June 30th, 2013
12:02 AM ET

Sullivan on Catholicism and same-sex marriage

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with commentator Andrew Sullivan about this week’s Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage and religious resistance to the idea of same-sex weddings.

The opposition you still face does come largely from the religious community, from the Christian right. You're a believing Catholic. What do you say to them?

Read Kennedy's decision. The core of it is about human dignity. And that is a...

He used that word nine times...

Yes. And, you know, dignity is a very important word in Catholic theology. Once you’ve understood a person, a human being has human dignity, there are certain things that will not and cannot be morally done to that person. And I think what he revealed was how gay people before that had been denied that dignity, even by their own church. And I think it's a tragedy that the Catholic hierarchy has taken this position.

But one recalls that the new pope was in favor of civil unions in Argentina, that the new pope comes from a country where same-sex marriage is legal, for the first time. So he knows this.

But yes, I would say the religious arguments are more based in fear than in the actual teachings, that they're based upon stray texts that actually don't mean what you think they mean and that Jesus himself only said one thing about marriage, which is that you can't divorce. And we live in a country where countless people are divorced. And that doesn't seem to threaten the religious liberty of Catholics. And it's as fundamental an issue.

So if Catholics can live with religious liberty with divorced people, they should be perfectly able to live with gay people, I mean, as married, as a civil marriage. I used to say I'm confident the church will change its position – at least within the next millennium...

But I do believe also that a lot of this was driven by many of us who do have faith and who really believe deep down that God loved us and that what we were doing was God's work. And I think the critical work we did in the '90s and early 21st century was to bring the religious groups, and reach out to religious groups. Because remember, Reformed Jews, Episcopalians, many denominations support marriage equality. And if you look at the polling, you'll find that Catholics are the second ethnic group most likely to support it.

And my experience was, as a Catholic in the pews, was callousness in the rhetoric from the Vatican, but incredible compassion and support from the people right and left of me in those pews celebrating the same God, wanting the same communion.

And I've see my own family, an Irish-Catholic family, very religious in many ways, come around.  I saw when I first went to Christmas with my in-laws after I had proposed to my now husband.  And before that, I had been Aaron's kind of friend that they don't kind of deal with and as soon as we said we're engaged, they had the vocabulary, the language. They knew who I was. They knew what our relationship was. They knew how to deal with me.

We gave them the architecture and the language and the vocabulary. And the question for me was always, with the gay community, is not why did this happen, it's, well why did it take us so long?

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Topics: GPS Show • Religion

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Kristian

    This man clearly and cleverly tricked his entire family into apostasy. Here's to you Satan! But for the faithful, Satan may have garnered a soul or five, but tonight we celebrate Jesus Christ and his victory. I pray for you apostates that one day you will understand your wicked deeds and repent.

    June 30, 2013 at 1:28 am | Reply
    • Um what?

      God created "gay" people. So do you think god sinned? Or is it you sinning because you loath god's creations?

      July 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  2. vonrock

    The TRUTH is everyone has their own Jesus, Having their own sense of sin. look around Deceit like candy, Liars with their own definitions. churches haven't changed much except for the worse since Christ visit. They'll all be exposed and catholics the most unholy of all. Connive and scheme like our politicians. wide is the gate.

    June 30, 2013 at 2:42 am | Reply
  3. Cecil

    I naturally feel sick to this so call "marriage". Am I abnormal or what?

    June 30, 2013 at 8:06 am | Reply
    • Yes

      Yes you are.

      July 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
      • Cecil

        Normalizing the abnormal: organ malfunction.

        July 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • It's normal

        Being gay is "normal" to a gay person.

        July 2, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • Cecil

        Sadly so.

        July 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
  4. Jim

    The government should get out of the marriage business. Civil unions should be conducted and regulated by the government. Marriages should be regulated by one's church or other private organization. The gay community (a minority) wants to force its beliefs on the majority. All the arguments for gay marriage can support incests, polygamy, etc.... Is that really where we (gay and straight) want to go?

    June 30, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply
  5. CHARLES

    Andrew Sullivan thinks we should be tolerant of peoples' intolerance. I see his point well. His is a compassionate and patient approach. Not every gay person can or should behave as he can. As a gay person who was hurt by fundamentalism, I think it is effective to point out bigotry where it exists. I do not need to respect mistreatment by anyone or any organization. Let's remember that the Bible is the religion's handbook for those who believe. It is not the rule book for our civic laws.

    June 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  6. Cary

    Dignity, like God's love should extend to everyone. I is a church's decision who they will marry, but the state MUST extend the same rights to the LGBT comunity.

    July 4, 2013 at 11:36 am | Reply

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