Meet the new year same as the old year.
As Marriage Equality comes to Illinois, it is not surprising that a pastoral letter has been issued by Cardinal George of Chicago attacking the very need to have marriage evolve. Cardinal George wrote “It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love. Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage.”
He went on to try and claim that despite the anti-gay positions of the Church on marriage and equality, the Church is not anti-gay so long as, well, they remain celibate. He stated “[T]he Church welcomes everyone, respects each one personally and gives to each the spiritual means necessary to convert to God’s ways and maintain friendship with Christ. People live out their sexual identity in different ways, but the Church offers the means to live chastely in all circumstances, as the love of God both obliges and makes possible.”
The backlash was quick. Rick Garcia, the Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project, stated “It is unfortunate for Cardinal George that he has chosen not to join the growing number of religious leaders and faithful lay people across Illinois – including many devout Catholics. People of all backgrounds and beliefs are standing up for equality under the law, the protection of families, and the advancement of religious and individual freedom here in the Land of Lincoln.
Garcia, who is a practicing Catholic, went on to say “How the Church – or any faith – views marriage within it’s own institution is one thing, but secular society treats marriage as a civil right. No individual or church, including Cardinal George and the Catholic Church is going to be forced to perform or recognize any marriages they would not find consistent with their own beliefs. Nothing in the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act will change that. What also will not change is the fact that secular society views marriage as a fundamental civil right that should be afforded to all. Equal justice under the law is owed to all citizens of Illinois.
The Rainbow Sash Movement was harsher and stated:
As Gay Marriage gains momentum in our society across the board, we have an opportunity in early January in Illinois to come down on the right side of history, by supporting Marriage Equality.
Perhaps the loudest voices of opposition lately have been coming from the Catholic Conference of Illinois under the leadership of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. It is not surprising to us that Vatican’s Christmas media blitz of bigotry is followed by this recent pastoral on Gay Marriage by Cardinal George.
Like the Pope the Cardinal seems to think that the family is threatened “to its foundations” by attempts to evolve marriage’s “true structure.” Marriage first and foremost has always been a way to express love and be life affirming. This is an example of why reasonable people cannot buy into the Cardinal George’s reasoning that LGBT people as “intrinsically disordered” and thus lesser, unauthentic human beings andseeking the exclusion of LGBT people from both society and marriage, by whatever means necessary. This has more do with personal biases than Church Teachings, or the promotion of the Gospels.
By seeking our exclusion from society; seeking to scapegoat us for society’s downfall by promoting blatant untruths about the nature of gay people and their relationships. This pastoral is the most recent example of an out of control person seeking to demean the Chicago LGBT Community when earlier attempts have failed. Giving the timing of this pastoral one can see the paw prints of the Vatican all over it. It is a more localized media blitz of bigotry.
The Cardinal claims that based on the complementarity of the two sexes that the love of a man and a woman joined in a marital union is open to life, and that’s how families are created and society goes along. … It’s not in our doctrine. It’s not a matter of faith. It’s a matter of reason and understanding the way nature operates.”
This is certainly one of the options of marriage the others are adoption, or no children. Those decisions are in the hands of the respective married couple whatever sexual orientation they may be. Cardinal George speaks of marriage from purely sacramental platform, and that is his right; however, the state has the right to develop marriage from a legal civil perspective based on equality, fairness and the US Constitution.
Joe Murray the Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement said of Cardinal George “he seems to be backing away from Scripture and church teachings to explain his resistance to Marriage Equality and places the whole debate under the mantle of reason and natural law. If he is sincere about this I once again challenge him to a public debate at any Catholic College in Illinois. I am not afraid of reason or natural law, but bigotry is another matter.
The Rainbow Sash Movement would encourage law makers in Illinois to allow for the option to all communities of faith to either perform LGBT marriage or not perform such ceremonies in their houses of worship. Those Churches should have the right to make that decision for themselves not Cardinal George.
It is time for Gay Marriage in Illinois.