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Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?
Ex-priest Jim Smith, opponent of Minnesota's ballot to ban same-sex marriages, says these are difficult days to be Catholic.
June 20th, 2012
09:35 AM ET

Can 'true Catholics' support same-sex marriage?

By Chris Welch, CNN

Minneapolis (CNN) - Jim Smith is a former Roman Catholic priest who left his post with the church 10 years ago. He's an ex-priest for several reasons, he says, but one of his main concerns was the church's stance against same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.

But Smith remains a Catholic - though he says being a Catholic who actively campaigns for legalized same-sex marriages can be difficult these days.

"I'd much rather this wasn't happening," Smith says of the division that the issue has created among Minnesota  Catholics. "But it does provide some real opportunities because it challenges us to talk to each other, Catholics talking to other Catholics."

Minnesota has become the newest epicenter in the same-sex marriage fight. This November, voters will decide whether they want an amendment added to the state's constitution that would ban marriage between members of the same sex.

Smith will be voting "no." And he has helped spearhead efforts in the state to persuade other Catholics to do the same.

A group he helped form,  Catholics for Marriage Equality-Minnesota, aims "to encourage Catholics to consider the profound sacredness of same-gender relationships and to defeat this marriage amendment," Smith says.

Vatican edicts against same-sex marriage often give Catholic same-sex marriage supporters the impression they're in the minority.

Related story: Same-sex marriage by the numbers 

But a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests 59% of American Catholics support rights allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry. One reason behind that statistic - says PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones - is because U.S. Catholics "overwhelmingly reject the idea that sexual orientation can be changed." A PRRI poll bears that out – with 69% of Catholics nationwide saying a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed.

In the Midwest alone, Catholics are evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage -– with 46% in favor, 47% against.

Opinion: GOP support for same-sex marriage growing

Related story: Both sides re-energized for upcoming same-sex marriage fight

Like Jim Smith, Michelle LaFrance is a Catholic who has also taken the bold step against the church in support of marriage equality.

"I remember thinking 'wow, maybe I shouldn't [remain a Catholic],' " LaFrance said. Ultimately they've remained with the Catholic faith, citing its many positive aspects including going to church. It's an important weekly ritual for LaFrance, her husband and their three kids.

"The Catholic Church, despite the media [attention] it typically gets, does a lot of great things, a lot of great social justice," LaFrance said. She noted the church "feeds the poor, houses the homeless, takes care of the abused."

The LaFrance family belongs to the Church of St. Margaret Mary in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, a congregation which LaFrance describes as fairly progressive. She says the majority of her fellow parishioners agree with her stance on same-sex marriage.

But when LaFrance hears the archdiocese telling people how they should think about it, she can't help but sometimes feel like less of a Catholic.

"I don't think anybody - whatever their religious denomination - whole-heartedly follows every single rule down to the letter."

Related story: U.S. history of same-sex marriage

On the other side of the debate stands Dave Deavel.

Although he agrees with LaFrance to an extent, he says he believes there are certain pillars of the Catholic faith that people should follow. One of those is the church stance that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

"The whole point of what the church teaches is to form people's consciences," Deavel says.

For Deavel, his wife and their five children, attending church is so important they strive to go multiple times a week.

He's active with Minnesota for Marriage, which supports of the same-sex-marriage ban, and has written various blog posts on the topic for the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Asked whether he believes a person can be "less of a Catholic" for disagreeing with the church, Deavel says the Vatican "doesn't really have a certain category for 'less of a Catholic.' "

"But they certainly don't represent what the church teaches," he said. "Is it a spiritual problem? I think yes."

Opinion: The secret gay agenda

In a written statement the MCC said groups such as Catholics for Marriage Equality "do not have any right to call their organizations 'Catholic.'"

In the past, the conference has issued statements accusing Catholics for Marriage Equality of trying "to confuse Catholics and the public about authentic church teaching" on marriage.

"Catholics for Marriage Equality MN attempts to convince Catholics that they can be in good standing with the church and oppose church teaching about human sexuality and marriage, which centers on the complementarity of the sexes and the mutual self-gift of loving spouses in marital union," said an MCC statement.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis declined CNN's request for an interview, but it agreed with sentiments expressed by the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Does church doctrine make it impossible for same-sex marriage supporters to be true Catholics?

