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Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

CoE plan to bless gay couples’ civil partnerships?

In Marriage and family on January 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The Church of England is considering allowing gay couples to have their civil partnerships blessed  in church.

Insiders have told The Mail on Sunday that a top-level panel of bishops set up to review the Church’s policy on homosexuality is actively discussing the issue.

If the reform is approved, vicars would be permitted to conduct a  formal blessing service in church for a same-sex couple who have earlier ‘tied the knot’ at a register office.

Claire Balding Civil Partnership

Union: Television presenter Clare Balding (right) and Alice Arnold at their civil ceremony in 2006

Union: Television presenter Clare Balding (right) and Alice Arnold at their civil ceremony in 2006

But any move to relax the ban on such blessings would provoke the biggest split yet in the Church, which is already reeling from rows over women and gay bishops.

One option the panel is expected  to consider is a compromise under which gay couples seeking a blessing could be asked to declare they intend to remain celibate, in line with official Church teaching.

But this could create a backlash among gay couples, who would regard it as demeaning to be quizzed about their private lives.

A source close to the working party said that a ‘wide-ranging discussion’ was under way covering a ‘whole range of options’ and recommendations will be made to the House of Bishops later this year.

– more at  Mail Online.

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Pope’s Peace Day Statement Is Countered by Catholic Parents

In Marriage and family on January 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

As we reported at the end of last month, Pope Benedict’s statement for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, January 1st, contained a reference that same-gender married couples are a threat to world peace.  But on January 1, 2013,  the pope’s message was countered by a pair of married heterosexual Catholic parents who have a long history of working for LGBT justice and equality.

In his statement the pope said that allowing gay and lesbian people to marry is

“. . . an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”

Mary Ellen and Casey Lopata

In a Washington Post “On Faith” essay, Casey and Mary Ellen Lopata,  who are the founders of Fortunate Families, a national network of Catholic parents of LGBT people, countered the pope’s rhetoric by describing the lives of  lesbian and gay friends of theirs:

“We are fortunate enough to be able to contrast the pope’s rhetoric with the reality of Bob’s life, and those of many other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people whom we know. They don’t seem like threats to world peace or the future of humanity. They are men and women trying to earn a living, love their spouses, raise their children and contribute a little something to their churches and their communities.”

Additionally, they contrast the pope’s point of view with that of the majority of U.S. Catholics:

“The pope is losing the fight against marriage equality because Catholics weigh his abstract definitions of what it means to be human, what it means to be male and what it means to be female, against the evidence of their own experience. They understand instinctively that human beings are too complex to be captured in such arid taxonomies, that categories devised by celibate philosophers no longer make much sense in a world in which traditional gender roles were abandoned long ago. Rather, what they know, what they believe, is the evidence of their own experience. Like John the Evangelist, they testify to what they have seen and heard.”

more at « Bondings 2.0.

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Gay Catholics Speak Out for Marriage Equality in Illinois

In Marriage and family on December 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

The Rainbow Sash Movement (Lesbian/Gay Catholics) challenges the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Illinois when that Conference makes the claim that it represents nearly 4 million Catholics in the State of Illinois on the issue of Gay Marriage; such a claim is not based in reality.

 

Rainbow_Sash_Movement_Logo

The Illinois Catholic Conference also states that marriage is unique because it’s a union between two genders and “same-sex marriage goes against nature.” This is another example of hierarchal bias of basic human rights and fairness for LGBT people. It is not reasonable to deny the evolution of marriage over the centuries with divorce and remarriage being the most obvious example of such evolution.

The Rainbow Sash Movement finds it difficult understand why the Illinois Catholic Conference would align itself with an organization which is part of the ex-gay movement to promote their anti-gay agenda. Courage was founded by Fr. John Harveybased on the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and understands sexual orientation of the LGBT Community as a disease to be cured. The attempt to promote such bigotry under their conference is in our opinion not only offensive to the LGBT Community and most reasonable people, but is also lacking in any significant pastoral intent.

The promotion of such ideas by the Illinois Catholic Conference that love is an abomination when Lesbian and Gay couples practice it in Gay Marriage has its origins in ancient taboos, not nature. This only highlights how out of touch Catholic leaders are with the views of pew-sitting Catholics when it comes to Gay Marriage.

At issue is how to balance competing rights—to freedom of religious expression and freedom from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We believe it would be unfortunate to replace legal oppression of one community (LGBT couples) with legal oppression of another (Illinois Catholic Conference), and current Gay Marriage legislation to be introduced in January 2013 has built in protections to make sure this does not happen.

We want to remind our leaders the principles of our faith and church are based on: forgiveness, love, mercy and charity. Not the flawed opinions of men – even those in the church hierarchy. We are calling on our Bishops to refocus their attention on caring for the poor and vulnerable

The Rainbow Sash Movement believes that the Catholic Conference of Illinois has a right to create its own definition of the sacrament of marriage, but not to impose those beliefs on the people of Illinois who understand this as a question of basic fairness and social justice.

