Monday, September 21, 2009

New York’s archbishop Timothy Dolan: You can have companionship but not marriage

In New York Magazine, writer Robert Kolker has a profile of New York’s new archbishop, Timothy Dolan (pictured). Here's an excerpt where Dolan speaks about "defending" marriage:

Robert Kolker writes:
There is a narrow range of responses that contemporary Catholic leaders have made to a question like this—ranging from a 2006 conference of American bishops concluding that “homosexual acts … violate the true purpose of sexuality,” to the 1990 Catholic Encyclopedia’s declaration that being gay is “not a normal condition, the acts being against nature are objectively wrong.”

Dolan goes in another direction.

“I would say likewise hardwired into us is the desire for friendship and a desire for companionship,” he says. “And I think the church would say, ‘We must respect that.’ So we would not take that away from anybody, whatever their sexual preferences might be.”

Friendships of the sort that Dolan is describing—leaving aside any sexual component—are all right in his eyes, he explains, as long as they aren’t called a marriage. “We’re more into the defense of marriage itself,” he explains, “so that even though people would have the right to companionship, the right to marriage would only be, by its very definition, between a man and a woman.”

But now Dolan senses that he may have said something disappointing. So he strikes a conciliatory note. “It’s not that we’re saying, ‘You don’t have the right.’ We would say that if people feel that the concomitant rights of friendship and companionship are being violated—for instance, insurance coverage, or the ability of one to visit a sick partner—we would defend those rights. There are ways to ameliorate some of the disadvantages that same-sex couples feel without tampering with the very definition of marriage.”

That, I say, sounds a lot like domestic partnerships.

Dolan straightens up suddenly. “It does sound like that,” he says. “And thank you for pointing that out. Because I wouldn’t want to go there.” READ MORE.