Illinois Bishop Admits Religious Exemptions On Marriage Equality Bills Are Meaningless To Opponents

Bishop Thomas Paprocki

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is advancing almostdaily attacks on marriage equality, particularly in states like Illinois and Rhode Island where legislation is imminent. On Monday, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield, Illinois diocese demonstrated just how uncompromising the Church’s position is. In an interview on Catholic radio captured by Jeremy Hooper, Paprocki explained that it doesn’t matter how many religious exemptions are built into a same-sex marriage bill — the Church will still oppose it:

PAPROCKI: I don’t want to give the impression that if we get enough exemptions into the law or enough protections into the law that would protect religious freedom that we would be okay with same-sex marriage. That’s not what we’re saying here. What I’m saying is, I don’t believe that there is any provision that they could make that is going to allow for same-sex marriage to become the law without having some implication or some adverse fallout.

So just to be clear about that, we’re not saying, “well, give us enough protection here for our religious liberties and we’ll be okay with same-sex marriage”—we’re not saying that at all. The whole idea is really fundamentally flawed and is just unacceptable.

Listen to it:

Paprocki is sending a clear message to lawmakers not to bother carving out extra protections for people of faith, because it won’t change how they feel about supporting the bill anyway. The Catholic Church, in particular, has made it clear it will discriminate against same-sex couples at all costs, even if means abandoning charity work like adoption services entirely.

The LGBT movement appreciates the difference between civil and religious marriage and has no expectations that the law dictate what can or cannot take place within any house of worship. Still, the unabashed goal of the movement is to achieve equal treatment and respect in society. Creating room for people of faith to legally discriminate falls far short of that goal; it would create a special privilege for some religious groups to exist above the law instead of ensuring religious freedom and equality for all.