MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—New Ways Ministry thanks Vice Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine for speaking with hope about the Catholic Church's eventual acceptance of same-gender marriage. Kaine, a practicing Catholic, spoke the truth when he said that we should "celebrate" and not "challenge" God's "beautiful diversity of the human family."
Kaine's sentiments are shared by millions of Catholics across the U.S. who heartily support marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples, as poll after poll continues to show. As Kaine's statement illustrates, Catholics support marriage equality because they are Catholic, not in spite of being Catholic. Their training in the Catholic faith has taught them to respect difference and diversity, to value love and commitment, and to support and strengthen strong family ties.
Church history has shown time and again that important changes in the Church have always arisen from the bottom to the top, and not the other way around. So, it is only a matter of time before the church hierarchy begins to accept and affirm what Catholics like Tim Kaine already know: that love is love, and that all love is holy, for God is love.
Kaine candidly acknowledged that his own acceptance of marriage equality has been a journey for him, and that it was the experience of knowing families headed by lesbian and gay couples which helped him see that they deserved equal treatment. This pattern of acceptance has been true for many Catholics, as they come to be aware of their gay and lesbian family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.
Catholic bishops and other church leaders need to follow Kaine's example by opening their eyes, ears, minds, and hearts to the experiences of lesbian and gay couples and their families. Instead of being locked in an ivory tower, Catholic bishops need to do what the rest of the country and the world has been doing for decades: dialogue with lesbian and gay people so they can see they are not an enemy to be fought, but children of God, as are all human beings.
New Ways Ministry is a 38-year old national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for LGBT Catholics and the wider church community. For more information, visit www.NewWaysMinistry.org .