Sunday, June 17, 2012

Letter to the Editor

By Eileen A. Gavin, PhD
Professor emerita, St. Catherine University

Because of the efforts of many groups such as Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) St. Paul Synod, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), I believe that hopes will soon be realized for gay and lesbian partners and indeed for all people of good will.

Recently, official pronouncements of the St. Paul Synod of the ELCA and the NAACP have renounced the discrimination that the proposed marriage amendment implies.

It is heartening for those of us who remember Vatican II and the civil rights movement to note that each time that society has become more inclusive, it has improved. Women, people of color, and, in fact, all people of good will have been the beneficiaries of greater inclusivity and reduction of discrimination, even though much more progress is needed.

Perhaps some people who want to be non-discriminatory could think that religious beliefs stand in their way as a hurdle. But that is an illusion. The doctrines and regulations of religious institutions are not in question, nor are they threatened by civil marriage statutes. Members of churches, synagogues, and mosques are entitled to hold to the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. The only hitch is that they do not impose their view of marriage upon people who have beliefs that differ from theirs.

People whose testimony I trust have told me that some companies in civil society accord the same benefits to married couples and to committed domestic partners. In at least one of these companies, this practice has been in effect for over a decade, I was informed

Desire(pronounced day see ray) Mercier, a brilliant and far-seeing Belgian, who served the Church as a cardinal during the first part of the twentieth century, once said (paraphrase): The world will not take kindly to religious knowledge apart from secular knowledge. His words remind me of Christ’s saying, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

I think that a “No” vote on the proposed marriage amendment is a step in the right direction. Whatever the outcome of the vote in Minnesota may be, I believe that justice and compassion and inclusivity for gay and lesbian people will soon prevail.

After preparing my remarks, I learned that General Mills openly stated its opposition to the proposed marriage amendment.

Ken Charles, vice president of global diversity at General Mills said, "We respect the right of others to disagree. But we truly value diversity and inclusion – and that makes our choice clear." (St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 15, 2012.)

See also the previous PCV post:
Hundreds of Catholics Gather to Speak Out Against Marriage Amendment as a Matter of Conscience

Related Off-site Links:
Why Catholics Can Vote 'No' – Fr. Bob Pierson (Sensus Fidelium, June 11, 2012).
"This is the Living Word"Sensus Fidelium (March 28, 2012).
Archbishop Just One of Many Catholic Voices in Gay Marriage Debate – Michael Bayly (Sensus Fidelium, December 12, 2011).

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Eileen. It seems to take people a while to realize that civil marriage is not religious marriage. The law allows heterosexuals to marry regardless of their beliefs about marriage. What good reasons are there for disallowing same-gender couples equal protection of the laws as the 14th Amendment to the Constitution demands?