I am writing to offer an additional perspective to those mentioned in the PGN’s article concerning the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s sponsorship of the March for Marriage. The perspective that I share is based on my role as the 2014-15 president of Dignity Philadelphia, the religious organization for LGBT Roman Catholics and our allies.
While the March for Marriage may be trying to promote the established church’s commitment to promote its understanding of marriage, it is not promoting the understanding of marriage shared by all Catholics. The members of Dignity Philadelphia believe that we are all children of God and that we are all entitled to have our committed relationships recognized by a loving God. There are many instances in the Bible which do not comport with the “traditional” definition of marriage as asserted by many anti-marriage equality groups. Recently, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb, who struck down the marriage-equality ban in Wisconsin, noted that, “throughout history, the most ‘traditional’ form of marriage was not between one man and one woman, but between one man and multiple women.”
Further, the focus on protesting against what is now settled law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is contrary to the statements by Pope Francis. Pope Francis has denounced the established church’s fixation on issues such as same-sex marriage. The pope has stated, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” Members of the LGBT community of faith who have found someone with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives do not want to be judged. We want to be afforded the same legal rights and responsibilities as our non-LGBT friends and family members.
We can agree with [Archdiocesan spokesperson] Mr. [Ken] Gavin that, as Catholics, we believe marriage needs to be strengthened. However, the members of Dignity Philadelphia and many members of the LGBT community believe that marriage is strengthened by allowing more people to enter into that relationship, not by excluding people.
— Mike Viola, President, Dignity Philadelphia