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Catholic candidates support gay-marriage ruling

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    Mon, Dec. 01, 2003 Catholic candidates support gay-marriage ruling Statements defy directives from Vatican, spark talk of penalties WILLIAM LOBDELL AND TERESA
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2003
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      Mon, Dec. 01, 2003

      Catholic candidates support gay-marriage ruling
      Statements defy directives from Vatican, spark talk of penalties
      WILLIAM LOBDELL AND TERESA WATANABE
      Los Angeles Times

      The three Catholics in the Democratic presidential primary quickly
      issued statements supporting the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling
      last week that same-sex couples have the right to marry.

      Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and
      retired Gen. Wesley Clark made the announcements despite two Vatican
      directives this year to Roman Catholic officeholders never to promote
      laws that endorse gay marriage.

      Such flouting of church doctrine led U.S. bishops last month to begin
      exploring penalties for officeholders who defy the church. It would be
      the first time the U.S. church threatened to discipline individual
      politicians.

      "This is a miracle," said Judie Brown, president of the American Life
      League, a Catholic-influenced anti-abortion group based in Virginia.
      "It takes seriously the problem of pro-choice Catholic politicians."

      Punishments could range from bans on speaking appearances at Catholic
      institutions to excommunication.

      Politicians under fire from orthodox factions include Sen. Edward
      Kennedy, D-Mass.; Republican Gov. George Pataki of New York;
      California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Rep. Nancy
      Pelosi, D-Calif., the House minority leader.

      "I get tired of hearing Catholic politicians say, `I am personally
      opposed to abortion ... but I can't impose my moral standards on
      everybody else,' " Bishop Joseph Galante of Dallas said last month at
      the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

      Politicians, were they to remain faithful to key Catholic teachings,
      would have to oppose abortion, capital punishment, birth control, the
      war in Iraq and sex outside marriage.

      But a recent ABC News-Washington Post poll showed Catholic opinion to
      be far more liberal, including the finding that 67 percent of
      respondents said premarital sex is OK.

      "Very few American Catholics strictly follow all of the Vatican's
      positions, and these persons are quite willing to excuse
      Catholic-identifying politicians for doing the same," said Mark Rozell,
      chairman of the political science department at Catholic University of
      America in Washington, D.C.
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