Marriage, Civil Unions, Platform Planks and Communion

What do all of these things have in common?

The answer in my head is this: injustice. Let’s take them one by one, shall we?

Last week, New York joined ConnecticutIowaMassachusettsNew HampshireVermont, plus Washington, D.C. and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon in granting human beings the right to marry another human being and to enjoy all the rights and privileges thereof.

It was a dramatic moment for me.

I was sitting in the kitchen of two people I love very dearly (State of Washington-certified Domestic Partners), watching them make dinner while Tweeting the progress of the New York Senate and holding the hand of the man I love. I was thinking about the impact this could have on my life. To wit: If New York legislates marriage, does that mean that all the state constitutional bans on marriage equality will eventually be struck down and I could marry this man I love in the state we were both born in, live in, work in, pay taxes in, own property in? That I could enjoy the freedoms other people so casually have without the sense of gross injustice that people who are discriminated against know and feel deeply?

Wow. Maybe it COULD happen.

And then, the legislation passed and I experienced the same shiver of joy I felt when I first said “I’m gay” to another living person. Relief and truth and happiness. All rolled into one. And I knew I was not alone. This may have happened in New York, but it was felt all over the world- and the irony is not lost. The echoes of Stonewall nearly half a century ago, reverberated in every subsequent Tweet, text and Facebook update.

It was really happening.

Civil Unions
Rhode Island this week passed a bill which grants human beings the right of Civil Union if they do not qualify for marriage as defined by the state. Another dramatic moment for me. Rhode Island is heavily Catholic- I never thought this would fly here.

Well, at least not very easily.

It is very well worth noting, that Catholics, for the most part, have an overwhelming sense of social justice. Almost all of the polls conducted show a sensitivity to social issues on the part of American Catholics unparalleled by their Protestant counterparts. Still, the Roman Catholic hierarchy has been working overtime to strike fear into the hearts of the people in the pews regarding human marriage. With phrases like “protect your children/family”, “slippery slope”,”moral decay”, “dangerous precedent”, the Catholic leadership has worked to make this particularly deep social justice issue one of moral urgency. I thought it might work.

I was afraid it might.

But Chicken Little and his frantic fear-mongering fell on (mostly) deaf ears. The Catholics in the pews remembered their catechism’s teachings on love, compassion and justice and supported non-discrimination in Rhode Island. That bodes well for the rest of the U.S., especially since more Catholics than not support marriage equality (and that number is poised to increase as the demographic ages).

Some say it’s not enough- we need full marriage. And they’re right. But listen to Rhode Island. They have something important to say- and it’s good news.

Platform Planks
Yeah, I know. I just can’t shut up about this. But doesn’t all of the above make the Montana Republicans and their bigoted platform plank look even more ridiculous and irrelevant?

A Vatican Adviser last week called for excommunicating Governor Andrew Cuomo for supporting free choice in human marriage in the State of New York. Professor Edward Peters of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit advocated using the Eucharist as “punishment” and “a warning” for others in official positions who might be considering following Cuomo’s lead. It doesn’t matter that the church has been slow to respond on civil rights issues before- the lesson seems to be lost. Well, on the higher-ups anyway (see above).

The dogmaticism of the Roman Catholic hierarchy is increasingly out of touch with the sensus fidelium– the ability of the people of the church to sense the propriety of doctrine and official positions within the church. The people are clearly seeing something that all the combined high-hatted prelates of the world cannot: discrimination based on sexuality is an injustice- and human marriage discrimination is an injustice.


The reasonable and thoughtful Catholics I know, the people in the pews who know me and know my partner see that all we want is to have the dignity and respect of just one of Newt Gingrich’s marriages. Just one. They realize that the love I have for this man is not a threat to them, or to the church, or to God. Marriage is not a threat to anyone. It’s just a simple recognition of the truth.

The truth of two human beings who love each other and simply want to publicly commit to their common welfare. Maybe with their children. Or a few chihuahas or cats running around. Whatever. No big deal.

Except that it is.

The levels of denial and refusal to acknowledge reality here by equality opponents is bordering on the psychotic. It’s becoming ridiculous. The good news is that with New York, Rhode Island and a very successful Montana Pride, it looks like most of America is beginning to realize that.

