Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Leaders of Catholic and Episcopal churches differ on gay marriage in Pennsylvania

By Ivey DeJesus

(The Patriot-NewsThe heads of the Catholic and Episcopal churches in south central Pennsylvania on Wednesday struck contrasting reactions to findings of a poll that shows voters would be in favor of approving gay marriage legislation.
The Rev. Joseph McFadden, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, decried the narrow favoring for gay marriage, while the Rev. Nathan Baxter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania welcomed it as good news.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that Pennsylvanians narrowly favor gay marriage -- 47 percent of voters indicating they would approve gay marriage, and 43 percent opposing it. The poll found greater disparities along religious lines.

White Catholics indicated support for same-sex marriage 50-40 percent, while white Protestants oppose it 60-31 percent, the poll found. Voters under 35 also support same-sex marriage 68-25 percent, as do voters aged 35 to 54 years old 48-41 percent. But commonwealth voters over 55 oppose it 52-39 percent.

"...The gift of marriage is something we receive from God, it is not something we construct or can change to fit our purposes." Bishop Joseph McFadden
The Patriot-News will continue to update reaction from across a broad swath of community and public figures throughout the day. Join the conversation here on PennLive with your thoughts on the comments stream.

Reactions from the bishops are provided in their entirety:

The Rev. Joseph McFadden, bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg:

“We believe and teach that the gift of marriage is something we receive from God, it is not something we construct or can change to fit our purposes. That is why one of the most troubling developments in today’s culture is the proposition that persons of the same sex can marry. This proposal attempts to redefine the nature of marriage and the family and, as a result, harms both the intrinsic dignity of every human person and the common good of society. Marriage is the basis for family formation and is not simply a way of legitimizing sex.”

“Marriage is a unique union, a relationship different from all others. It has two fundamental purposes, the good of the spouses as well as the procreation of children. They cannot be separated.”

“Basic human rights must be afforded to all people. This can and should be done without sacrificing the bedrock of society that is marriage and the family and without violating the religious liberty of persons and institutions.”

“Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination. It’s respecting the unique reality of the relationship between a husband and a wife, who alone are capable of forming a union open to new life.”

The Rt. Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania:
“I am pleased to see the results of the recent Quinnipiac University Poll results concerning Pennsylvanian views on gun control and same-gender marriage.

While matters of improved background checks, enforcement of existing laws and better mental health access is critical to the conversation about public safety, the openness to consider regulation of assault weapons is vital. The best solutions come from comprehensive and open conversation. Finding the best solutions to public safety is only limited by what is politically unacceptable to consider.

Same-gender marriage is an issue which, while culturally and religiously controversial, has not been a politically limited conversation. That almost half of Pennsylvanians have moved towards support of marriage equality says that, in time, even with our differences on the issue, we will come to a just and respectful consensus.”


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