Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Catholic Bishop of Arkansas Attacks "Same-Sex Marriage," Calls on State Supreme Court to Close Door Opened to Gay Couples to Marry

And speaking of hallucinating Arkansas: the Catholic bishop of Arkansas, Anthony Taylor, has issued a statement attacking "same-sex marriage" (his quotation marks, certainly not mine) in Arkansas, after Judge Chris Piazza's ruling opened the door to marriage equality last week. He issued it Monday, the day on which Steve and I married. The statement is on the diocesan website, and is so embarrassing to read that I hesitate to give it any prominence here.

It rehearses very predictable (and very tired) arguments against marriage equality, like the claim that marriage is about procreation and must be restricted to procreative couples. But isn't it strange that Bishop Taylor has never, to my knowledge, issued a public statement attacking non-procreative heterosexual "marriage" in Arkansas, and threatening to use his episcopal power to bully the state Supreme Court into knocking down a judicial ruling that permits infertile heterosexual couples to marry? 

Bishop Taylor's statement informs the public that he is going to write an amicus curiae brief to set the state Supreme Court straight about "the flawed reasoning and conclusions in civil law contained in Judge Piazza's ruling."

And then there's the new theology of the body argument that marriage is about genitals. It's about men and women and complementary genitals. And no other twain shall meet, since no other twain is possible to imagine.

Perhaps most embarrassing of all is the fact that, though Pope Francis himself can say "gay," the statement never utters the word "gay" except in its scare-quotes title. After that, it's homosexual this and homosexual that, and all about how Bishop Taylor and the pastoral leaders of the Catholic church deplore discrimination against homosexuals.

But they can't and won't have "marriage" of homosexuals. Because genitals. And procreation.

And you know what? I've looked for anything Bishop Taylor has ever said — anywhere — to decry the lack of any legal protections for gay citizens of Arkansas, who may by the laws of our state be refused jobs or fired at will by employers who object to their sexual orientation, or denied housing due to the beliefs of landlords, or refused the right to visit their partner in the hospital.

And I can't find a single instance in which my bishop has said anything at all about any of these matters.

So isn't it curious that he says, in his current statement about "same-sex marriage" for "homosexuals,"  that "the Church" has consistently deplored the marginalization of homosexuals and the denial of rights to homosexuals? 

And isn't it strange that a church so welcoming and so loving to homosexuals did not (and would not) open its doors to Steve and me to marry on Monday, but that we were married, instead, by the pastor of a loving, welcoming, African-American Baptist church that had told us several years ago that it would be very happy to provide a church celebration for our marriage, and would be a supportive and affirming church community for us once we had married?

The graphic is from a report of the Public Religion Research Institute which found this past February that the American public perceives the Catholic community as the religious community most unwelcoming to gay people of all religious communities.

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