An New York archbishop who has major pull in opposing efforts to pass marriage equality in the state said during an interview this week that same-sex couples have no more entitlement to marry each other than he is entitled to marry his mother, and alleged that legislating for marriage equality will lead to further “tampering” with marriage.
These were the words of the Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan when he spoke to Morely Safer on the 60 Minutes Overtime program.
The former Milwaukee archbishop explained the Catholic Church’s opposition to marriage equality to Morley Safer with a baseball analogy.
“I have a strong desire to play shortstop for the Yankees,” he said. “I don’t have a right to, because I don’t have what it takes. And that would be what the church would say about marriage. We would say marriage by nature, marriage by definition is between a man and woman for life, giving children. Don’t tamper with the definition.”
Pressed by Safer to explain how exactly marriage equality would harm heterosexual marriages, Dolan responded, “Because where then would the tampering stop?”
“I mean, I love my mom,” said Dolan. “I don’t have the right to marry her, OK? There are certain rights and attractions in life that are very beautiful and noble but don’t entitle you to marriage.”
Head over to The Advocate to watch excerpts from the interview.
While I’m always pleased to hear someone showing love for their mother, Dolan fails to even brush the truth of this topic with his labored analogy.
If Dolan can not distinguish between the love he feels for his mother and the love that same-sex couples feel, it may be wise for him to steer clear of that minefield entirely and let those that can make that distinction enjoy the rights of marriage they deserve.
I would offer, however, that an increase in loving couples marrying and therein seeking to commit themselves to one another could do nothing but strengthen marriage as a societal concept and while I entirely respect Safer’s right to freedom of speech, I would caution that his opinion on the religious definition of marriage should not be brought into a discussion on civil marriage equality in the state.
Safer’s views on how the Catholic Church feels about marriage equality would also seem to put him out of step with the majority of American Catholics.
New research by the Public Religion Research Institute has found that American Catholics are in fact more supportive than any other Christian tradition when it comes to favoring legal recognition for same-sex couples, and while there’s still some division over whether that recognition should be civil marriage (43%) or civil unions (31%), only 22% are categorically opposed to any form of recognition. The survey also shows that a majority of American Catholics are dissatisfied with the way the clergy handles the issue of homosexuality. Read more on that here.
The Human Rights Campaign is currently running a New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, featuring videos by the Fabulous Beekman Boys, Russell Simmons, Mark and Sunrise Ruffalo, John Slattery, Joan Rivers, Barbara Bush, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher, Moby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Julianne Moore and Kenneth Cole – with more to follow in the coming weeks and months.
You can find out more information and watch videos from the series at New Yorkers for Marriage Equality.