"There is no judgment intended about an individual's 'Catholicity' or 'Catholic-ness,' " says MCC spokeswoman Jessica Zittlow.

Minnesota's November ballot proposal to ban same-sex marriage isn't an amendment against LGBT individuals, say the MCC and the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese. Instead, they say it should strictly be viewed as an amendment supporting traditional marriage.

For ex-priest Jim Smith, grappling with the issue has been difficult - a personal struggle that extends to the heart of his faith.

The inner conflict between what Smith believes is right and his love for the church has pushed him to consider leaving the Catholic religion altogether.

In the end, Smith vows he will stay. "It's in my bones."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Christianity • Faith • Minnesota • Politics • Polls • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (2,849 Responses)
  1. Joe T

    The Roman Catholic Church is the largest and oldest Christian Church in the world with more than one billion members. There is sure alot of jelousy.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • sam

      The passive aggressive rah-rah post: always among my favorites.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • citizenmn

      Orthodox churches were here first.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Geoffrey

      I know some copts who would tell you that you are out-and-out wrong on that. The church, as you know it, only really came into being in the fourth century.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Veritas

      citizenmm – Of COURSE it's the oldest Christian church. It is the ORIGINAL Christian Church founded by Jesus Christ [after whom it was named] 2,000 years ago. Christ-ian.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Veritas

      Geoffrey – The Christian Church was in place right after Jesus died. Romans were apt to say "See how these Christians love one another" They didn't have a church building but they used th catacombs and private homes.

      The Acts of the Apostles [Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written by men who lived and worked for Jesus. John was standing at the foot of the Cross with Jesus' Mother when he died. So don't try that old chestnut that the New Testament wasn't written for 400 years!!!!

      And St Paul – while not an Apostle – was co-opted to the apostles because he was a scholar. He also lived at the time of Jesus. His epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Thessalonians emphasise this fact.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  2. Krzysztof

    A person who rejects the teaching of the Catholic Church, i.e. the Pope, is NOT a catholic, even if the person claims to be catholic.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • dpcfoh

      Then the Catholics in this country only number in the single digits. Do you seriously believe that any Catholic out there follows the teachings of the church to the letter?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  3. doug

    Coming from a very strong Catholic family, I was taught to never ever question the church, never ask questions, never think. This is why I left the church. I saw priest harass both girls and boys in church and when we complained about it, we were told to shut up it didn't happen. That is how the church controls its members, blind belief. I don't understand how Mr. Smith calls himself Catholic when the church says he is not, very poor article.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Krzysztof

      Poor you... you have little or no faith and no understanding of what catholicism is. The priests you mentioned made sins and the Church spoke out about it. Priest is an ordinary man who is also weak and a subject to the satan's activities. Just because a priest did sth wrong does not mean the Church is wrong.
      The truth is that the Christ is risen from the death (it is confirmed by the historical evidences and also by the science... e.g. the Turin shroud), and the fact is that the Bible says that the Church should be based on the Petra (the Pope).

      June 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  4. Colin

    A few questions should help highlight why some might be inclined to question Catholicism

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs; or

    (d) Modern Catholics

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) a Catholic

    I believe that an all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire cosmos and its billions of galaxies, watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty" like protect myself from disease with a condom. I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Catholic

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist

    (d) A Catholic with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Catholic

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from Catholicism:

    (a) Catholicism tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Catholicism can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas Catholicism is regional and a person’s Catholicism, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than geographical upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Who am I? I don’t pay any taxes. I never have. Any money my organization earns is tax free and my own salary is also tax free, at the federal, state and local level. Despite contributing nothing to society, but still enjoying all its benefits, I feel I have the right to tell others what to do. I am

    (a) A sleazy Wall Street banker

    (b) A mafia boss

    (c) A drug pusher; or

    (d) A Catholic Priest

    What do the following authors all have in common – Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Locke, and Blaise Pascal:

    (a) They are among the most gifted writers the World has known;

    (b) They concentrated on opposing dogma and opening the human mind and spirit to the wonders of free thought and intellectual freedom;

    (c) They were intimidated by the Catholic Church and put on the Church’s list of prohibited authors; or

    (d) All of the above.

