On the cover of today’s Washington Post is an article about the immigration challenge faced by thousands of binational same-sex couples. My husband and I were interviewed for the piece and I find it for the most part balanced and matter of fact. However, there are a few things I need to address.
First, too much weight is placed on the opposition and power of Roman Catholic bishops and Evangelical leaders. Fact of the matter is, there are many other faith leaders who have spoken out in support of the inclusion of gay families in any immigration reform effort.
The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which seeks to eliminate discrimination in immigration laws by allowing lesbian and gay Americans to sponsor their loved ones for legal permanent residency, has been endorsed by numerous faith organizations, including African American Ministers in Action; Call to Action; Catholics for Equality; Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program; Clergy United; The Episcopal Church; Friends Committee on National Legislation; Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Standing on the Side of Love; the United Methodist Church; and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Secondly, there are Roman Catholics who oppose their bishops’ stance.
Catholics for Equality was founded by Fr. Joseph Palacios, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, to empower pro-equality Catholics to put their faith into political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.
An article in Religion Dispatches quotes Palacios pointing out that “Catholics as a religious body are the most progressive in terms of LGBT issues and we want to be the contrary voice to the official church and to help these Catholics see their social justice tradition and family life as [being] as important as anything coming from the bishops.”
In the same piece, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, the national coordinator for the National Coalition of American Nuns, didn’t mince words.
I find their arguments specious and I think their stand, personally I find it scandalous … I am proud to be a Catholic … I’m a lifelong Catholic. I spend my life hopefully working for justice so that people can look and see there are Catholic people who at least try to be just and try to follow the Gospel. But frankly the US bishops continually embarrass me. They are an embarrassment to the Catholic Church at this point, particularly with the stand they are taking.
Palacios and Gramick appear to have a better sense of the laity’s pulse than the bishops. A recent poll the Public Religion Research Institute reveals that a “solid majority of Latino Catholics and white mainline Protestants (in California) say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Moreover, the next generation of Evangelicals are far more welcoming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people than their elders. According to a recent report, young white evangelicals under the age of 35 are more likely than older evangelicals to be more supportive of legal recognitions for gay and lesbian couples.
Finally, I can not reiterate and stress enough that this issue has nothing to do with religious beliefs and everything to do with equality and civil rights.
In order for any immigration reform effort to be truly comprehensive, no one group, no matter how small, can be left out. In order for this country and its citizens to live up to its core values of freedom, equality and justice, LGBT Americans and their families should not be thrown under the bus. Again.
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