Geof Stone: "Marriage Equality and the Catholic Bishops"

Marriage Equality and the Catholic Bishops
Geoffrey R. Stone
The Huffington Post
June 25, 2011

New York State has taken an important step forward in our nation's never-ending quest to remake ourselves as a more decent, more inclusive, more just and more moral society. Looking back from the future, our grandchildren will surely see the legal recognition of same-sex marriage as an inspiring chapter in America's story, a story in which we have progressively abolished slavery, ended state-sponsored racial segregation, prohibited laws against interracial marriage, protected equal rights for women, promoted religious diversity and tolerance and outlawed discrimination on the basis of disability. There is no doubt that, in the long run, the United States will follow the lead of New York State. The challenge, though, is to make the long run short.

The most vehement opponent of marriage equality in New York was the Catholic Church. Indeed, in the heat of the debate in the state legislature, the New York State Catholic Conference issued a ringing proclamation: "The Bishops of New York State oppose in the strongest possible terms any attempt to redefine the sacred institution of marriage. Marriage has always been, is now, and always will be the union of one man and one woman. Government does not have the authority to change this most basic of truths."

That the leaders of the Catholic