    The AIDS epidemic will kill tens of millions in poor African and South American countries before we defeat it. Condoms are an effective way to curtail its spread. As the Pope still has significant influence over the less educated masses in these parts of the World, he has exercised this power by:

    (a) Using some of the Vatican’s incomprehensible wealth to educate these vulnerable people on health family planning and condom use;

    (b) Supporting government programs that distribute condoms to high risk groups;

    (c) Using its myriad of churches in these regions as “boots on the ground” to distribute condoms; or

    (d) Scaring people into NOT using condoms, based upon his disdainful and aloof view that it is better that a person die than go against the Vatican’s position on contraceptive use.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Scott Pilgrim

      I can see you're such an open-minded person who is tolerant of others beliefs. Congratulations.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • God

      Scott, God here. It is wrong to make ad hominim attacks without backup. Exactly what of Colin's post do you disagree with? Tell me, or I shall smite you.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • dpcfoh

      Com on God, smite him! I've never seen anybody smited (not sure if that's the proper terminology or not).

      June 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Veritas

      Colin, verbal diahorrea might make you feel 'clever' but face it, you're just a boring old fart!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • andy 666

      ... well, if you put it THAT way... I guess that's all true... Snap !

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • andy 666

      @Scott, there's a different between being tolerant, and stating the obvious. Which of these are false? Although, it could have been put more delicately, I'll give you that 🙂

      June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  5. MJP

    The day the Catholic Church gives in to the absurdity of gay marriage is the day a cease to be a catholic. I 'll accept gay marriage the day two men or two women go into a room and one comes back pregnant.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • MK

      Right, because every marriage must result in children so that there are more sheeple that blindly follow.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      So the only thing holding you back on acceptance is...ability to have kids?

      Better go shun your friends and neighbors who are sterile, then.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  6. citizenmn

    Why is so much ink wasted on this wretched interpretation of Christianity known as Catholicism? If you are a Catholic and have any sense of right and wrong, quit this church and join a truer, more tolerant interpretation of Christianity.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  7. Abbeystone

    I'm straight, Catholic, and pro-gay marriage. And I'm not about to leave heChurch. Those who don't like my position can learn to practice acceptance.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Veritas

      Sorry, you can't be a 'bit' of a Catholic. You can't be a Catholic and pick and choose which commandments you obey. You need to make up your mind,
      Calling yourself a Catholic isn't enough to make you one. If you can't be loyal to the one true faith it's time to leave it . We need to weed out disloyal people who try to undermine the church from within – that way our wonderful Faith will be smaller but stronger.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  8. Mike from CT

    One good study on the subject
    web address

    media.thevillagechurch.net/bible-studies/audio/201005211900FMWC21ATAAA_MattChandler_CultureAndTheology-Homosexuality.mp3

    June 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  9. modizzle18

    Religious people are funny.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Harold Trainer, USAF RET

      Love is the premium virtue and gift in God's plan of our journey. It mitigates relationships and marriage including love that mitigates a gay marriage. It properly mitigates all kinds of relationships. It is God's gift to us through his spirit and grace. Why do not the Catholic hierarchy understand this.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  10. joseph

    lol

    June 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  11. gerald

    Clearly CNN would like the answer to be yes. But CNN does not define what Catholicism is. Christ did and the answer is no.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • citizenmn

      Christ defined Christianity; Catholicism is the creation of corrupt popes.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      Christ would strike most churches down if he could see them.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  12. QS

    I need no shepherd for I think and reason...and I am not a sheep,
    I shall want only what serves humanity best;
    I lie down in green pastures because I choose to, not because anything makes me.
    I swim in still waters, I need not be led beside them;
    If a soul exists it is mine and is for me to restore how I see fit.
    Paths of righteousness will never fail to lead a person astray…
    especially for His name’s sake.