Perhaps it is time for the Church to remove itself from Civil Marriage if it cannot tolerate marriage equality which is defined by the state, and focus rather on sacramental marriage which is defined by the Church. The Catholic Conference of Illinois is stepping over the line when it tells non Catholic Churches who they can and cannot marry.

It is time to pass Gay Marriage in Illinois.

SOURCE Rainbow Sash Movement

PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1wZdx)

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Scotland refuses to ban ‘any church’ from providing same-sex marriages

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

All religious institutions – including the Church of Scotland – will be free to decide for themselves if they would like to provide marriages for gay couples, under plans announced today.

Church-of-Scotland-logo-1

The move comes after the UK Government yesterday unveiled its formal plans to allow gay couples to marry in England and Wales from 2013.

However, the Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages – a decision that has already been criticised by equality campaigners along with the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan.

The Scottish Government has ruled out introducing similar conditions for the nation’s Presbyterian church, although SNP ministers insist that no churches would be forced to hold same-sex weddings.

Ministers have already decided they want to make the change, and now need to consult on proposed legislation to be put to the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation on its draft legislation – opposed by the Church of Scotland and the nation’s Catholic Church – will last until March.

 

– Pink News

 

 

Again and Again, Statistics Tell a Positive Story About Catholics

In Marriage and family on December 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Over the past month, several polls have confirmed what many previous polls have already shown:  the Catholic laity support LGBT equality, including marriage equality.

In the most recent survey, a Quinnipiac poll released last week, Catholics outpace average Americans when it comes to marriage equality.  According to Newsmax.com:

“While same sex unions are approved by 48 percent to 46 percent overall, Catholics give them the thumbs-up by 49 percent to 43 percent, the survey from Quinnipiac University found.

“ ‘It seems pretty clear that attitudes toward same-sex marriage in American society are changing rapidly,’ said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Connecticut university’s polling institute.

“ ‘While the country remains split on the issue, supporters have come pretty far in the last four years.’ . . .

“The biggest opposition among any group is with white Protestants who oppose it 63 percent to 32 percent.”

A Public Religion Research Institute report confirms that Catholics are ahead of the average American population on marriage equality:

“A slim majority (52%) of Americans favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and 44% oppose.

“Among religious groups, majorities of Catholics (59%), white mainline Protestants (56%), and the unaffiliated (77%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

A recent survey of Catholics in Illinois, conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, showed an overwhelming majority support some form of  legal relationship recognition for lesbian/gay couples.  According to LGBTQNation.com:

“. . . 81 percent of Catholics surveyed support either full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples or the right to a civil union. Specifically, 39.9 percent said they support marriage rights and 40.1 percent said their position is for same-sex couples to have civil unions. Only 15.7 percent said there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

“. . . the same poll found that 43.6 percent of Illinois residents approve of full marriage equality, 31.8 percent preferred civil unions and 20.2 percent said there should be no legal recognition. In 2010, the same poll reported 33.6 percent of people were in favor of marriage rights.”

The Illinois statistics are significant because that state, which already has a civil unions law, may well take up the discussion of a marriage equality law in 2013.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 Bondings 2.0.

Catholic Group Wants Answers on Archdiocese Spending

In Marriage and family on November 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm

EAGAN, Minn. — A group of nearly 100 Catholics is calling for accountability and transparency in the church’s finances.

At a meeting in the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan Thursday night, Martha Turner of Catholic Coalition for Church Reform said she hopes to start a conversation with the Archdiocese for St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“We would like to hear your stories,” Turner said. “We want to hear from you, we want to hear your experiences and your concerns about how the money is used that you donate to your parishes and that some of which ends up in the archdiocese.”

The archdiocese spent $650,000 in a failed attempt to pass a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Michael Anderson, one of the leaders of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, asked the audience if the archdiocese’s spending was improper.

“How would we feel if the archdiocese had invested a million dollars saying ‘vote no’ in opposition to the marriage amendment?” Anderson asked. “Would we be complaining about that? I don’t know. I think it’s an honest question.”

Several people at the event said the church’s stance made them feel like they had to choose between going to Mass and supporting gay friends and family. They said they wanted to have more of a say in the way the church spends its money. A few said they had reduced their donations or stopped going to church.

via The Progressive Catholic Voice

 

Former Catholic priests announce support for same-sex marriage

In Marriage and family on October 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

A group of 63 former Roman Catholic priests spoke out Thursday in support of Referendum 74, the November ballot measure that will ask voters to approve or reject Washington’s same-sex marriage law.

The former priests, some with as many of 43 years of service and all now married, are all members of local parishes.

