Tag Archives: Same-sex marriage

Australian Bishop’s “Case for Gay Marriage”

Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Bishop Bill Wright says he believes there’s a valid “common good” argument for the government to legalize same-sex “marriage”. In a September article for Aurora, the diocesan magazine, he drew a clear distinction between whether it “squares with Catholic teaching”, or “is a good practical rule for people living in this society at this time”.

Bishop Wright makes clear that the Catholic church cannot recognise same-sex unions as marriage “except  in the limited sense of a marriage according to Australian law”. But, he continues, that is a distinction that the Australian church already accepts, in other situations.




Continue reading Australian Bishop’s “Case for Gay Marriage”

A Bishop’s Pastoral Sanity on Gay Marriage Vote

In Australia, the postal vote plebiscite on marriage equality has become nasty, with numerous reports of an increase in homophobic violence. Conversely, those on the other side complain of an increase in anti-Christian hostility.

It is pleasing therefore, to note that at least one Australian bishop has introduced some pastoral sanity, in a letter to his diocese (Paramatta, in West Sydney). In it, he calls for “respect”, from both sides. That is basic to Catholic teaching (but sadly, too often ignored), and is at the heart of James Martin’s celebrated book on the church and LGBT Catholics. Bishop Long goes further, however, making a key point that is usually overlooked in these discussions: there is a fundamental distinction between civil marriage, the subject of the plebiscite, and sacramental marriage – matrimony .

Just as the introduction of legal divorce made no difference to Catholic Church practice, the proposed introduction of same-sex marriage in civil law, will not make any difference to the Catholic sacrament of matrimony.

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Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv.

I appeal to all Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta to conduct this dialogue with a deep sense of respect for all concerned, and for the opinion and decision that each person is free to make.

It is important to remember from the very outset that the postal survey is about whether or not Australians want the legal definition of civil marriage changed to include same-sex couples. It is not a referendum on sacramental marriage as understood by the Catholic Church.

Source: Catholic Outlook







Continue reading A Bishop’s Pastoral Sanity on Gay Marriage Vote

Another Cardinal Not Fussed About (Civil) Gay Marriage

Just last week it was Cardinal Schonborn saying to an Irish conference in preparation for the World Meeting of Families, that all families need protecting – including queer families. Also last week, another senior cardinal effectively acknowledged in a newspaper interview, that gay marriage is not a major issue for the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Reinhardt Marx

Continue reading Another Cardinal Not Fussed About (Civil) Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage, Malta: Catholic Bishops Stand Aside

Malta is considering the introduction of gay marriage, and some people in this traditionally Catholic country are strongly opposed. “Maltese Catholics United for the Faith” have published a full page newspaper advertisement denouncing same-sex marriage. This is consistent with the pattern in so many other Catholic countries and states which have introduced marriage equality. Usually, the bishops have endorsed these campaigns against, or even sponsored them.

Not in Malta. Instead, they have issued a statement explicitly distancing the archdiocese from the campaign.

The Archdiocese of Malta categorically states that, while respecting the right of freedom of expression of every person or any other entity, it is not in any way involved with the propoganda by the Maltese Catholics United for the Faith.

The Archdiocese of Malta conveys the teaching of the Church without resorting to any other name, and encourages everyone to fulfil their duty responsibly on the 3rd June, as outlined by the Bishops of Malta and Gozo in their Pastoral Letter for the General Elections 2017.

The advice to voters contained in that pastoral letter is remarkably restrained, Instead of weighing in on the specifics of the issues, it refers in much broader terms to the responsibilities of voters, and the importance of choosing people of wisdom and integrity. It urges voters to exercise their consciences in this decision – and to embrace the “ethical values we believe in.” The closest that the letter comes to specifying those values is to name “the protection of human life from its conception to its natural end”

This is a clear reference to abortion, and in so many previous instances, this would have been automatically followed by a reference to “the sanctity of marriage”. Not in Malta. Instead, the statement continues with the value of “respect for the dignity of each person”.

Coupled with the earlier insistence on conscience, LGBT Catholics and their allies may read this as permission from the Archdiocese to support marriage equality.

Gay Marriage Comes to Taiwan

It’s been widely expected, and now it’s confirmed by the BBC: same-sex marriage is coming to Taiwan. Note though that this is “same-sex” marriage, and not necessarily full marriage equality. The court ruling has given the parliament two years to legislate for marriage between same-sex couples, but it’s possible that such legislation could provide only for marriage, but not for any of the contingent rights that normally come with heterosexual couples. It could also take two years or more, for this decision to take full effect. There will not be gay wedding bells in Taipei, just yet.

This is the first Asian country to approve gay marriage, in any form – but it won’t be the last. We now have same-sex marriage approved, at least in principle, on every continent. That surely deserves

Taiwan’s top judges have ruled in favour of gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions.

The highest court ruled that current laws preventing members of the same sex from marrying violated their right to equality and were unconstitutional.

It gave parliament two years to amend existing laws or pass new ones.

Wednesday’s landmark decision came as the LGBT community faces increasing persecution in the region.

In a press release following the ruling, the court said that “disallowing two persons of the same sex to marry, for the sake of safeguarding basic ethical orders” constituted a “different treatment” with “no rational basis.”

The court concluded that “such different treatment is incompatible with the spirit and meaning of the right to equality” as protected by Taiwan’s constitution.

More at: BBC News

Gay Marriage, in Church – Norway!

Same-sex marriages may now be conducted, in Church, across Scandinavia (at least, in the region’s national churches, the Lutherans).


