By Linda Heidenreich, associate professor, Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies
In June, upon returning from some much-needed time with family, I caught up with my email only to find a letter from our parish priest denouncing the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision that made same-sex marriage legal. He made two troubling claims: that the Obergefell decision overturned a “millennia of human wisdom” regarding marriage, and that church teaching is “unchanging.”
As a practicing Catholic, a gender-queer person in a same-sex marriage of 24 years (by grace, not by institution), and as a trained and practicing historian, my mind quickly went from “But that is just not so” to “With so many similar claims being made on the part of our pastors, perhaps those of us who study history need to speak up.”
It is critical that those of us within the church who know the long view of history share that long view with the faithful. That view reveals slow change in the civil status of marriage toward recognizing the dignity of women, as well as a slow change in church teaching toward recognizing the dignity of the human person.