Pat Callahan, a member of the group, said that for the last 27 years members have been a source of fellowship and support for each other. This is the first time the group has taken a public stance on an issue this important to the church. All but a handful of the group’s 120 or so members agreed to take this stance.

Catholic bishops in Washington state have been active in their opposition to gay marriage, encouraging in-pew donations in many of its parishes.

“A number of us became concerned by the way the church hierarchy is getting so massively  involved in what we feel is a civil matter and politicizing the whole thing,” Callahan said.

They wanted to take this position, he said, to “give witness to the good Catholics who are getting so barraged with this message from the bishops that we feel they are hungry for some voice of some authority and relevance.”

In nationwide polls, nearly 60 percent of lay Catholics say they support same-sex marriage, a departure from the church’s core teaching and the positions taken by their bishops.

“We respect the right of the bishops to make policy within the church, but we feel that they are overplaying their hand,” Callahan said

via  Seattle Times.

 

Anglican stance on same-sex marriage ‘morally contemptible’, says gay cleric

In Marriage and family on August 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, accuses Rowan Williams of hardening the Church of England’s attitude to gay marriage

Rev Jeffrey John, dean of St Albans

The most senior openly gay cleric in Britain has accused the Church of England of pursuing a “morally contemptible” policy on same-sex marriage, denouncing it for moving “in the opposite direction” to society and criticising Rowan Williams for changing his “public position” on the issue as soon as he was made Archbishop of Canterbury.

In a new preface to his 1990 booklet on gay relationships, Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, writes that, by setting themselves against same-sex marriage, the bishops of the Church have prioritised the union of the Anglican communion over the rights of gay Christians.

“This policy may be institutionally expedient, but it is morally contemptible,” he writes in an abridged extract of the preface published in the Guardian. “Worst of all, by appeasing their persecutors it betrays the truly heroic gay Christians of Africa who stand up for justice and truth at risk of their lives. For the mission of the Church of England the present policy is a disaster.”

John writes that, contrary to the expectations of those who had expected Williams to introduce a new tone in the Church’s stance on homosexuality, the Church’s line has in fact “continued to harden” during his near-decade as Archbishop of Canterbury.

John – who was forced to withdraw his appointment as bishop of Reading in 2003 due to fury from conservative evangelicals – says that as Archbishop of Wales Williams had made the case for an ethical framework for gay relationships. “Tragically, he changed his public position as soon as he reached the throne of St Augustine,” he adds. “Since then the Church’s line has continued to harden.”

In Permanent, Faithful, Stable, republished this week as Anglicans prepare for a stormy autumn of debate over same sex marriage, John outlines the theological case for gay people in stable and faithful relationships to be offered the same recognition as heterosexual couples. While superficially there is “little difference”, he writes, between civil partnership and marriage, the official distinction “helps perpetuate a distinction in status”.

via The Guardian.

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First ‘gay marriage’ held in Muslim-majority Malaysia

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

A gay pastor who married his musical producer boyfriend in New York last year has fulfilled a vow to hold a wedding banquet in his native Malaysia in what they believe is the first such event in the Muslim-majority country.

Malaysian-born Ngeo Boon Lin and African-American husband Phineas Newborn III, quietly held the closed reception Saturday – complete with public kisses and karaoke ballad performances – with about 200 guests, including a handful of Chinese-language journalists who were asked not to report on the event until afterward.

The couple risked the ire of a government that has banned a gay arts festival, prosecuted a politician for sodomy and declared that homosexuality has no place in Malaysian society.

“We’re thankful to be able to make Malaysian history here,” Newborn sai

-full report at  alarabiya.net

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Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts to allow clergy to bless gay couples

In Marriage and family on July 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

Starting in December, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts will let clergy bless gay couples, a change announced after a national Episcopalian convention this month approved a new rite for same-sex relationships.

The diocese will continue to forbid clergy from performing gay marriages, something its Eastern Massachusetts counterpart allows. But in an interview last week, the incoming Western Massachusetts bishop said he plans on asking worshipers whether they want to revisit the prohibition.

By a wide margin, Episcopalians at this month’s national General Convention approved a new rite blessing same-sex relationships. Each diocese in the country can decide whether to perform the blessing.

Following the convention, the Diocese of Western Massachusetts announced it would give parishes the option to perform the same-sex blessing.

Bishop-elect Douglas John Fisher, who will succeed Bishop Gordon Paul Scruton in December, called the resolution “a big move in the right direction.”

“This is a great development for our gay brothers and sisters, and we hope to celebrate that with them starting in December,” Fisher said in an interview.

While the new ritual will not constitute nuptials, Fisher left open the possibility the diocese may ultimately approve gay marriage, following the lead of the Eastern Massachusetts diocese, which sanctioned such services in 2009.

“When I get there, I’ll certainly be having those conversations,” said Fisher, currently rector of Grace Church in Millbrook, N.Y. “We’ll see where all of that leads.”

– full report at  The Boston Globe.

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