Thursday, March 03, 2011

Quote of the Day

. . . [In pushing for a Minnesota constitutional amendment preventing same-sex civil marriage equality] the Minnesota Roman Catholic bishops are urging people to violate their Constitutional commitment to freedom from restriction of law without good reasons. Denial of freedom to marry to same-sex couples has had legitimacy until quite recently. As happens in the ethical sphere, people begin to question long held assumptions and to see that they have no basis for continued belief. The status of the questioning on same-sex marriage is now such that a law restricting the freedom to marry is quickly losing legitimacy.

The DOMA law, Defense of Marriage Act, is still on the books in Minnesota. To make it harder to repeal the Minnesota bishops want to make the restriction constitutional. Instead of persuasion by good reasons, they want to deprive a minority of equal protection of the law by majority rule.

Even if they firmly believe they are preventing a harm, they surely know that not enough people agree to make the restriction of the freedom to marry legitimate. They may be able to get a simple majority of votes, but the ethics of citizenship requires them to refrain from making a law with a simple majority to force a restriction on such an important freedom as the choice of a life partner with all its legal protections and obligations. Why would the bishops want to force millions of people to live under a law that they have no respect for?

The Minnesota Roman Catholic bishops are urging people to violate their constitutional commitment to equality under the law. If heterosexual unions are called “marriage” and afforded benefits under the civil law, there have to be good reasons for denying the status and the benefits of the law to homosexual unions. Law-makers, who have sworn to uphold the constitution, and the people they represent have an ethical duty to keep a clear breach of the constitutional commitment to equality off the ballot. Saying “Let the people decide” in an act of defiance against the principle of equality is irresponsible. So is calling judges and law-makers who honor their constitutional commitment “ruling elites” and “activist judges.” Why would the Minnesota bishops do that? Why show such contempt for the principle of equality? . . .

– Paula Ruddy
"Dialoguing with the Archbishop:
Amendment Campaign Contrary to Church Moral Teaching
The Progressive Catholic Voice
March 3, 2011

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