By Shawna Daly
Barack Obama is our generation’s symbol of a greater America. He exemplifies the beauty of diversity in our country and enforces equality through his policies. Throughout his term, Obama has unearthed social injustices that have been left untouched for years.
He believes implementing legal protections for gay rights is a constitutional promise and 2015 is the year for that justification. Earlier this week at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) fundraiser in New York, our president said “…our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
Obama has been the paladin for so many different religious, social, and ethnic groups and is the champion of our cause. His faith in our country generated the momentum needed to begin lawfully officializing and protecting gay marriage.
During our nation’s papal visit, Pope Francis addressed gay equality as a serious and prominent issue for our nation’s people and the Vatican. This issue was also
unveiled in reports of gay clergy members, to which Pope Francis responded, “Who am I to judge?”
This now famous question is being relentlessly investigated and some interpretations suggest the consideration for inclusion of gays in the church. Having the most upstanding person of faith separate himself from religious exclusivity is purely inspiring.
To some, the plight for gay equality in the church is radical and invigorating, but others aren’t as enthused by the cause. Cardinal Tagle said, “(The Bishops)…were given a wider picture of the various cases, particular contexts, of marriage.”
In a report of the 78th General convention, revisiting the definition of marriage to become gender neutral is under consultation for 2015. The convention’s Task Force is considering the purpose of marriage above the vows technicalities. Gender neutral terms for rewritten exchanges would be ‘couple’ rather than “man and wife.”
During the conference, Brian Baker of the Legislative Committee on Marriage said, “Homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons…” Baker isn’t alone in his belief that people shouldn’t be discriminated against when religion the the common denominator.
The consensus was, as of Nov. 1, 2014, the church can solemnize gay marriage; however, clergy has the right to refuse and Bishops can override the service of their district completely. This controversial “minority act” was signed by 20 Bishops.
This agreement of allowing but not requiring to recognize gay marriage is a compromise that was referred to by the Bishops as “exercising their conscience.” Ostensibly, the act is in favor of inclusivity and equal rights, but this compromise only grants officiating gay marriage as optional.
However small, success in conferences like these are a telling indicator of religious flexibility, and possibly the lessening of the church’s sanctimonious laws.
Despite the difficulties mandating marriage equality on a large scale, gay acceptance is widely celebrated among certain communities during marches, LGBT groups and celebrations like Outfest here in Philadelphia.
On Oct. 11, the heart of the “gayborhood” comes alive with thousandsof colorful people for the annual celebration of National Coming Out day. Outfest is the first celebration of its kind and spans 10 blocks from Walnut to Spruce street and 12th to 13th street.
Since the 1965 LGBT rally at independence hall, Philly has been creating new ways to embrace our gay brothers and sisters. Visit phillygaypride.org for ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia’s fight for gay rights.
Even closer to home, on Oct. 9, DCCC will host a Coming Out Celebration from 10:30 to 12:30 in our courtyard. Everyone is encouraged to come to this event whether you’re gay, supporting a friend, or just checking out the food.
Our College promotes equality of all kind and encourages self-expression and self-discovery through their diversity program. Our college also offers L.I.F.E., which is a club that believes love is for everyone. For more information or to get involved with L.I.F.E., check out Campus Life activities.