Queer and Catholic? Join the Conversation.

One of the challenges in the past in dealing with the political issues around LGBT equality from a Catholic perspective is that the conversation has too easily been dragged down to the level of a shouting match which puts “religious belief” up against “civil rights”. In fact of course, the issues are more complex, and the simple repetition of slogans masks the real and cogent religious arguments in favour of equality and inclusion. I am convinced that when people of faith talk to each other from an agreed position of shared religious belief, progress can be made. So it is that I welcome the announcement by Catholics for Equality of a panel discussion between two notable public figures from each side of the argument. Gay Catholic journalist Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher of NOM together with two students, one each from College Democrats and College Republicans, will be engaging in “A Catholic Family Conversation on LGBT Issues”, at Georgetown University, Washington DC on Wednesday next week, 8th December. The panel will be chaired by E J Dionne.

If you will not be in DC personally (and I assume that most of you, like myself, will not be, never fear. You should nevertheless be able to follow the proceedings by an on-line  livecast at catholicsforequality.org/georgetown. (Alas, this will not help me, as I shall be in bed and asleep at that time).


Catholics for Equality Invites You to
A Catholic Family Conversation on LGBT Issues

Wednesday, December 8, 2010    8:30 – 10:00 PM (ET)
Georgetown University Intercultural Center Auditorium

WASHINGTON – LGBT issues are at the forefront of discussions in Catholic families, parishes and communities across the United States. Catholic families find themselves supporting their LGBT family members and friends, while at the same time are aware of the increasingly political role the US Bishops have taken against marriage equality, employment and military service, and immigration rights for LGBT people. This national “Catholic Family Conversation” will bring together leading voices on these issues to answer questions from college students preparing to return home for the Holidays.

The event will be livecast online at catholicsforequality.org/georgetown, with a live chat for Cathlolic college students from across the country to pose questions and add comments.

Andrew Sullivan, Atlantic senior editor, political commentator, author, blogger
Maggie Gallagher, National Organization for Marriage spokesperson, political commentator, writer
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist, Brookings Institute senior fellow, political commentator, author
Hanna Lomax-Vogt, Georgetown College Democrats
Joel Knowles, Georgetown College Republicans
A Catholic Family Conversation on LGBT Issues
Sponsored by the Georgetown College Republicans and Georgetown College Democrats
Wednesday, December 8, 2010; 8:30 – 10:00 PM ET
Georgetown University Intercultural Center (ICC) Auditorium (get map)
To engage as a diverse American Catholic family in a civil discussion around LGBT issues currently being debated in U.S.politics.


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Lesbian Judge for Colorado State Supreme Court

While much of the headline news over the struggle for queer equality is devoted to the high-profile national stories, great progress is being made across a broad front at state and local level. This story, of an important judicial appointment in Colorado, is one of many that deserves wider attention:

Relief and skepticism both are greeting Colorado’s next member of the state Supreme Court. Monica Marquez is the first Latina and the first openly gay jurist on the state’s high court.

Marquez was named by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the court. Marquez is currently deputy Colorado attorney general and is past president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association.

A gay state senator tells The Pueblo Chieftain that Marquez’s appointment means racial and sexual preference barriers are no longer there. But a conservative critic of the court tells The Denver Post that he suspects Marquez was picked not because of her merits but to appeal to “special interests.”

Edge Dallas

Court Affirms: DADT Discrimination is Unconstitutional

In yet another court setback for legislative discrimination, a federal judge has found that the US military ban on openly LGBT servicemen and women is discriminatory, unconstitutional – and counterproductive.

From the Washington Post:

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a violation of due process and First Amendment rights. Instead of being necessary for military readiness, she said, the policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.



Memorial to the Sacred Band of Thebes - Renowned for their valour, and exclusively comprising pairs of lovers.


Three things strike me about this verdict – its obvious common sense, the plaintiffs, and how it highlights the total absence of evidence for the case against equality. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Weddings, Cape Town

South Africa has provided full marriage equality for four years now. A report in the NYT featuring weddings in Cape Town has prompted some reflection on what makes the Saffer version of gay marriage special.

First, the story of marriage rights is totally tied up with the story of “the struggle”, as South Africans describe the long,  slow path to democracy and freedom.  When the new constitution was negotiated, it was a fundamental principle from the start that a strong bill of rights would be at its centre, providing protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, language or gender. Far-sighted negotiators were also able to introduce age, disability – and sexual orientation.  In the early years of the new government, the government had many other priorities, so that legislating protection for queer citizens languished on a back burner. (Sound familiar?)

Read the rest of this entry »

Out in the Forces: UK Version

Over the last year or so there have been many notable anniversaries of landmarks on the way to LGBT equality: 40 since Stonewall (June last year), 40 years since the first gay liberation march (June this year); 20 years since the first civil unions in Denmark (last year),10 years for those in Vermont (June this year), 5 years for the first full marriages in Massachusetts. Here’s one that passed me by – possibly because it’s more difficult to pin it down to a specific date in th year, possibly because it will have been missed by the American media that so dominate our news cycle.

2010 marks ten years of openly gay and lesbian members serving in the British armed forces. Read the rest of this entry »