Tom Tierney, a guy who really is a fierce advocate and volunteers tirelessly for UAFA and our inclusion in comprehensive immigration reform suggested I take in this Creating Change workshop. As someone who was raised a Catholic, and hasn’t exactly seen eye to eye with my friends and family over teachings of the church since oh, say 1975 you can imagine the “Ugh!” factor I gave this.
But after hearing Tom Saenz’ opinions that the Catholics could be swayed to support LGBT inclusion in CIR, I was happy to have this on the list. When I told Marianne Duddy, Executive Director of DignityUSA, the workshop moderator that I was from Out4Immigration and we wanted LGBT inclusion in CIR, she knew exactly what the problem was. “You have opposition from the Catholic bishops,” she said.
So did everyone else in this workshop -- most of whom had concerns about the hostility practicing LGBT Catholic youths and adults receive from the church hierarchy.
Marianne was quick to point out some major inconsistencies between those official hierarchical anti-gay statements and how the majority of Catholics really feel:
78% of American Catholics favor either civil unions or marriage for gay and lesbian couples (Harris Poll, 2008)That’s the good news.
48% of American Catholics support allowing gays to sponsor partners for immigration (Harris Poll, 2008)It’s the “back door to marriage” argument apparently, since the same poll found 46% of American Catholics support civil marriage equality (as opposed to the 78% who support “either” civil unions or marriage). Polls do have a way with wording questions, don’t they?
By the numbers above, though – it’s clear where Out4Immigration members who want to work with changing hearts and minds among Catholics must be done. We must convince them – our families, our friends in the church – that UAFA alone and/or its inclusion in CIR is not marriage – it gives us just one federal right, the right for an LGBT American to sponsor a foreign partner, the person with whom they are in a loving and committed relationship. It’s a right that should come with a civil union. It’s the right to keep a family together – and our families include not only our partners, but also our parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends and our community. Surely no person who believes in the teachings of Christ can say that it is right to separate anyone from their family.