Boston archbishop supports gay couples to protect children
Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley plans to support Massachusetts state legislation extending benefits to same-sex couples, for the sake of children with gay parents.
But a spokesperson for the archbishop stresses that he remains "strongly opposed" to gay marriage.
Another Massachusetts bishop, Daniel Reilly of Worcester, told a state legislative committee that the issue of benefits should be dealt with separately from same-sex unions.
Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalise gay marriage.
"If the goal is to look at individual benefits and determine who should be eligible beyond spouses, then we will join the discussion," Bishop Reilly told the Judiciary Committee.
Archbishop O'Malley's spokesperson, said the church is specifically concerned about addressing benefits that affect children in gay families, such as education and health. Extending these benefits would not in any way contradict the Catholic Church's commitment to matrimony, he said.
"I think what's actually being said is that the benefits that are necessary for the protection of children and families don't necessarily involve any kind of a redefinition of relationship or marital status," Coyne said.
Catholic bishops in New Zealand and Switzerland have issued similar statements, articulating firm opposition to gay marriage but a strong interest in protecting the rights of children in gay families, according to Stephen Pope, a professor of theology at Boston College.
The groups in New Zealand and Switzerland were not criticized by the Vatican, Pope said, but came under fire from conservative Catholic groups.
Catholic Bishop Shows Support for Gays (Associated Press/Newsday)
Shocker as Massachusetts bishops drop opposition to benefits for gay partners (Catholic World News/Spirit Daily)
A 'Culture' of Inverted Sexuality (catholiceducation.org)
Catholic Bishops Lobby Mass. Legislators (Data Lounge)
Catholic bishop supports gay couple rights? (PlanetOut)
Cracks Appear In Catholic Marriage Armor (proudparenting.com)
Archdiocese of Boston
27 Oct 2003