OPINION: The Catholic Church: “Do everything in love” except for same-sex marriage


Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

Opinion Editor Emma Rushworth explains that she is disappointed by the Catholic Church’s refusal to acknowledge same-sex marriage.

Emma Rushworth, Opinion Editor

When same-sex marriage became legal in the United States in 2015, members of the LGBTQ community felt validated and liberated, myself included. However, six years after the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Catholic Church has continuously alienated and condemned same-sex marriage. Not only is this disheartening as a Catholic, but it is also morally wrong.

There are so many tired arguments for and against same-sex marriage in the church, and I will not go into detail with them. However, I will briefly give an overview.

Proponents of same-sex marriage in a religious setting argue that God loves all His children regardless of their sexuality. There is also no mention of homosexuality in the original Bible. The phrase “no man shall lie with another man” only appeared in more recent translations of the Bible, but the original verse was meant to condemn pedophilia.

Opponents of same-sex marriages claim that being gay is morally unacceptable and that allowing gay marriage is to allow sin. While this is objective for several reasons, the Catholic Church already has plenty of sins that it has allowed or covered up for almost as long as it has existed. Such an example would be the allegations of pedophilia that have surrounded the church for decades. That comes down to the fact that human beings, who always will be flawed, run the church, not God Himself.

The message of the Catholic Church has changed over the centuries as well. While many devoutly religious Catholics view Jesus as someone who would have shared their views, in reality, He was a brown socialist who fought for the equality of everyone. Jesus associated with prostitutes, lepers and pariahs. He saved them through His teachings, according to what is written in the Bible. By this logic, I believe that if Jesus were around in 2021, He would have accepted members of the LGBTQ community into His church.

It is also important that those who use scripture to justify their homophobia and transphobia remember that God did not write the Bible, and it should not be used as His direct word. The Bible is used to give guidance to those who follow it. There are rules in the Bible that have been disregarded today, like mixing fabrics and eating shellfish. Those rules have since been deemed culturally irrelevant, so why not same-sex marriage?

The church teaches that God loves every one of us from the moment we are born, unconditionally. However, when we reach adolescence, the script flips, and suddenly there are terms and conditions to God’s love and approval, such as being straight. If there is a God, I choose to believe in the original narrative. Regardless of who someone is, what they have done or who they love, God will think no less of them for it because they are still His child.

Pope Francis got my hopes up, like many other Catholics who are part of the LGBTQ community when last year he came out in support of same-sex civil unions. It finally felt as if there might be some change in an organization that has been stagnant in progress for some time.

That hope was quickly ripped away after the Vatican issued a statement in March that said that the church “cannot bless sin.” This statement felt like a gut punch after the glimmer of hope the earlier news had brought.

The Vatican’s statement brought back vivid memories of sitting in church on Sunday mornings, being told about how being a homosexual would send me to hell. While no one ever told me those words directly, I internalized that and hated that I could not change who I was. Internalized hatred is a common occurrence for kids growing up in such a restrictive religion that denies them the right to be who they are.

I was fortunate and had a good support system that did not care what sexuality I was. Not every religious kid has that. Most leave the church in adulthood, carrying internalized homophobia, guilt and shame for the rest of their lives. Others die by suicide because it’s better to be dead than to live in sin.

Bottom line: the Catholic Church needs to change. Their refusal to accept the LGBTQ community is driving people away from the faith. The church and its followers cannot selectively choose which Bible verses suit their bigotry and which ones do not apply anymore. Either all the rules that the apostles wrote apply, or none of them do. The Catholic Church cannot have its cake and eat it too.

Members of the LGBTQ community belong, period. They belong in communities, in media, and in faith, too. Other religions have begun to allow them into their congregations, and the Catholic Church needs to wake up and follow suit.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @e_tww