The sky isn’t falling after all. In fact, it’s beckoning us, welcoming us.

With a fucking rainbow.

10 comments on “Marriage, Civil Unions, Platform Planks and Communion

  1. Tim says:

    What I really don’t get about your repeated harping on the MTGOP issue is, when Montanans overwhelmingly vote Republicans into office during the last election, do you then believe that makes all Montanans bigots also? If you’re going to draw the conclusion about the party, shouldn’t you also draw the conclusion about the voters who give them majorities in both state houses?


    • I want this bigoted statement removed.
      And no, I don’t think everyone who votes Republican in Montana is a bigot. But I think it completely sucks that anyone is willing to overlook an official, bigoted position in order to get something in return. I’m angry that no one in the MT GOP is willing to take a stand. It sends a horrible message to all LGBT persons. It’s completely rotten modeling to our youth. It’s hypocritical, immature and irresponsible.
      And I will keep drawing attention to it until it’s gone.


      • Tim says:

        You can keep drawing attention to it, but if you really want it removed, do you think that’s the action that’s going to do it?


        • If every Republican who is not a homophobe is aware of this and wants it to go away- it will go away. If not, then it continues to need our attention. I simply want to make sure everyone notices it- sometimes- okay, often- that has involved hyperbole, but I think it’s important.
          I want to be clear, I am not anti-Republican. I’m just frustrated at the lack of seriousness sometimes on the part of other human beings regarding social justice.


    • Shawn Goodman says:

      Tim, as I’m sure you know, there are multiple issues that cause a person to vote for a candidate and lean on one side or the other of the political spectrum. All the republicans I know that believe in gay marriage believe strongly enough about other issues that they choose to vote more conservatively. Does that make them bigots? Of course not. Unfortunately, they do contribute to the bigoted Legislature we currently have, because we have no choice but to vote for one side or the other, or independent, which is almost pointless. Even I, as a “gay” man, struggle with which side I lean on. I’m a firm believer in the limited government that is supposedly the foundation of Republicanism. I also am a firm supporter of “gay” marriage, even though I despise the fact that government has anything at all to do with marriage.
      As for the action you speak of, it’s leaders like Greg that help change come about. I don’t know if you know Greg or anything about him, but he certainly makes the “action” you speak of happen.


  2. Given all the horrible humans who have been and are sill being allowed communion, denying communion to Andrew Cuomo seems more than a little ridiculous.


  3. Pogue Mahone says:

    Great post. As a recovering Catholic, I enjoy your insights. Yes, I was a Catholic, but NEVER a republican. I do have my decency.


  4. Moorcat says:

    I am a Montana Conservative – a moderate certainly – but still a Conservative. I do not identify as a Montana Republican because of how far to the right the Montana Republican Party has moved. The Homophobe plank is just one example of this.

    My first introduction to this issue was one of Dr Greg’s first post on the subject. To say I was horrified is an understatement. I publically called for it’s removal on my blog, I contacted both of my local State Representatives (both Republican – Debby Barrett and Jeff Welborn) and complained at length about the platform plank. Sadly, both my representatives did nothing about it and further, voted to keep the homophobe law (that the state supreme court declared unconstitutional) on the books. On the upside, I was able to inform many of my conservative friends about this issue and they, too, wrote letters about this blatent idiocy in the Montana Republican party.

    Homophobia and Racism isn’t a problem we will solve overnight, nor is it a problem that will be solved painlessly – as evidenced by Tim (can’t remember his last night) from the Tea Party that joked about hanging gay people from fences. That said, there is no reason that thinking individuals in today’s world should EVER stand for a public display of ignorance or hateful speech like this plank.

    Dr. Greg, even though we come from different sides of the aisle, keep preaching your message about the hate and fear in the Republican party on this issue. You have every right and, one day, your message will reach the people that need your message. This is one conservative that heard you loud and clear, and has worked my own side of the fence for change.


    • Shawn Goodman says:

      Moorcat: Many, many, many people are completely ignorant of some the ridiculous laws that are passed and that the legislatures attempt to pass. I’m not just talking about gay rights and issues. I think most people don’t know their own representatives are, let alone what our government is doing. I am not even sure who my own representatives are. I do try to stay informed though and certainly do not vote based on a political party.


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