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Talking with your Legislator about Same-Gender Marriage: Catholics for Marriage Equality

  1. It is very important to identify yourself as a Catholic who supports marriage equality.
    • Talk a little about the role faith plays in your life.
    • If official Church teachings on homosexuality have influenced your beliefs at any time, be honest about that.
  2. Talk about why this issue is important to you.
    • Be honest and specific about your relationship to marriage equality. Are you a partner in a same-sex couple seeking equal civil protections for your relationship or your family? Are you the parent of a partnered lesbian or gay child, who wants the same civil protections for this child as for your other child(ren)’s relationships? Do you have a gay or lesbian sibling, and believe his or her committed relationship deserves civil recognition?
  3. Identify the values from Catholic tradition support your belief in civil marriage equality.
    • Did you come to your position based on a decision from an informed conscience? Does the Church’s tradition as a leader in social justice guide you? Is the equality of all of the people created and loved by God the main issue for you?
  4. Acknowledge your awareness that the bishops are organizing a campaign against marriage equality and why you feel it is important to represent another Catholic perspective on this issue.
    • Legislators often assume that the bishops are speaking for all Catholics, and are unaware of the diversity of opinions within the church on this civil matter.
    • How the Church handles sacramental marriage is within the legitimate purview of the bishops; however, as a citizen and a voter, your goal is to end legalized discrimination against lesbian and gay couples and our families and to promote equal protections for all families in civil matters.
  5. Thank the legislator (or staff person) for listening, and urge their support on matters of marriage equality. It is fine to ask how he/she (or the legislator) will vote on any pending legislation.
    • If the legislator is a supporter, thank her/him for being a leader on this issue, and acknowledge that you appreciate that others may challenge this position.
    • If the legislator expresses concerns, ask what they are, and try to address them. If the legislator raises issues you are not comfortable addressing, validate the concern, and let him or her know you will try to find someone who can address that issue. Get in touch with your state’s Marriage Equality organization to let them know about your conversation and the legislator’s question. Respond to the issue as soon as you are able, or let the legislator know who will be in touch.
  6. If the legislator has any questions for you, answer them as honestly as you can.

Note: DignityUSA’s website, www.dignityusa.org, has a number of resources, including A Call to Wed: Why Catholics Should Celebrate Same-Sex Marriage by Patricia Beattie Jung, and DignityUSA’s 2003 resolution in support of same-sex marriage.

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