ABC – WaPo Poll Confirms, Yet Again: Catholics (Increasingly) Support Gay Marriage

Yet again, research has shown that a majority of Americans now support legal provision for gay marriage; that support is at a new high – and that support, and the increase in support, is particularly strong for US Catholics.

A new poll for ABC – Washington Post is just the latest in a run of recent polls to confirm: an absolute majority of Americans now support marriage recognition for same sex couples. This poll used question wording which is identical to previous polls over the past 10 years, so the results are strictly comparable with earlier years – and show a dramatic shift in the direction of support for equality. This shift in support is also reflected in several other reputable pollsters with comparable results to provide a discernible trend:

More than half of Americans say it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry, a first in nearly a decade of polls by ABC News and The Washington Post.

This milestone result caps a dramatic, long-term shift in public attitudes. From a low of 32 percent in a 2004 survey of registered voters, support for gay marriage has grown to 53 percent today. Forty-four percent are opposed, down 18 points from that 2004 survey.


This dramatic shift in support in just 5 years is clearly shown in a simple graph:

Read the rest of this entry »

Primary Elections Advance Marriage Equality

In Tuesday’s primary elections (just as in earlier primaries), some clear advances were recorded towards LGBT equality – notably in New York and Maryland, but also elsewhere. Why does this matter to me? I am not a New Yorker, or even American, but a South African now living in Europe.  These successes area important to the queer community everywhere, as part of a much broader pattern that will transform our political landscapes everywhere – the advancing global acceptance of a new understanding of family. This is a theme I will be expanding on for a broader post later today, but first I need to present the evidence – which I do by starting with the primaries in New York and Maryland

Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Marriage: India

As marriage equality continues to advance across the globe, some countries (usually the rich, Western ones) make the headlines, others do not.  Some situations are clear-cut, some are not.

When the Indian Supreme Court handed down a ruling last year which outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, it was not at all clear whether this would necessarily ensure a right to marry.  Now, in the Indian state of Manipur, the answer for one couple is clear:  it does.Two men – Sandeep Soibam and Nikhil Sharma Hidangmayum got married publicly this week.

Gay marriage solemnised in State

Read the rest of this entry »

Natural Law, Natural Families.

When I first put down some thoughts on sexual ethics here and at “The Open Tabernacle”, it was quite specifically intended as simply a collection of principles that I have put together for myself, rather than any reasoned and coherent system of ethics. Later, I referred rather off-handedly to the church, which developed its own teaching without any reference to empirical data from external reality


For this I was criticized by a reader, who pointed out reasonably enough that I too had presented no empirical data. He went on to refer to the finding so Kinsey and biology as proof that “nature”, by hot wiring a direct connection between the genitals and the pleasure centres of the brain, predisposes and directs our sexual energies to reproduction. As this is a variant of the “natural law” basis for so much of traditional Catholic teaching on sex, I thought I would share with you some of the evidence, the “empirical data”, that directly contradicts the conclusion above.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vatican: A Ship Sinking Itself?

One of the funniest books I have ever read was “The Book of Heroic Failures”, written by the founder of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. The background to this is that Stephen Pile was a fairly ordinary Englishman who believed that the world was becoming obsessed with “success” – bigger, better richer, brighter, faster, and all the rest – when most of us are pretty ordinary, like himself. So, reasonably enough, he formed a club for people who were NOT very good at anything, and especially for those who were very bad at something – who used to meet, and tell each other stories of spectacular failures.  These were later collected and published under the title “The Book of Heroic Failures.” I read this nearly thirty years ago, and still snort when I remember some of the anecdotes:  of a hard of hearing military quartermaster who incorrectly heard a request for several hundred brass taps, and bought bra straps instead (for an all0male camp), or the nervous amateur actor who had a few drinks to calm his nerves before his first night as the Prince of Denmark, then a few more – then passed out just before the curtain.  In the best theatrical tradition, the show duly went on – without Hamlet.

The book itself was a story of staggering failures:

Read the rest of this entry »

Married Priests, Womenpriests, Gay Priests: Let’s All Stand Together

In ongoing debates, discussions and raging arguments over compulsory celibacy for priests, we usually overlook the simple, plain fact that there are already many thousands of married Catholic priests. The eastern rite churches within the Catholic church have always accepted a married clergy, and in recent years there has been a steady trickle of married clergy converting from other denominations, who have been ordained in the Catholic Church and are now ministering openly and officially in Catholic parishes, in many parts of the world. Most of us know this, even if we do not think about it consciously.

Eastern Rite Catholic Priests

We completely overlook, however, that by far the greatest number of married priests today are those who started out conventionally enough in the Western Church, but later left formal ministry within the institutional church. Many of these left in order to marry, others left and only later chose to marry. All, however, remain priests. In catholic theology, the principle is clear: “Once a priest, always a priest”.

Read the rest of this entry »