Mayor Cranley Calls Opponents Un-American, Are You One?
Just a day after four prominent American bishops signed an open letter to all “all in positions of public service” in support of the definition of marriage and the rights of children to their own families, and a day before the March for Marriage in Washington, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley presided at a sendoff for a Cincinnati man challenging that definition in the Supreme Court.
Standing on the steps of City Hall, yards from Cincinnati’s cathedral, Mayor Cranley, a Catholic, said that opposition to same-sex “marriage” was un-American and that Cincinnati as a city supports redefining marriage. Citing “thousands of gay families” raising children, he also endorsed the legal cases of two lesbian couples who want both women’s names on the birth certificates of the children they’re raising together, in place of the father’s name.
The sendoff rally for Cincinnatian Jim Obergefell, whose case will be heard Tuesday along with five other cases from Ohio and neighboring states folded into it, was organized by activists. About 30 people, including ministers of several small “gay-affirming” churches that were part of the rally effort; lawyer Al Gerhardstein, Jr. (son of Mr. Obergefell’s lead attorney); the lesbian plaintiffs with the children they’re raising; and others connected with the cases stood on the steps with colorful signs and, in one case, a rainbow umbrella.
Declaring that any person should be able to marry the person he or she loves, anywhere in the world, Cranley said that “there’s a lot of problems government needs to solve, but too much love isn’t one of them.” He acknowledged Vice Mayor David Mann, who was present but did not speak, and said he thought that all City Council members, present or not, endorsed redefining marriage (a resolution in favor of the redefinition passed March 25th, with Charles Winburn voting against it and two Council members not present).
Cranley, a life-long Catholic, is a graduate of St. William School, St. Xavier High School, John Carroll University (Cleveland), and Harvard Law School — where he also received a degree from Harvard Divinity School.
Given this background, he presumably knows that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is unanimously opposed to redefining marriage, and is one of many religious and secular entities to do so. Besides his own church, Mayor Cranley’s fellow Ohioans voted against redefining marriage, as have all but three of the states where it has been put on the ballot.
Standing with Mayor Cranley was state representative Denise Driehaus, also a Catholic, who said that Cincinnati was far more welcoming to same-sex “marriage” than Columbus is, and that she was glad to be back in a city that welcome her son and his “boyfriend,” who recently moved to Over-the-Rhine.
The Thursday letter (text here) was signed on behalf of the Church by four bishops especially tasked with issues of marriage, the family, and religious liberty: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the USCCB and author of a major document on marriage and the family; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty; and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, NY, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
The USCCB also endorsed Saturday’s March for Marriage in Washington, DC, attended by thousands — most of them African-American and Hispanic Christians. Archbishop Kurtz spoke at the March, as did an Orthodox priest and several Protestant ministers, including. Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors.
It is the position of the Catholic Church that only men and women can marry, because marriage is not an arrangement based on the wants or romantic feelings of adults, but the smallest unit of any society. It predates all governments and no government can change its definition. This argument is not based on religion but on the natural law, biology, and the universal definition of marriage throughout all time and in all cultures; however, it is bolstered by Scripture, including the traditions of the Old Testament, the teachings of Christ, and the writings of Paul. No same-sex union of any sort was recognized in any country in the world until 1989.
Jim Oberbefell’s story first reached the city in the editorial section of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which chronicled his flight to Maryland for a runway “wedding” to his longtime partner Paul Arthur, who was dying of ALS, after that state legalized same-sex “marriage.” Upon their return attorney Al Gerhardstein, who represents Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and also specializes in civil rights and gay rights cases, represented Obergefell in an emergency suit to have the “marriage” recognized in Ohio so that he would be listed on Mr. Arthur’s death certificate as his husband — although Mr. Arthur was, at the time, very much alive.
The Enquirer has since endorsed same-sex “marriage,” adoption, and conception of children through artificial means, as well as taking on various issues regarding homosexual and “transgender” people, including the enthusiastic endorsement of giving young children with healthy bodies hormones to suppress puberty. While the four local television stations haven’t been as enthusiastic as the Enquirer, their coverage of the rally Friday ranged from fairly even-handed (Channel 9) to gushing, with Channel 12’s Joe Webb opining that it was hard to tell whether the rally “was a legal story or a love story.”
Mayor Cranley’s office did not return calls asking for a statement explaining why he called the many citizens he represents who disagree with his position — as well as his own church — un-American. However, it remains the official position of the Catholic Church that “gay marriage” is impossibile. Earlier this mont the USCCB filed an submitted an amicus brief (a legal argument in support of a case) opposing the one Mayor Cranley endorsed (read it here).
Archdiocese of Cincinnati spokesman Dan Andriacco says that “the Church’s teaching about the nature of marriage as a union of sexual complementarity between a man and a woman is clear, unequivocal, and unchangeable. It is also an understanding that was enshrined in civil law everywhere until just a few decades ago. There’s a good reason for that. It’s called the common good.
“As Pope Francis said at the Humanum Conference in Rome last fall, ‘The family is the foundation of existence and a remedy against social fragmentation. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.’ Having two parents of the same sex is not the same. This is why, speaking in Manila in January, the Holy Father noted that “the family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage.”
Two days before the Friday ceremony, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of marriage at his Wednesday General Audience, saying, “mistrust and scepticism has led our culture to disregard the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, that covenant which deepens communion and safeguards the dignity of their uniqueness.
“When the stable and fruitful covenant between a man and a woman is devalued by society, it is a loss for everyone, especially the young. For all our sins and weaknesses, our vocation is to care for the covenant of marriage. It is a vital and energizing vocation, through which we cooperate with our heavenly Father, who himself always cares for and protects this great gift.”
Oral arguments will be held for two hours at the Supreme Court Tuesday. At that time, at least 145,000 “un-American” Evangelical pastors — several of them prominent with large followings, most of them typical American ministers — and pro-marriage groups, backed by Sen. Ted Cruz, will hold prayer services. Unlike Catholics, Evangelicals do base their arguments against same-sex “marriage” on religion.
They invite people everywhere to join them in prayer.
Photos © The Catholic Beat.
For more on religious freedom issues:
Click here for our Religious Liberty resources page. Click here to see all our previous stories and guest posts on religious liberty issues.
Click here for the USCCB’s resource page on the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty.
Click here to see all our current stories.
If you’ve enjoyed this story, please share it. To get local Catholic news, features and photos every day in your inbox, subscribe in the box at the top of every page or send a request to TheCatholicBeat@gmail.com.