoyed this gift. They both died of AIDS in the early ’90’s. Perhaps if they had been able to make a real commitment to each other, they would still be alive today.

  2. poolgirl2
    poolgirl2 says:

    In response to Michael Sean Winters, Columnist, The National Catholic Reporter “… Are we going to continue to let the egalitarian, and largely secular, left set the Church’s agenda?…” (From a blog post on

    With all due respect to Mr. Winters, I take issue with this statement. Two definitions of “secular” are:
    – not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world

    – not religious

    – of, relating to, or controlled by the government rather than by the church

    – of or relating to the worldly or temporal
    – not overtly or specifically religious
    – not ecclesiastical or clerical <secular landowners.

    As a Liberal-Progressive, (to the left of center) my life is a bit further from secular than that of many "right" people. My life purposely revolves around my church, the good of our community, our country, our family, and social issues.

    As far as egalitarian, it is defined as:
    – of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities
    – "a fairer, more egalitarian society"

    So, having said this, I am happy to be a bit to the left. I am not as secular as the right, and certainly more egalitarian than most.

  3. winterhavenlarry
    winterhavenlarry says:

    Consider the children — While I have been enjoying the celebratory spirit this past week, and also awaiting the inevitable backlash, it occurred to me that it’s not all about us; it’s about the family . It’s not just the lovers, the couples, who benefit from this. They do, with so many rights that have been denied and are now granted, but it is also about the CHILDREN! While so many of the opposition will say that marriage equality will harm the family, I truly believe that it is just the opposite. Now, the children of these families will be able to proudly say that they have two parents (who just happen to be the same sex.) The children will benefit from the legal and societal support that they will now be entitled to under the law. This law will protect the family, promote stronger family ties. God bless the child!

  4. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    Today the Supreme Court handed down three more rulings.

    One upholds the use of the lethal injection drug, midazolam, which has been used for two agonizingly, botched executions. Sotomayor stated in her dissent that it, “would not matter whether the state intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake.” Alioto stated that the plaintives, “failed to establish that Oklahoma’s use of a massive dose of midazolam in its execution protocol entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

    “The Supreme Court also struck down an EPA air quality rule that put limits on mercury, arsenic and acidic gases emitted by coal-powered power plants. Justice Antonin Scalia concluded that the EPA ‘unreasonably’ interpreted the Clean Air Act when it decided not to consider industry compliance costs and whether regulating the pollutants is ‘appropriate and necessary.'”

    With some blessed exceptions, the remarks of my brother bishops concerning marriage equality has ranged from disapproving to threatening. Public support for the LGBT community’s exercising of their civil rights has resulted in loss of jobs at Catholic institutions and denial of the Eucharist. The American institutional church insists that any repercussions for the firings is religious persecution. My brothers, where is your voice on today’s rulings? Do we, as Catholics, support the death penalty? Will people who do be fired and denied the Eucharist? Do we support the ravaging of the Earth? What does Laudate Si mean to you? Will The Fortnight For Freedom emphasize the importance of all Catholic social justice teachings and encyclicals?

    As an American Catholic, I see a culture of death…….especially when mass shootings, violence as the remedy to all ills, the prison industrial complex, real persecution of undocumented workers, abuse, rape and murder of my transgender brothers and sisters, the vilification of the poor, the destruction of the Earth and its creatures, so much lack of respect for life is met by a deafening silence from you.


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