Deal W. Hudson
January 7, 2010
Writing for the Catholic Advocate, Matt Smith reports that 39 of the 106 cosponsors of a House bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act are “self-identified” Catholics. Smith, a former associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, warns that same-sex marriage activists are trying to bring H.R. 3567 – ironically, titled the “Respect for Marriage Act 2009” – to the House floor this year.
The end of DOMA would mean 40 states would be required to recognize same-sex marriage. As Smith writes, the political fallout would be enormous: “Democrats will have learned nothing from the current health care debate or the voices of the voters in the states that have repealed gay marriage initiatives.”
Earlier this week, I wrote about Catholics in Congress leading the effort to procure abortion funding. Now we see many of the same names, such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), seeking to change the legal status of marriage in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Catholic Church.
In 1996, the Catholic bishops in the U.S. expressed that teaching this way:
[W]e oppose attempts to grant the legal status of marriage to a relationship between persons of the same sex. No same-sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship expresses. For this reason, our opposition to “same-sex marriage” is not an instance of unjust discrimination or animosity toward homosexual persons.
American citizens appear to be on the side of the bishops, not the dissenters in Congress. In the nearly six years since the Supreme Court in Massachusetts made that state the first to recognize gay marriage, 26 states have amended their constitutions to prohibit gay marriage. Last November, Maine – a blue state – voted to repeal the law legalizing gay marriage. In December, the New York Senate voted to reject a gay-marriage bill.
Today, the New Jersey State Senate will vote on a same-sex marriage bill. Activists are hoping to get the bill passed while Gov. John Corzine is still in office, as his successor, Chris Christie, is a Catholic opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage. If passed, New Jersey would be the seventh state – following Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont – to recognize gay marriage.
Gay activists are hoping to turn the tide in their direction after winning a victory in Washington, D.C., last month when the city council voted for legalization. But, as Smith points out, the D.C. bill must pass congressional review before the House Government Reform and Oversight Sub-Committee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia.
Noting that the sub-committee is composed of seven Democrats and three Republicans, Smith writes, “With such a lopsided advantage, advocates anticipate marriages could begin in the District of Columbia as early as February 16. Since the District is a federal territory, same-sex couples from any state will be free to travel to our nation’s capital to wed.” Four of these subcommittee members are Catholic: William “Lacy” Clay (D, MO-01), Dennis Kucinich (D, OH-10), Gerry Connolly (D, VA-11), and Brian Bilbray (R, CA-50).
Smith argues that the Democrats are using the same-sex marriage issue to “re-energize their disappointed base leading into the November 2, 2010, mid-term elections.” If so, they are wading into already very turbulent waters, as the majority of Americans (52 percent) are opposed to the health-care reform the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress.
An even larger majority of Americans (55 percent) oppose the abortion funding that the Democrats and the White House are gearing up to protect from the threat of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and his pro-life coalition in the House. With all this public discontent, the mid-term election of 2010 could take on the high drama of a presidential election.
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The following are the names of the Catholic co-sponsors of H.R. 3567, a bill “to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage,” according to Smith’s tally:
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D, NY-24)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31)
Rep. Michael Capuano (D, MA-8)
Rep. Wm. “Lacy” Clay (D, MO-1)
Rep. Gerald “Gerry” Connolly (D, VA-11)
Rep. Joe Courtney (D, CT-2)
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D, IL-4)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D, NY-22)
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI-1)
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D, OH-15)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D, OH-10)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D, CA-38)
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D, NJ-6)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D, NY-15)
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D, CA-34)
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D, NH-1)
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D, NY-12)