    I will walk through many valleys, it’s called life;
    the shadow of death follows one and all, no matter where we walk.
    I fear evil;
    evil is created by man, which is to be feared far more than any of the countless versions of god;
    your rod and your staff do not comfort me as they are herding tools...and I am not a sheep.
    I would be arrogant to think goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, for I am human and we make mistakes.
    I shall not dwell in any house that believes me to be nothing more than an animal which must be told where to go and when.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "I shall want only what serves humanity best;" - so did Hitler, the problem with relativity is that you think you know best

      "If a soul exists it is mine and is for me to restore how I see fit." - if it does exist, then you did not create it, so it can not be yours.

      "evil is created by man" - if that is true, then you do not see tsunamis as tragic ? But then again you are willing to do evil if you consider it the best for humans, like the hunger games or the short story the lottery

      June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • QS

      Hitler wanted something other than what serves humanity best, he wanted what served his ideals best.

      That is why the sentence starts with "if".

      Your logic is flawed because while yes, I think tsunamis are tragic, I don't consider them "evil"...just a natural occurence that happens to take lives. Not something created by man specifically designed to do the same.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Now try and follow this... what you believe serves humanity best is............. your ideal....... unless you believe in what MLK said "the law above the law", so your idea is no better than Hitler's

      June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  13. ChrisInMN

    Being Jewish or Muslim goes against Catholic teaching too, yet Cathlics have no problem allowing folks to be Jewish or Muslium. Why? Because the question should NOT be whether they personally agree with them but if as an American they have an inalienable right to live their own life. THAT should be the poll question, not what their personal views are.

    A Catholic can think you're going to hell in a handbasket, but as an AMERICAN should still support yor right to go in the handbasket of your own choosing.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  14. Obamajoe

    Come on,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,is there a true Catholic??????????

    No Catholic is perfect,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and gay is not the worst thing in this world,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    we have more important things to do than against gay marriage,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    you don't have to support,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Congress hurt this country a lot more than gay marriage,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Did you support congress ?????????

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Obamajoe

      This media just can not focus on our economy,,,,,,,,,,,

      June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • dpcfoh

      Nice post, seriously. Congress and politics in general, recently, has done more to harm the average American than all the gay marriages in this country has. It's a joke as to why people are afraid of gay marriage, they have no real reason other than that they are closed-minded.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  15. Bofusabode

    The real question is -can real Americans support gay marriage--why is it now the gays are demanding more rights than normal Americans have--

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • jim tom

      Why is it now that Americans are at war with the man in the moon–

      I can ask questions that don't make sense too. And I can end them with - just like you

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • ME II

      First, what's "normal"?
      Second, how are gays asking for more rights?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • sam

      That's cute – 'normal' Americans. I have a feeling you believe you're one of those, huh?

      They're asking for *equal* rights, neanderthal.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      More is being able to be married to the same gender partner, no gay couple has ever been denied the right or opportunity to marry the opposite sex

      It's not about equal rights its about changing the definition.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Mikey, it is about equal rights. But you go right ahead pretending otherwise if it makes you feel better.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "It's not about equal rights its about changing the definition."

      Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

      The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

      No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

      Oh by the way a federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Yep you guys are right, how dare we not give the same privileges across the board regardless of meeting a standard of definition.

      Now excuse me while I go sue the Texas Rangers for not letting me have the equal right of playing shortstop solely based on the fact that I have no athletic ability. The nerve of them for not treating me equal and denying me such a privilege.

      But hopefully that lawsuit won't last long because I have to sue the HOA for age discrimination for not letting me live in the over 55 community.

      Then if I succeed it will lay the grounds for you to sue God for the inability of males being able to be with child.

      id10ts.... See Tim Keller's Reason for God on the definition of all communities. Every community has their defining standards.

      Btw, still waiting for the one, only one example of discrimination.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      BTW there is no law to get married, so the section does not apply.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "BTW there is no law to get married, so the section does not apply."

      LMAO it's called a civil right moron. Those rights are::

      Tax Benefits
      -–Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
      -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

      Estate Planning Benefits
      -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
      -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
      -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
      -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

      Government Benefits
      -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
      -–Receiving public as-sistance benefits.
      -–Employment Benefits
      -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
      -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
      -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
      -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

      Medical Benefits
      -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
      -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

      Death Benefits
      -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
      -–Making burial or other final arrangements.

