In Wake of Anti-Gay Violence, Catholic Cardinal Launches New Attack on Same-Sex Families
2013 is only half over, but New York City has seen almost twice as many anti-gay hate crimes take place this year as in 2012. This, a May 26 New Civil Rights article noted, is part and parcel of a rising trend in recent years of violence targeting gays. But that worrisome uptick in brutal physical attacks against victims based on their sexual orientation didn’t stop Cardinal Timothy Dolan for calling for Catholic priests nationwide to preach from the pulpit against family equality.
Moreover, Dolan chose the month of June -- traditionally the month when cities around the country and around the world celebrate Pride -- to launch this latest attack on same-sex families by the Catholic Church.
"Dolan, who is the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and thus the top representative of the Roman Catholic Church in America, is also the Archbishop of New York, but has said not one word about the skyrocketing anti-LGBT violent hate crimes in his own back yard," the New Civil Rights Movement article noted.
"According to police, they have seen a 70 per cent spike in violent incidents targeting the LGBT community, from 14 last year to 29 in 2013," a Daily Mail article said, going on to report on the response from local GLBT equality leaders.
"No more violence," the head of Empire State Pride Agenda, Nathan Schaefer, said. "We won’t stand for it as a community or as a city."
That’s not the message Cardinal Dolan sent out in a bulletin insert he issued for national circulation.
"For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court is considering two cases about whether or not marriage should be redefined to include two persons of the same sex," the bulletin insert reads. "These cases involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the "Roe v. Wade " of marriage."
"Roe v. Wade" is the Supreme Court case that found a woman has the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. In the wake of that case, instances of religiously motivated violence, including arson targeting family planning and abortion clinics, and assassinations of doctors providing abortion services, have taken place.
DOMA, a federal law signed in 1996 by then-president Bill Clinton, denies same-sex couples any and all federal recognition, and allows states to refuse to honor marriages granted elsewhere. The law is the reason why couples legally married in one state are rendered legal strangers simply by crossing a state line. The law also denies married same-sex couples federal tax benefits, pensions, and other protections routinely enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
DOMA is especially hard on bi-national gay and lesbian couples that, unlike heterosexual families, are denied the ability to sponsor their same-sex spouses, even if they are legally married.
Proposition 8 is the voter-approved ballot initiative that, in 2008, rescinded the then-existing right of California’s same-sex families to enter into legal marriage. It was the first time that an existing right had been taken from a minority at the ballot box, and was subsequently found unconstitutional by two federal courts.
"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children," the insert continued.
Church teaching calls gays and lesbians "disordered" and says that God "calls" those who are romantically and sexually attracted to those of their own gender to lives of celibacy. As such, the Church holds that gays and lesbians should be denied married life.
The church has also declared that sexual affection between gay and lesbian spouses is "intrinsically evil," and stated that same-sex parents inflict "abuse" upon their children simply by providing them with loving, stable homes.
Dolan’s tract used a number of coded references, including "religious liberty" and "freedom." It has been the claim of anti-gay people of faith that their own freedoms of worship and expression are eroded by laws recognizing same-sex relationships and allowing gays and lesbians to partake in the civil contract of marriage, with its 1,000+ legal rights and protections.
The bulletin insert outlined the religious, rather than the civil, meaning of marriage, and proceeded from an assumption that people of all faiths -- or no faith -- ought to be required to structure their family lives according to Catholic dogma.