At MOJ, Rick Garnett has posted some thoughtful remarks on the situation at Eastside Catholic. Although I am inclined to agree with him that (at least for Catholic elementary and secondary schools who do not accept state funding) this is a choice for the Church to make, it seems to me that the Church has left itself the space to make a different choice in these situations. It could choose to view the injustice it sees in gay marriage as (in its view) one that is perpetrated by the state, and not by the participants in gay marriages. Consequently, as to actual gay couples, it could simply treat the marriages as a nullity and ignore them. On this view, the Church's beef is with the state, not with the gay couple. If it is willing to hire someone who is gay, it should not fire him/her for taking advantage of a set of secular benefits that the state has chosen to exend to him/her. Of course, I reject the Church's teachings on homosexuality, so I would favor an even easier way out by treating committed gay relationships as morally valuable. I take inspiration in my own marriage from the committed gay couples I have known. But even for those who accept the Church's teachings, I think there is ample room for a change of course. And this seems to me to be the students' principal insight.
Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.
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