||As Catholics, we support civil marriage equality and oppose the MN constitutional amendment limiting the freedom to marry for the following reasons:
Point of Social Justice
In their 1997 pastoral statement, Always Our Children, the Catholic bishops of the United States write: “Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Catholic Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them.” We believe these powerful words of the bishops’ are rooted in Jesus’ call for social justice. As such they supersede certain teachings of the Church that reflect a medieval and inadequate understanding of human sexuality teachings that, accordingly, are unresponsive to the presence of the Spirit in the lives of LGBT people. Furthermore, we believe that civil marriage is one of those “fundamental human rights” referred to by the U.S. Catholic bishops.
Of any religious group in the U.S., American Catholics are among the strongest supporters of equality for LGBT people. We recognize that this support is intrinsic to Catholicism as it is drawn from the rich tradition of Catholic social justice teachings, grounded in the Gospel message of love.
Point of Constitutional Law
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a State shall not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The State of Minnesota currently protects heterosexual unions with many legal benefits. There are no good reasons for denying the same protections to homosexual unions. Constitutional democracy is a democracy in which principles of justice are accepted by the people to regulate the vote of a majority in depriving a minority of rights.
Civil marriage should not be denied to anyone based on sexual orientation. Just as civil divorce would not be denied by the state because some churches do not believe in divorce and remarriage, civil marriage also should not be denied based on religious beliefs concerning sexual orientation.
No house of worship should have to perform a marriage ceremony against its will, and never because of the intrusion and/or compulsion of government. Guided by the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, government should not try to define persons suitable for marriage in houses of worship.
Point of Catholic Moral Teaching
The Catholic teaching of probabilism holds that when there are good reasons and good authorities on both sides of a moral issue (in this case homosexuality and same-sex unions), Catholics are free to make up their own minds and to follow their conscience, which our tradition teaches must be obeyed above all else, even church authority. The magisterium of the Catholic hierarchy notwithstanding, there is debate among theologians and the faithful, the sensus fidelium, on the issue of same-sex unions. We do not believe that homosexual sex is in itself a sin. We believe heterosexism (prejudice against people who are homosexual) is a sin. “It is a serious sin because it violates justice, truth, and love.” (Maguire, Daniel, “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage.”)
Point of Ethics
When a significant number of U.S. citizens do not hold with Catholic ethical teaching on a specific issue, it is a violation of justice for a voting majority of Catholics to enact laws based on their own ethics. Catholics would suffer if a voting majority of other religious bodies enacted laws requiring behavior or denying benefits based on their religious ethics. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the common ethic of people in a religiously pluralistic society.