Saturday, September 6, 2014

Two More Saturday A.M. Quotes: "The Disparagement of Their Sexual Orientation . . . Is a Source of Continuing Pain to the Homosexual Community"

Two more quotes for this lazy end-of-summer Saturday morning:

1. Judge Richard Posner on behalf of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as it struck down bans on marriage equality in Indiana and Wisconsin this past week:

Because homosexuality is not a voluntary condition and homosexuals are among the most stigmatized, misunderstood, and discriminated-against minorities in the history of the world, the disparagement of their sexual orientation, implicit in the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, is a source of continuing pain to the homosexual community. Not that allowing same-sex marriage will change in the short run the negative views that many Americans hold of same-sex marriage. But it will enhance the status of these marriages in the eyes of other Americans, and in the long run it may convert some of the opponents of such marriage by demonstrating that homosexual married couples are in essential respects, notably in the care of their adopted children, like other married couples.

2. The New York Times, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to end the piecemeal states'-rights approach to marriage equality that inflicts severe pain on a targeted minority community in many places in the U.S., and on their families:

The Louisiana ruling [i.e., a ruling of a federal judge in that state last week, upholding the state ban on marriage equality] was an outlier, coming after a remarkable winning streak for marriage equality in more than 20 federal decisions and does not erase the near-consensus so far in federal courts. But it is a reminder that this fight is not over, and of the need for a nationwide ruling by the Supreme Court recognizing the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the 2013 U.S. v. Windsor case was based on a conclusion that the federal law against granting benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples violated equal protection and due process guarantees, but did not declare marriage equality a constitutional right across the nation. 
Petitions for Supreme Court review of pro-marriage-equality rulings from the Fourth and Tenth Circuits have been filed and are supported by both sides of the issue. There is no reason at this point for the justices to prolong the harm to same-sex couples and their families by waiting for all the remaining state battles to play out.

As I read these statements, I ask myself: what is it about the ethos of my Catholic community in the U.S. that makes far too many of us impervious to the clear, patent demand for justice of the most elemental kind for LGBTI human beings — the justice of mere inclusion in the human community — while non-Catholics and secular organizations seem frequently to recognize that demand with much more alacrity? What makes so many Catholics so gleeful about declaring some people insiders and others outsiders, about driving people away into the outer darkness, into billgrimspage oblivion, even as those Catholics claim that in acting this way, they're exemplary defenders of Catholic values?

What makes so many American Catholics downright mean, I wonder? As in "as mean as snakes" (with apologies to our reptilian brothers and sisters)? And self-righteous in their meanness? Downright mean, in comparison to people from other religious traditions or no religious background at all . . . .

Just asking, this lazy Saturday morning. 

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