Catholics for Marriage Equality
in California

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CME Statement on the Restoration of Marriage in CA

The majority of Catholics in California are compassionate, open-minded and deeply committed to the law of love that is the basis of church teaching. Indeed, love of God and neighbor compels us to recognize the dignity of every person and to labor together for a more just society based on human rights and a shared concern for the integrity of creation. Gay and lesbian relationships are integral to the human family and to the whole of creation. Marriage has meant many things to people in different times and places. Marriage equality provides a framework for our times in which God’s gift of sexuality can be understood, celebrated and accepted as intrinsic to our common good. As we understand it, marriage is a communion of just love between two people who in many cases will also become parents.

We congratulate the Court on its decision to restore marriage equality in California by upholding the lower court decision that overturned Proposition 8. Though intended by anti-gay activists as an instrument of exclusion, God has used Proposition 8 to sear the consciences of Californians and people across the country and around the world. Lay Catholics and many priests, nuns and brothers were especially offended by the campaigning for Proposition 8 by Catholic officials such as Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. We have resisted, and will continue to resist hate, even and especially when it comes from spokespersons of our own tradition. Over the last ten years, numerous denominations have become more welcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. During the same period the Catholic institution has hardened its attitudes and has led numerous campaigns in opposition to LGBT civil rights in diverse parts of the world. We are hopeful that the new Pope will chart a new direction.


Catholics for Marriage Equality in California was established at a time when it was not clear whether we would need a ballot initiative to overturn Proposition 8. We knew only one thing—Proposition 8 had to go. Our organizing focused on fostering support for marriage equality through prayer, presence and education. We have carried out this mission in the streets, in the square of St. Mary’s, online and person-to-person in a network of Catholic parishes and allied groups in California and beyond.


Finally we can close this chapter of the struggle that began 12 February 2004 when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom acted in accord with his Catholic conscience and married two amazing LGBT civil rights pioneers: the late Del Martin and her longtime partner Phyllis Lyon. It has been a long journey, and our hearts are full. We resonate with the words of the prophet Simeon, who upon seeing the infant Jesus was inspired to say: Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:/Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum/Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum. [Now dismiss your servant, O Lord, according to your word in peace/Because my eyes have seen your salvation/Which you have prepared before the face of all peoples] Luke 2:29-31



CME Statement on the Voting Rights Decision


We are appalled and heartbroken at the decision of the SCOTUS to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, a hard-won and monumental political achievement of the Black Civil Rights struggle in the United States. Because of the Voting Rights Act, many citizens have been able to participate in political processes from which they had previously been excluded. When Congress reapproved the Voting Rights Act in 2006, it compiled thousands of pages of evidence of continuing discrimination, especially in Southern States. Structural racism endures, and must be vigorously opposed. We find it incomprehensible that a majority of the Court should take it upon itself to undermine this good and useful legislation. In the midst of our joy over judicial gains for LGBT equality, it is critical that we not remain silent and thus give our tacit assent to this intolerable setback for racial equality. We call specifically upon LGBT and allied Catholics to get involved and advocate as strongly for voting rights as we have done for marriage equality. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


Catholics for Marriage Equality in California (CME-CA) was established by members and friends of Dignity/San Francisco in June 2009 to advance civil marriage equality through prayer, presence, and education.

On the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 2009 we conducted our first public action—a rosary at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. In September 2009 we co-organized a demonstration at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley to call attention to the anti-gay, anti-marriage activism of Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (The Father of Proposition 8).

In October 2009 we began a series of monthly Five First Saturday vigils that ran through February 2010, alternating between the cathedrals in Oakland and San Francisco. In January 2010 we started publishing Communion, a monthly newsletter you can download here, featuring contributions by religious leaders, scholars and activists. It is edited by Eugene McMullan and Kara Speltz.

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