NY Catholic Bishop Bans Legislators Who Supported Marriage Equality From Catholic Parish And School Events

Brooklyn, NY Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio

New York’s successful marriage equality effort was marked by an outpouring of support from religious groups. About 727 clergy and congregations across faiths and denominations signed on to the push for marriage equality. However, in response to the civil rights victory, a New York Catholic bishop is offering a different reaction. CNS news reports that the Catholic bishop for the Brooklyn diocese Nicholas DiMarzio is asking all Catholic schools to not invite Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) or any pro-marriage equality lawmakers “to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”

In a statement issued on the night New York passed its law, DiMarzio said, “Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society” by opening “a new front in the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of our nation.” Thus, DiMarzio seeks to bar legislators from Catholic recognition in “protest of the corrupt political process in New York State” that has “demonized people of faith”:

“In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation,” said Bp. DiMarzio in the statement. “Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”

“The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State,” said the bishop. “More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex “marriage.”

“Republicans and Democrats equally share responsibility for this ruinous legislation and we as Catholics should hold all accountable for their actions,” said Bp. DiMarzio.

Incidentally, New York’s law clearly exempts religious clergy and institutions from having to perform or host same-sex marriages. Indeed, a religious institutions maintain the right to limit employment of a gay person, to give preference to people of the same religion, and to take any action that “promote[s] the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.” DiMarzio’s mandate is predicated purely on his anti-LGBT views rather than any real consequences he endures under the law.

In a joint statement, all eight bishops of New York slammed the marriage equality as a law that will “alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage” and that will undermine “both marriage and the family” by redefining “these cornerstones of civilization.” Presbyterian Rev. Glenn Leupold of Albany, NY however, noted that while some “believe — and believe is the operative word — that same gender marriage violates religious beliefs,” a religion “also does not have the right to force them not to marry at all.” Thus, New York, he said, is correct “in not letting religious organizations have veto power over a citizen right.”