Does being against gay marriage make someone anti-gay?
The question resurfaced last week when Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, claimed on Meet the Press that the Catholic Church is unfairly “caricatured” as anti-gay. The Huffington Post’s Paul Raushenbush quickly wrote up a response, saying that “The hard reality that Cardinal Dolan and all Christians need to face up to is that the Catholic Church along with every other church whether Orthodox, Protestant or Catholic has been horrifically, persistently and vehemently anti-gay for almost all of its history.”
Then Raushenbush hauled out a familiar argument: “Let's just be very clear here —if you are against marriage equality you are anti-gay. Done.”
As a gay man, I found myself disappointed with this definition—that anyone with any sort of moral reservations about gay marriage is by definition anti-gay. If Raushenbush is right, then that means my parents are anti-gay, many of my religious friends (of all faiths) are anti-gay, the Pope is anti-gay, and—yes, we’ll go here—first-century, Jewish theologian Jesus is anti-gay. That’s despite the fact that while some religious people don’t support gay marriage in a sacramental sense, many of them are in favor of same-sex civil unions and full rights for the parties involved. To be sure, most gay people, myself included, won’t be satisfied until our loving, monogamous relationships are graced with the word “marriage.” But it’s important to recall that many religious individuals do support strong civil rights for the gay members of their communities.
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