Last week both houses of Maine’s legislature delivered a bill to that state’s Governor. The Governor signed the bill into law and that state now has full marriage equality for all its citizens. The story is a rebuke to the far right which constantly bemoans “activist judges.”
That terminology has its roots in the anti-civil rights rhetoric of the 1950’s when the US Supreme Court rendered their decision in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education. The decision by the Court was a turning point in the history of our country for several reasons. It dismantled the legal basis for racial segregation in schools and other public facilities.
The Court’s decision had far reaching social implications, which over fifty years later continue to be felt in our country. It should be noted that this decision against bigotry and discrimination in 1954 occurred 105 years after African Americans filed suit against mandated educational segregation in the case of Roberts vs. City of Boston in 1849.
Winston Churchill once quipped that Americans always do the right thing, but only after exhausting every other option. Few, although there are some, today would argue in favor of racial segregation, or for the prohibition of interracial marriage. Without intervention from the judicial system, segregation would probably have remained in place as a feature of American society for several more decades.
What happened in Maine and a few other states is extraordinary in that it represents a legislative action to expand the personal rights and freedoms of citizens. Just as there remain in society today individuals and groups opposed to racial equality there are those who oppose marriage equality. These individuals and groups have launched a ballot campaign in Maine to strip others in Maine of their right to a civil marriage.
Who are these people? Specifically, the two individuals who initiated the process for collecting signatures are Pastor Bob Emrich of the Maine Jeremiah Project and Stephen Whiting, an attorney. Whiting is also affiliated with “Broken Wing Ministries” a “Christian” religious group. The Kennebec Journal also reveals others intent upon attacking LGBT people:
"Marc Mutty, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said he and other opponents want the question to appear on the November ballot. That means their signatures would have to be turned in by early August, Dunlap said.
Mutty was one of five supporters to sign the people’s veto application.
“We are full steam for November,” he said. “It will be a huge advantage to be on the November ballot.”
That’s because conservative issues such as a Taxpayer Bill of Rights and a proposed repeal of the excise tax will appear on the November ballot, he said."
I cannot adequately express the depth of my personal revulsion, disgust and sense of utter betrayal by an institution, which I have faithfully served for 23 years as a priest. Last year when Cardinal Mahony and the other bishops of California announced their support for the “yes on Prop 8” campaign I commented to a brother priest “I feel like a Jew working for the Gestapo.”
It is time for LGBT Catholics, their families and their friends to stop collaborating with those who actively work to undermine the rights of others and thereby oppress them.
- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- How It All began
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight