Priest Says Same-Sex Marriage Improves Society, As Catholic Nations Commence Weddings

Fr. Peter Daly

A Maryland Catholic priest said the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling which legalized marriage equality nationwide in June “may, in fact, make things better, not only for LGBT couples, but also for our society.”

Fr. Peter Daly wrote these words in the National Catholic Reporter, where he also endorsed civil marriage equality and suggested separating civil and sacramental marriages. He asked whether same-gender couples “really need the protections offered by civil marriage,” answering in the affirmative though admitting he has not always believed so.

On this point, Daly called the documentary Bridegroom a “mind changer.” Daly says all relationships “could only hope for a gentle, respectful, joyful, loving relationship like the one” the couple featured possesses. One partner died in a tragic accident, while the other was denied benefits and even access to the funeral, leading Fr. Daly to conclude:

“The movie is heart breaking. We can see the injustice of the situation and the need for a legal structure to protect people. If same-sex marriage could encourage relationships like Tom and Shane’s, it would be an unalloyed good for everyone in society, including our church. . .

“The whole society benefits from more stable and committed relationships. Everyone benefits when people have clearer legal rights and responsibilities. Same-sex marriage does not erode the meaning of sacramental marriage. In fact, it is a tip of the hat in respect for it because it seeks a parallel institution.”

[The film is available for viewing on YouTube.]

Fr. Daly’s column reveals a deep compassion for LGBT people, though he acknowledges that the Supreme Court decision may bring some bumps in the road.  He would have preferred that marriage equality had been enacted by legislative or electoral means.  He acknowledges that religious liberty questions may arise, but is confident that they can be resolved for the good of all.  He criticizes the idea that court clerks who disagree with the same-sex marriages should be allowed to withhold marriage licenses for lesbian and gay couples.

Fr. Daly also offered practical contributions to the Catholic Church’s emerging response to marriage equality. Calling a Catholic priest’s dual roles as minister and magistrate when signing marriage licenses “odd,” he wonders if “priests should stop signing state-issued marriage licenses.” He wrote further:

“On the practical level, how will parishes respond to same-sex marriage? . . .Pope Francis gave us example during his visit to the United States. He met with a gay couple. He warmly welcomed them to the Nunciature. He treated them with affection and respect.”

Daly noted that his parish would not be able to perform weddings for lesbian and gay couples or celebrate anniversaries, but he listed what he insists they will be doing:

“As long as I am pastor here we will welcome and register everyone who shares our Catholic faith, including same-sex couples. After all, we register divorced and remarried people. We will educate their children in our religious education programs, and we welcome them as sponsors at baptism and confirmation. We open our ministries to them. We will allow them to teach religious education so long as they are respectful of the church teaching. (That we require of everyone.) We will encourage them to participate fully in the life of the church, including the Eucharist. We will treat everyone with respect and dignity. We will allow them the right of their own conscience.”

Towards the end, Fr. Daly speculated about the church will “adjust its language and teaching” on homosexuality and said Catholics would be “embarrassed” by what has been said and done to LGBT people, including the use of the term “intrinsically disordered.”

While the embarrassment may be a true feeling, historically Catholic nations have refused to wait before advancing LGBT rights. News broke last week that Irish legislators approved the laws needed for marriage equality to be implemented and weddings may begin within two weeks, reported The Irish Examiner

In Chile, among Latin America’s most conservative nations, civil unions have begun according to The Guardian. Though short of full marriage rights, LGBT activists are hailing this as a victory in a country where there is only 25% popular support for marriage equality and divorce was legalized in 2004.

Marriage equality in Slovenia is threatened, however, after that nation’s Constitutional Court approved a popular referendum seeking to withdraw legislation passed last March guaranteeing equal marriage rights. The Catholic Church has backed the anti-equality referendum, reported NDTV.

All proving, once again, that Catholics do support marriage equality.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

7 replies
  1. Anton
    Anton says:

    Well’-said, Fr. Daly. Paul of Tarsus did not wait for for consensus before admitting non-circumcized members into the church. He followed his conscience, and eventually other church “authorities” agreed, especially when the Holy Spirit touched them. Peter’s vision on the rooftop at Joppa also convinced him that God was not discriminating. What God declares clean we ought not deem UNclean. The centurion Cornelius was visited by Peter and Peter ate with him. Accepting LGBT persons in the church is following the directive of the Holy Spirit.

    • John Logan
      John Logan says:

      God declared all races clean, not all actions. Also Peter baptised gentiles first. He followed the Great commision from Christ. Paul visited Peter and had the approval of the apostles. If you read Paul`s epistles you know he condemns all sodomy.

  2. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Father Peter makes me realize that I still have a shred of hope for the Catholic Church. Everything he said feels like Jesus in our midst. Will closed minded church leaders try to silence him because of his supportive position? I willl keep Father Peter Daly in my prayers of gratitude and ask God to protect him.

  3. Babs
    Babs says:

    ER, the TV show did an episode, I think the first year they were on about two women who had lived together for years but one had no control over the other’s medications, treatment, in the ER and her family took over banning the partner from seeing her as she died. It was then I realized THAT WAS WRONG, so long ago and yet in church time so recent. I will go on supporting the LGBT rights and equality.

  4. Bishop Carlos Florido, osf
    Bishop Carlos Florido, osf says:

    Fr Daly is courageous and right in his statement,

    As far as I am concerned, Sacraments are only those instituted by the Jesus the Christ and I cannot find any Scripture that clearly states so. I think that marriage is a blessing of the love between two persons, nothing less and nothing more.

  5. Fr. John A. Boylan, OEF
    Fr. John A. Boylan, OEF says:

    As an Ecumenical Catholic priest (Franciscan), I have been graced to serve as the wedding officiant many times for same-sex couples. When a Roman Catholic, I could not do that. I used to serve as a jail chaplain with the Archdiocese of Seattle. The position was de-funded because the “resources were not available.” A couple of months later, the archdiocese spent a couple million dollars trying to defeat 52 (the early Marriage Equality measure on the ballot here in the state of Washington). My leaving the Roman church was liberating for many reasons. That was one of them.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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 *