Catholics for Equality
I am Catholic, and I support marriage equality!
As Catholics and citizens of the state of Rhode Island, we believe that the right of every citizen to practice freedom of religion is based on the principle of respect for the dignity of each individual. Without that guarantee, the danger of one religious tradition or doctrine dominating another threatens all and protects none. Making the equality of citizens not merely an ideal but a living truth, we wish to call upon the legislators of the state of Rhode Island to permit the civil marriage of same-sex individuals, recognizing and affirming the stipulation that no religious tradition be required to officiate or bless same-sex marriage. We base our conclusion on the following reasons:
• The American principle of the separation of Church and State is a founding principle of our state and is enshrined in the United States Constitution to ensure that no particular religious perspective would be imposed on our pluralistic society.
• Remembering that Catholics were once treated with suspicion, ridiculed because of our sacred rituals, and questioned as to our allegiance to “foreign authorities”, challenges us to remain vigilant whenever bigotry and injustice enters into public discourse.
• Catholic teaching on social justice has been central to the building of a just society, creating awareness of diversity in the human family, calling us to lives of respect for one another, and not merely tolerance.
• Same-sex civil marriage does not in any way coerce any religious faith or tradition to change its beliefs or doctrine.
Our experience in welcoming same-sex couples into our community life is a reminder that God is a most gracious and wonderful Creator. The witnessing of these marriages is a source of joy and celebration for family and friends. We value the love and commitment that these couples have for each other and their children. While committed same-sex relationships have always existed through time, the civil recognition of these relationships provides both dignity and equality as called for in our nation’s highest ideals, ‘the inherent natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
As Catholics, we differentiate between sacramental marriage and civil marriage, and therefore we perceive that same-sex civil marriage poses no threat to our Church. While we respect the authority and integrity of the Church in matters of faith, our prayers and reflection have brought us to a new openness on this issue. We urge the Church to treat with respect in both word and deed same-sex couples who have entered into civil marriages.
Grateful for the gift of our faith and the ways that we have been nourished by faith throughout our lives, and also grateful for our citizenship in the United States of America and Rhode Island, we sign this statement as Catholic citizens of Rhode Island.