A couple of recent events in the news have been on my mind and causing me a great deal of sadness. One is the campaign by the Minnesota Catholic Bishops to send hundreds of thousands of DVDs to Catholics throughout the state, instructing them that it is their moral duty to oppose same sex marriage and support a constitutional amendment banning it. The DVD reportedly contains claims about “the damage that same-sex marriage will do to families, especially children.” I am unaware of any way in which they (or any other opponent of LGBTQ rights) have been able to demonstrably prove such statements, but nevertheless they feel it’s worth a great deal of time and effort to spread that message.
But if the bishops are really looking to stop something that causes irreparable harm to a family, I can think of something that I’m certain is doing that kind of damage: the suicide of one of the family members, especially a child.
At the same time that the bishops are making same sex couples the supposed scapegoat for all that’s wrong with family life in the United States, there are a disturbing number of recent news stories of young teens who are or who are perceived to be gay committing suicide because they are being mercilessly bullied by their peers. The bullying and physical harm being done to them became so great, and the intervention of adults on their behalf so lacking, that they put an end to their lives rather than go another day experiencing such abuse.
A question I’d like to ask the bishops in Minnesota: what’s more important, trying to “save” an already unstable and constantly changing institution like marriage* with a bunch of DVDs, or doing everything we possibly can to ensure that no more youth lose their lives because of unchallenged homophobia? If “protecting families” is so very important, what are you and other religious leaders doing in order to show your concern to protect families from the pain of losing one of their members in a such a devastating (and preventable) way?