Among the notable electoral events last night were 4 ballot initiatives concerning same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage, and voters in Minnesota rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay unions. Boston.com reports:
The tide has turned when voters have the opportunity to really hear directly from loving, committed same-sex couples and their families, they voted for fairness, said Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, a California-based gay rights group. Those who oppose the freedom to marry for committed couples are clearly on the wrong side of history.
The affirming states are the 7th, 8th and 9th states to do so, here for the first time by popular vote. These states won't be the last: poll data shows that this is a generational issue. Younger voters are strongly supportive of equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay Americans. Here is one example of how Catholics are hanging on to the good news of Catholic Social Teaching, at least as they see it. One attendee at a pro-gay marriage prayer vigil in Washington last Sunday put it this way:
Catholics believe Christs primary message is one of love, and Catholic social teaching teaches us that God loves everybody. We are standing up for centuries of Catholic social teaching, a vigil attendee told seattlepi.com.
Magisterial teaching against same-sex CIVIL marriage hinges on the category of procreation, seemingly asserting that the institution only has social value because children might result. But our own teaching on marriage is richer than that--marriage has value that includes procreation (or not), but also reaches beyond that important but ultimately merely biological category to encompass all the richness of living in committed relationships. Perhaps this is a moment when Catholics voting for marriage equality are showing that they have indeed learned the lessons of Catholic teaching, both the social teaching of the equal dignity of all people and our own rich heritage on marriage.