For all of my 81 years I have absorbed, lived and taught the doctrines and spirituality of the Roman Catholic Church. My Church has directed me well to love what is right and just. Not only to stand up for the oppressed but to search my own soul lest it harbor prejudice or hatred toward anyone. Being true to one's conscience is an essential teaching of the Catholic faith.
And so I must speak now as my conscience dictates. Having studied this question of same-gender marriage from every angle available to me, and having associated with broad range of members of the gay community, I conclude that same-gender couples have a right to petition the state to have their marriages lawfully recognized and protected. And the state, considering the right of all its citizens to live free from bullying, discrimination, physical and psychological violence, which is so carelessly heaped upon gay and lesbian persons, would do well to support same-gender marriage.
To want to be married is not a frivolous request. If anyone wanted to live a dissolute and totally selfish life they would not want to tie themselves down with a marriage certificate! Marriage is a bond that is made public, it brings with it responsibilities and entails sacrifices.
The truth is there are homosexual couples, living right now, in long-term relationships, and a significant number are raising children. But because their bond has never been considered "normal," they have not been afforded the dignity and respect their lives deserve by church or state. The state now has the opportunity to make a level playing field for all it's citizens. Churches have their own laws directing whom they will allow to be married, and their freedom to do so is protected in law.
Is there any other group of human beings that has struggled so hard, so long to live within the law? Human beings that want to live as a family unit, within their extended families? Not, undeservedly, outlawed by state and church?
Do not assume that all Catholics are against gay marriage. The number of Catholics within the church that offer education and understanding for gays and lesbians is significant. They, too, hold marriage in high esteem, but they want it to be available to their gay and lesbian children also.
Erma M. Durkin, Glen Arm