      Family Benefits
      -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
      -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
      -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
      -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

      Housing Benefits
      -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
      -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

      Consumer Benefits
      -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
      -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
      -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
      -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
      -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
      -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
      -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
      -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
      -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
      -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As I said, Mikey, if it makes you feel better to pretend that being permitted to marry another consenting adult just as you are permitted to do const itutes "more rights", go on ahead. Some of us prefer to live in reality.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Yep you guys are right, how dare we not give the same privileges across the board regardless of meeting a standard of definition."

      By the way it's hundred of thousands of experts that have stated being gay is NOT a choice, it's NOT a mental illness and it CAN'T be voluntarily changed. Gay couples deserve the same equal civil rights as straights. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

      Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "LMAO it's called a civil right moron. Those rights are::", yes LMAO, like you said they are civil rights, not laws dictating people to get married.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Mike

      Wow, now that was really stupid. Maybe you should look up what a civil right is. Freaking moron.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Try and follow this please

      ", if it makes you feel better to pretend that being permitted to marry another consenting adult" that is where you are mistaken, I am just as restricted as you are to only marry opposite gender consenting adults. I am not permitted to marry any adult. I have no more rights then you have. I can not marry the same gender. You and I are equals. The only difference is I choose to follow the law and you want the law changed for special situations.

      Still waiting for the example of when a man trying to marry a woman was denied that right.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I love it when folks like Mike point to the Const itution and say, "But there IS no 'right to marry!" It only highlights their ignorance of history. The founders he sita ted to enume rate ANY rights for fear that people like Mike would proceed to claim that only those rights that appeared in the Consti tution and Bill of Rights should be considered rights. The doc*uments were purposely written to allow for a future that the founders knew they could only imagine.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      What qualifies as an expert, Stephen Perto.

      "being gay is NOT a choice" - then being an angry murder is not a choice either, or a polygamist. Granted I like a lot of the opposite sex I see.

      Or is love not a feeling but a free will choice, ah now we are on to something. The hebrew words are doh, and ahava. Worth studying

      But as tom mentioned to get into a relationship it requires consent, unless you disagree with tom.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And at one time, Mikey, white women could only marry white men. It's the same thing. It doesn't matter if the definition needs to be changed. You are permitted to marry the consenting adult you love. There is no reason anyone else should be denied the same treatment, regardless of gender. If the only reason you have is based on religious belief, then you'd best go live in a theocracy, because the laws here don't come from the Bible.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Tom
      I love it when you misquote me, when did I point to the const itution,

      PLEASE GET THIS

      "You are permitted to marry the consenting adult you love"

      THIS IS NOT TRUE FOR ME OR YOU. I can not marry me brother father mother, unless you want to redefine that law too.

      still waiting for the discrimination case.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's difficult to translate your post into something approaching understandable English, but from what I gather, you seem to think that gay marriage somehow infringes on the rights of others. How does it do that, exactly?

      Because "murder", you know, is a crime not because it's morally wrong but because it infringes on someone else's legal rights. Same with pedophilia. As far as polygamy, if all the participants are consenting adults, I don't have an issue with it. Why do you?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "But from what I gather, you seem to think that gay marriage somehow infringes on the rights of others."

      Never said that, don't throw up smoke screens

      "Because "murder", you know, is a crime"

      not if I get the courts to change that defination also, you know because I was born that way, it shouldn't be a crime anymore. Now you may finally get the point, I pray.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "I did not point to the Const itution." But you did, when you mentioned 'rights' and discrimination. You don't have to type the word, dear. It's implied in your post. Where did you imagine laws come from?

      That's why eventually, this will likely be decided by the SCOTUS, not by the church or by popular vote.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't think you understand the fact that 'murder' infringes on the rights guaranteed us under the law. If you can figure out how to murder someone without infringing on said rights, or if you can remove the right to live from our laws, you might have a point.

      How do you plan to do that?

      How does someone else's gay marriage infringe on the rights of anyone else?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "like you said they are civil rights, not laws dictating people to get married."

