Bishop Larry Silva says, “No matter what our sexual attraction may be, we are all equal as persons.” Nonetheless his latest call to Catholics to fight marriage equality calls up images of transvestite cross-dressers overrunning the islands. Apparently “businesses will be helpless not to have men in dresses waiting on customers.”
St. Ignatius Loyola, father of the Jesuits, taught that we are called to “see God in all things.” Surely the Christians who profess to love God should respect his presence in LGBT people by according them equal treatment?
The St. Francis Approach
A speaker on LGBT rights recently told her audience: “I understand some people might find the idea of my sexuality ‘icky.’ I understand that they cannot put themselves in my place. But that does not give them the right to deny me the rights my family and I should be enjoying just like every other citizen of this country.”
She is right. Another spiritual light of the Catholic church, St. Francis of Assisi, taught us that we gain a deeper appreciation of God when we embrace all things, even those we personally do not find beautiful.
Perhaps we struggle to see God in LGBT families because we tend to speak of them as nameless, faceless, vaguely threatening abstractions. But LGBT families are not nameless and faceless.
These are my friends, Tambry (center) and Suzanne Young (left) on vacation in Boston . They were married in Massachusetts in 2009. They have been together for almost 33 years and are raising a bright, beautiful daughter, Shylar (right).
They want marriage equality in Hawaii so that they can enjoy ease of access to the full range of benefits and the peace of mind other married couples take for granted. They also want their daughter to feel that her family is just as legitimate as the families of heterosexual couples.
Are those legislators who oppose same sex marriage ready to tell Shylar Young that her family is simply not entitled to the same protections and benefits her friends’ families enjoy? Are they really prepared to face this adolescent and let her know that they plan to stand in the way of a law that seeks to end the injustice of social and economic discrimination that her parents have endured simply because of their sexual orientation?
Also pictured here is John George Roth, being accompanied by his parents, Susie and Randy Roth, early this year as he enters into a civil union with David McCollough. Shouldn’t the Church be encouraging this kind of loving family support? And do legislators really want to tell John Roth and his life partner, David McCollough that they are determined to withhold the full protections and benefits of marriage from them
Bishop Larry Silva has renewed his call to Catholics to do more to dissuade Hawaii legislators from making same sex marriage legal because it will “change Hawaii forever.” We stand, according to Bishop Silva, on the precipice of becoming a state that “punishes businesses which refuse to hire and promote transvestite cross-dressers throughout their companies.”
Being Catholic=Making All Welcome
Yet to be “catholic” is to be rooted in “katha holos”—making all welcome. Legislators who worry about running afoul of the Church should heed the Pope’s reminder that “We should not even think that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.”
While the Catholic church lags, legislators can take inspiration from other Christian denominations and the Buddhists.Many respected faith leaders have urged legislators to recognize that it is time to legalize same sex marriage. Same sex couples want nothing less than equality. A secular state has no basis for denying them the civil right of marriage that is available everyone else.
This commentary first appeared in the Honolulu Star Advertiser Oct 28, 2013.
I am a catholic in the state of Hawaii. I belong to two parishes – unique in culture. I was quite amazed yesterday when from the lectern, a parishioner that I have know for years asked that we sign a card, that was to be delivered today to Honolulu. These cards were stamped with the parish name and came from the Bishop’s office. We were asked to sign opposing that the same sex marriage act become law. I have family members who are gay. A cousins children moved out of state as a result of not being accepted. I, as you, feel very strongly that the Bishop should be concerned about his diocese and not share what is clearly his own opinion. There is no compassion in his tone – whether written or verbalized – and he is clearly saying not to be Christ like. We should be all embracing and follow the example of Jesus. Anna Texeira Hilo
Thanks for making this public, Anna. I have heard the same from others. Appalling–and doubly so when it is done in the name of Christ’s teaching. So sorry to hear about the feelings of exclusion that drove your relatives away. Again, something I have heard others talk about with pain.
I just got a wedding invite from a much younger cousin of mine. She is marrying her boyfriend of 10 years. They have 2 children.Her and her 3 brothers took a vow of solidarity that they would not marry until their gay brother was allowed to marry. He and his spouse married in New York 2 years ago after it became legal. They have 2 bi-racial children and now live in Virginia. Katie is in Florida, both states which will not recognize gay marriage.
Jesus said to love the marginalized. There are far more marginalized people than not, for a variety of reasons.This is our human challenge.Much harder than just trying to make a buck.Keep on posting this issue. Until we are all free, none of us really are.
I have been married for 30 years. The priest who celebrated said he was not marrying us, we were marrying each other. He was just officiating.that is how it should be.
Thank you for your comment, Richard. I l admire the courage –and principle–behind your cousin’s stand. Also love the comment by the priest who officiated at your wedding. Wise man.
Thanks for your expression of God’s true love
Sent from my iPad
Thank you for this article. If we all have “family” that we know who are gay, the more narrowly we are forced to see the church’s stand vs. the one that Jesus takes in his teachings. I will not judge my brothers and sisters. Why do you “they” get to judge?