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.
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.