Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Episcopal Bishop of New York Does Not Feel "Oppressed," Thanks Very Much

One of the most odious arguments against same sex marriage was that if civil marriages are recognized for gays and lesbians, it somehow "oppresses" the religious freedom of others.

I was pleased to receive this letter from Mark Sisk, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, and good guy:


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It was with thanksgiving and joy that I received the news of the New York State legislature's affirmative action on the Marriage Equality legislation that it had been debating with such intensity.

The legislation, as enacted, appears to be closely aligned with the long standing views of this Diocese that the civil rights of all people should be respected equally before the law. In terms of the issue of marriage rights for gay and lesbian people that position was made most explicit in the resolution enacted at our 2009 Diocesan Convention.

The legislature's action in broadening the definition of marriage to include same sex unions has to do with civil law, as it properly should. It does not determine Church teaching about the nature of sacraments. That is our continuing work. However, nothing in the unfinished nature of that work should cause us to hesitate to give our most profound thanks for the step that has been taken in affording equal civil rights for our brothers and sisters.


Simple, isn't it?


Talekyn said...

Short, to the point, and well-said.

A straight friend of mine, from central NY, wondered online the other day why we can't simply break it down into "civil unions with full legal rights for ALL (gay and straight) on the secular side of things, and marriage for the churches to define as they please." (Not a direct quote, but basic point is the same.)

David Johnston said...

Exactly. And frankly, some of the arguments - comparing this to North Korea or China - are sickening and insulting to those who actually are living under regimes which repress their religious freedoms through beatings, imprisonment and killings.

Martha J Mountain said...

@Talekyn - so glad to hear someone else say that - the state should have nothing to say yes or no about a religious marriage - it should be civil unions or whatever one wants to call it for everyone - a trip to the courthouse is required already to get the license.
David, so glad to hear your Bishop is such a clear thinker.

BrooklynDavid said...

David, I refer you to the Facebook exchange I had with a work colleague who is, he says, a devout Catholic. Let us just say that the happenings in Albany didn't sit well with him.
I might just forward this clearheaded note to him... not that it would sit well with him either.

David Johnston said...

My brother, sister-in-law, two nieces, one nephew-in-law and one great niece are all devout Catholics, too. (OK, the great-niece hasn't been confirmed yet, but it'll happen.) Never miss Mass, or a day of obligation, etc etc. And you know what? They're fine. They tend to shrug and say, "Great, are you seeing anyone yet?" I find there's a lot of daylight in between what the higher ups of the Catholic Church say and what the lay people do. Fact of the matter is, lay Catholics tend to be much more supportive of gay marriage than evangelical Protestants.