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Open Letter to the editor- California Gay Marriage and Catholics

The California Supreme Court ruling has legalized gay marriage for Californians. The old anti family argument just does not jell for most reasonable people. The Rainbow Sash Movement must express both its joy at the ruling in favor of Gay Marriage, and at the same time its disappointment in the response of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. In matters such as birth control, choice, gay marriage and stem cell research Catholic voters will judge for themselves. The Catholic Bishops can only speak for themselves.

Their support of discrimination against GLBT families is grounded in fear of change. Change takes place when the theory of dogma hits the reality of people's daily lives. More and more people are getting to know Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT) people, and with this knowledge come changes in attitudes.

Presently there are 60 million Catholics in the country, and nobody speaks for most of us in political matters, not even the Pope. We in the Rainbow Sash Movement understand that politics can bring out the worse in people as exampled by the nonsensical apology from Rev. John Hagee to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. The apology leaves Catholic bigotry among fundamentalists in the roughly the same way a baby leaves a diaper.

With this victory for GLBT families comes the threat from voices emerging from the Dark Ages of a fundamentalist camp to challenge the ruling on the November ballot. The GLBT community should not be intimidated by this; rather if this attempt is made we should shine the media spotlight on the intolerant forces that hide under the mantle of religion. This victory, like Massachusetts, is the beginning of a Renaissance in this country around the issue of priveledge versus equality. I do not lightly dismiss the dangers and the difficulties of such a potentional November challenge, but I firmly believe we can overcome it.

In my opinion, there were many people who worked for this transformation in California Law. Therefore, thankfulness is appropriate. On behalf of the Rainbow Sash Movement I would like to thank the various hard working GLBT political, religious, and cultural organizations that worked tirelessly on this effort. We must always be mindful and appreciative of the significant part our straight allies played on this journey. I would also like to thank the California State Supreme Court for their just decision.

To my sisters and brothers in the GLBT Communities of California, now is a time for geysers of joyful tears, enjoy the moment, this indeed is a instant of celebration for the rich and the poor, and the young and the old of our community. It is also a time when ethical and political principles lead the California State Supreme Court to legalize Gay Marriage, and not the forces of intolerance.

Joe Murray
US Convener
Rainbow Sash Movement


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