Sweden paved the way in 2009. With the support of Swedish bishops, the same legislation that provided for same-sex marriage, included provision for gay marriage in Lutheran churches.

Iceland followed suit when it approved gay marriage the following year, in 2010. Again, this was by parliamentary legislation, but with the support of the country’s bishops.

By Nordic standards, Denmark was slow to legislate for full gay marriage – perhaps because as the first country to approve a form of  civil partnerships that were popularly thought of as gay “marriage”, way back in 2009 they did not feel the need as keenly as their neighbours. Nevertheless, when they did finally approve full equal marriage in 2012, that also included provision for same-sex weddings in Lutheran churches.

For some years, Norway was the laggard. Gay civil marriage was approved back in 2009, but for years, a handful of Lutheran bishops resisted all attempts to extend that to church weddings. Now, in a vote by an overwhelming margin of 88 out of 115, a Norwegian Lutheran church conference has voted to extend marriage services to same-sex couples.

Norway’s Lutheran church votes in favour of same-sex marriage

Norway’s Lutheran Church voted on Monday in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, becoming the latest of a small but growing number of churches worldwide to do so.

Last year the French Protestant Church allowed gay marriage blessings, while the U.S. Presbyterian Church approved a change in the wording of its constitution to include same-sex marriage.

In a vote at the annual conference of the Norwegian Lutheran Church on Monday 88 delegates out of 115 in total backed same-sex marriage.

“Finally we can celebrate love independently of whom one falls in love with,” said Gard Sandaker-Nilsen, leader of the Open Public Church, a religious movement within the church that had campaigned to change the rules.

Source: Reuters

Archbishop Lori: Opposing Gay Marriage, Is How We Are Helping the Poor!

Crux reports that at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ mid-year assembly in St. Louis, there’s been some questioning whether their priorities reflect those of Pope Francis.

Archbishop Blase Cupich noted the effort US bishops have made on behalf of “individual employers, secular employers,” with religious objections to some laws. He argued Church leaders should give equal ranking to changing US immigration policy in their planning for the years ahead.

But Archbishop Lori explained that actually, the bishops really are helping the poor – by opposing gay marriage.

Archbishop William Lori, who spearheads the bishops’ religious freedom advocacy, said in an interview he found the discussion Thursday “helpful.” Lori said there is a link between religious liberty and the Church’s mission on behalf of the poor. If the US Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage in its ruling this month, Lori said the Church’s social service agencies, which employ thousands of workers and provide them benefits, may not be able to continue operating if they are compelled to recognize same-sex couples.

“In the crosshairs is the ability of the Church to serve,” Lori said. “We need the freedom to do this according to our teachings.”

With Overwhelming Yes Vote, A Rainbow Over Dublin

With votes still being counted in Ireland’s gay marriage referendum, early indications are that it will be a comfortable win for Yes.

  • The Irish Times liveblog says the “general consensus” is that Yes will win by 2-1.
  • David Quinn, a prominent leader of the No campaign,  has tweeted congratulations to the Yes campaign.
  • Regular reports from the counts show that in the rural areas, the vote is neck and neck. In urban areas, Yes is comfortably ahead.
  • In Dublin it’s overwhelming and appropriately, here’s a rainbow to show for it.

Red State Marriage Equality Train Rolls Along

As marriage equality notched up one victory after another in 2012 and 2013, opponents bleated a repetitive refrain: those were all in liberal, blue states. Gay activists had reached their limit. In red states, traditional marriage would continue to prevail.
Not so.
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Even in Idaho, progress in a court ruling (see below)
Over the year end, in quick succession two red state judges (first Utah, then Oklahoma) ruled that state bans on same – sex marriage were in conflict with the US constitution, and so struck down those bans. Since then, both rulings have had stays placed on their execution, but meanwhile, there’ve been a series of further notable decisions in other red and purple states, some in just the past week. Individually, each of these is less dramatic than the Utah and Oklahoma decisions, but collectively they are impressive, and reinforce the impression that the writing is now on the wall for gay marriage bans, even in red states.
In just the past week,
In Kentucky, a judge ruled today that the portion of the state ban that prohibits recognition of out of state same – sex marriages.
Also today, a hearing was held in a Texan court in one of several legal challenges to the state ban on gay marriage.
In Idaho, a judge ruled yesterday that the state ban on gay marriage cannot be used to exclude a same – sex partner from adopting a spouse’s child.
In Nevada, an obscure ruling against discrimination in jury selection, led to the Republican governor, and also the Democratic Attorney General, declining to defend in court the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Fresh legal challenges to state bans were announced in Lousiana, and Missouri.
As at 12/02/2014,in addition to suits challenging things like survivor benefits and parental /adoption issues, direct challenges to gay marriage bans have been already been filed in the following 21 US states. I  the light of today’s partial ruling, expect Kentucky to join this list soon – and Mississippi, where several couples have applied for marriage licences, in expectation of being denied, which would prepare the way for a full legal challenge. Is there anywhere in the US of A, where state bans on marriage equality are not under threat?
  1. Arkansas
  2. Arizona
  3. Colorado
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. Kentucky
  7. Louisiana
  8. Michigan
  9. Missouri
  10. Montana
  11. Nebraska
  12. Nevada
  13. North Carolina
  14. Ohio
  15. Oregon
  16. Pennsylvania
  17. South Carolina
  18. Tennessee
  19. Texas
  20. Virginia
  21. Wisconsin
(More details for these at Marriage Equality USA) Even in the churches, including the Catholic Church, there’s progress – but that’s another story.
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