      But when people do get married they do get certain rights to protect their marriage and their children. That is why gay couples deserve those same rights. At least the hundred of thousands of experts that have proven homosexuality is normal and the courts get it. 😉 Thank goodness, they're not as dense as you. LMAO!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      @Hawaii
      "Wow, now that was really stupid. Maybe you should look up what a civil right is."

      Let's go through the list shall we

      "Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities."
      –What court prosecutes and what is the penalty if I choose to file married, but separate

      "Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate."
      –What court prosecutes and what is the penalty if we have no property to inherit

      "Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts."
      –What is the due penalty for not setting up a trust fund?

      "Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
      –What court prosecutes and what is the penalty if I choose to decline these benefits, or my spouse never worked and gets nothing for SS

      Yeah, that should be enough to drive the point home. None of these are laws citizens are required to obey and no penalty for not doing them

      So save the name calling for self evaluation.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Mike from CT

      "That is why gay couples deserve those same rights. "

      Absolutely, could not agree more, if they meet the requirements for qualification, marry the opposite sex.

      Unless you believe that single people, or co-habitation should get the same rights by not meeting the qualification of being married?

      By your definition is it not unfair to the single person also, why are you not advocating for them but your own desires only.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Mike from CT

      @Tom

      " But you did, when you mentioned 'rights' " really, which one of the rights that Yeah listed are in the const.itution
      Death benefits? Housing benefits?

      Really

      You ask the question how can we get to condoning murder? Granted I, nor you, could see how but then again my generation and the previous ones can't see how redefining marriage would have ever come about... so give it time.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  16. Jeff

    You cannot just alter your views on a particular subject that your religious sect has firm stances on and expect that you are still part of a particular religious sect.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • David Motari

      Yes, you can.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Doug

      Sure he can, but he'd be a hypocrite

      June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • dpcfoh

      You can if you're open-minded. But lemmings aren't very open minded.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  17. Derek

    This article is overall pretty pointless honestly. You are not really catholic if you start disagreeing with fundamental catholic doctrine. You are either lying to yourself or just lying to everyone else if you think you are. Someone that abandoned his post as a priest is not very credible in my opinion to begin with he clearly did not take his vows seriously at all and as far as I know that would leave him outside the catholic church. He would no longer be welcome and no longer allowed to participate in communion. So, leaving his opinion aside because i personally have no faith in someone willing to abandon their sacred oaths and vows. The other "catholics" mentioned in this article might find comfort in being apart of the church; however, they need to take a good hard look at their faith and spirtuality if they are questioning church doctrine. It is ok to disagree with things but at some point you have to realize if you disagree with it then your faith no longer belongs with them, and you should figure out what is causing your doubts and resolve them in w/e way you see fit.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • QS

      "You are not really catholic if you start disagreeing with fundamental catholic doctrine."

      Excellent point – and to expand upon that logic, since nobody ever follows every doctrine of their chosen religion, everybody is simple Agnostic!

      June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • DC

      Do believe everything that is on the book of law in America? or do you disagree with some parts then do you consider yourself a false American. Catholicism is more than gay bashing and that is what I believe they are doing. However, just because I disagree with a the stance of the church does not mean I deny my faith. Are you going to emigrate to another country dependent on the upcoming Presidential election?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  18. BlackFrg

    I seem to remember the bible states that marriage requires the couple meet all religious requirements, plus all government requirement. I wish that I could recall chapter and vers and had more to look them up again. Anyway the bible seems to recognize the church being different from the government when it comes to marriage. I also have not seen any gay marriage law that requires the church to recognize or perform such marriage with in their religion.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  19. Colin

    Does it strike anybody else as odd that the insti.tution in the World most vehmently opposed to gay marriage is comprised 100% of males who take an oath never to touch a woman in their entire lives then hang around other like-minded males, dressed in black frocks?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bofusabode

      You are one stick and pathetic person!

      June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Colin

      So Bob, what did I get wrong in my post?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • sam

      Bofusabode is busy pretending to be a 'normal' American. LOL

      June 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Guest

    Sure. Especially the gay chatholics can support it, maybe not those working for the church and in the church, but there are a lot of them.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.