When thugs attacked flamboyant British eccentric Quentin Crisp [1908-1999] on the streets of pre-World War II London for being “a fag,” the gay icon famously quipped: “I seem to have annoyed you gentlemen in some way.”
New York’s same-sex marriage triumph should indicate that we’ve come a long way since then, but not even the law can budge some indoctrinated homophobes.
Tops on the curmudgeon list is Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, who greeted last week’s historic vote by accusing the state legislature of having “deconstructed the single most important institution in human history.”
The spiritual leader then tossed humility out of the stained-glass window and demanded that Catholic schools refuse any honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any other elected official who voted for the measure, and ordered all pastors and principals to boot state lawmakers from their parish and school celebrations.
The bully pulpit might have been more valid — though Jesus of Nazareth has yet to address same-sex orientation — if His Excellency hadn’t lost his grip on mankind’s oldest recurring problem: accommodating a person’s right to happiness.
“It is not a civil rights issue, but rather a human rights issue,” he stated, oblivious that one cannot exist without the other.
The statistics back up the bishop’s blind spot — a major contributing factor in the declining church membership so roundly documented in a 2008 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
“No other major faith in the U.S. has experienced greater net losses over the last few decades as a result of changes in religious affiliation than the Catholic Church,” the think tank reported.
A fleeing flock should be more worrisome to Bishop DiMarzio than a marriage between two people in love. Then, there’s also the issue of why — in this climate of self-governing morality — anyone would want to belong to a church that denies its faithful basic civil and human rights, including no contraception, no cohabitation with a non-spousal partner, no abortion and no same-sex partnerships, while demanding an unwavering devotion to a rigorous earthly holy order?
Same-sex relationships could never be as immoral as pedophile priests, who were granted a free pass by DiMarzio in 2009 when he successfully battled against changing the statute of limitations on child-abuse suits because he claimed it would bankrupt dioceses, and — ironically in hindsight — make elected officials the bait of angry constituents.
The good bishop should stick to his job of attracting more followers to the Catholic Church and leading them to God, instead of meddling in state affairs: In June 2009, The New York Times reported that DiMarzio allegedly “entered into a pact” with Brooklyn power broker Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Williamsburg), removing a priest as head of a Brooklyn civic group at loggerheads with the lawmaker, who then wrote a competing bill that would ensure the statute remained intact.
Memo to Bishop DiMarzio: Same-sex marriage is most definitely an issue of both civil and human rights, and New York has looked beyond the poppycock to make countless people extremely happy. Isn’t that the point of life, whatever your religion?