Updated: March 20, 2013 6:19AM
We recently heard from E.B. who said s/he was speaking for other silent Catholics when s/he voiced opposition to gay marriage.
“I have a problem calling it marriage. Marriage is one of the seven sacraments, which also includes Holy Communion, Baptism, etc.
Being married has a different meaning to many of us, and we resent someone telling us we must recognize gay marriage or the right of divorced people to remarry.
“These decisions come to us from the pope, not from a lawmaker in the United States or a group wanting to push their values and goals on us.”
Today, readers answer back.
LAURA: I wasn’t married in a Catholic church, so I guess I’m not “married” because I didn’t go through your sacraments.
The point is, the civic and religious definitions of marriage are different, and no one in this country is trying to make them the same.
JERRY: Some people opposed to gay marriage are convinced that churches are going to be forced to go against their morals and start marrying gay people. Not true. There are already churches that are actually happy to marry gay people and even have gay ministers!
I remember the Pride Parade here a few years ago. Gay people from the Anglican parish held up signs saying “God Thinks I’m Fabulous.” The United Church of Canada recently elected an openly gay minister as its leader.
Both these denominations interpret Scripture. They don’t take it literally. Thus, they’re not hung up on Leviticus, which says a man shall not lie with another man, and are able to take larger messages from the Bible.
HELEN: I guess E.B. doesn’t recognize a couple married in a Hindu ceremony. According to E.B.’s beliefs, if a divorced Methodist and a divorced Presbyterian marry in a Protestant church and have a baby together, is that child illegitimate in the eyes of the Catholic Church?
Marriage, as an institution, predates the Catholic Church. And the Catholic Church does not get to impose its view of marriage on a country founded, in part, on the belief that the separation of church and state is a good thing.
MADELYN: I grew up around people who didn’t like Catholics and didn’t think they should serve in public office because they would allow the pope to run America. Now, E.B., it seems you think the pope should be running America.
I’ll support your right to your rites just as I support my gay and lesbian friends’ rights to the rites of marriage.
KYLE: I don’t know any Catholics — and I know a lot of Catholics — who think the Catholic Church owns the definition of marriage.
MARTY: E.B.’s comments are misguided and misleading. First of all, no legal authority in this country can force any religious institution to recognize or perform same-sex marriage, nor are they attempting to. There may be gay Catholics urging for reform, but that has nothing to do with the push for public institutions to recognize same-sex marriage.
Second of all, your “as long as they’re not in my face” remark is a red flag that I’ve been hearing all my life. It means the onus is on LGBTQ people to hide their identity from other people so they don’t feel icky. In other words, “Back in the closet where you belong!”
Are you gay? Are you married? Would you like to be? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And check out my new website, askcheryl.net.