Catholics and the Freedom to Marry
As faithful Roman Catholics we believe that the constitutional right to practice freedom of religion is based on respect for the dignity of each individual. We must guard against, not promote, the domination of one religious tradition over others in our civic life. Making respect for the dignity of all people not only an ideal but a living truth, we affirm civil marriage for same-sex couples throughout the United States. Our declaration of conscience is based on the following:
The American principle of the separation of Church and State was enshrined in the Constitution to ensure that no particular religious perspective would be imposed on our pluralistic society.
Catholic teaching on social justice has been central to the building of a just society, creating awareness of diversity in the human family, calling us to lives of respect, not simply tolerance, for one another.
We remember that Roman Catholics were once denied civil rights, treated with suspicion, ridiculed because of our sacred rituals, and questioned as to our allegiance to “foreign authorities.” Memory challenges us to remain vigilant whenever bigotry and injustice enters into public discourse.
Same-sex civil marriage does not in any way coerce any religious faith or tradition to change its beliefs or doctrine or alter its traditional marriage practices.
We know that God is a most gracious and wonderful Creator. Many of us have gay and lesbian relatives and friends. We value the love and commitment we witness in their relationships; their devotion to each other and their children. Civil marriage bestows the dignity and equality called for in our nation’s highest ideals, “the inherent natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
As Roman Catholics, we differentiate between sacramental marriage and civil marriage. Therefore, we perceive that same-sex civil marriage poses no threat to our Church. While we respect the authority and integrity of the Church in matters of faith, our prayers and discernment have brought us to a new openness on this issue. We do not ask the Church to perform same-sex marriages. We do implore the Church to honor the States’ prerogative to authorize civil marriages for our gay and lesbian family and friends.
-- Adapted from Catholics for Marriage Equality Declaration, www.catholicsformarriageequality.net
Repealing The Defense of Marriage Act
The so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” excludes same-sex couples from the 1138 federal responsibilities and protections of marriage, including Social Security survivor benefits and equal immigration treatment even in states that recognize same-sex marriage. DOMA prevents married same-sex couples from filing joint federal tax returns and pooling resources without being unfairly taxed. Catholics for Equality calls for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Call or write your Members of Congress and state “I am a Catholic and member of Catholics for Equality from your state and believe that all men and women should have the freedom to marry and be provided equal marriage opportunities regardless of sexual orientation. I ask that you vote for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act when it comes before you.”
Capitol Hill Switchboard: 202.224.3121
Contact Your Representative: http://writerep.house.gov
Contact Your Senators: http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
For more information about the Freedom to Marry
Wikepedia Basic Facts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act
Freedom to Marry: http://www.freedomtomarry.org
Human Rights Campaign: http://www.hrc.org/issues/marriage.asp
For resources on Catholics and the Freedom to Marry, please consult:
For further information on Freedom to Marry in each U.S. state, please visit the Equality Federation website and click the map:
FREEDOM TO MARRY RESOURCES
Talking with Friends, Families, and Colleagues about Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Couples, Dignity USA and GLAAD (2008)
The Call to Wed: Why Catholics Should Celebrate Same Sex Marriage, Patricia Beattie Jung, Dignity USA (2004)
Stephen J. Pope, "Same-Sex Marriage: Threat or Aspiration." Dec. 6, 2004, America Magazine
"Marriage Equality's False Divides" by Dennis W. Wiley and Robert M. Hardies