On Same-Sex Marriage, Latinos And The Catholic Church Don’t Line Up

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For the first time ever, more Latinos favor than oppose same-sex marriage, according to a Pew Hispanic study released this week. With one of the largest Catholic populations in the world, Latinos are generally considered socially conservative on issues like abortion or same-sex marriage. Yet with 54 percent of Hispanic Catholics in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, the data reveals that the U.S. Latino population is not in sync with the Catholic church.

The statistics come just as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is preparing on Friday to begin a two-week call for prayer and action issues including immigration and same-sex marriage. Religious leaders are asking Catholics to pray for “religious liberties” to prevail on the two issues.

In terms of immigration, Latinos and the Church are certainly on the same page: The Church employs the Christian Doctrine of “pastoral care” to push for immigration reform. Working with other religious groups in filing lawsuits against the state of Alabama, the Catholic Church cites that the state’s prohibition of harboring an undocumented immigrant goes against Christian religion.

But even as the Catholic Church and one of its most prominent American Catholic cardinals, Timothy Dolan, have supported the Latino view on immigration, they have not taken the same kind of acceptance towards same-sex marriage. When immigration and same-sex marriage intertwine, as was the case when Sen. Leahy (D-VT) proposed a provision that would grant protection to binational same-sex couples, the Catholic Church emerged to ardently oppose the effort. Additionally, conservative groups that work closely with religious figures, including the National Organization for Marriage, have issued memos meant to “drive a wedge” between Latinos and gay Americans.