Peter Wehner writes in his Commentary Magazine blog:
Senator Barack Obama has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages–a decision that was forced on the citizens of California by the state’s Supreme Court. In a letter expressing his support for extending “fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law,” Obama wrote that he opposes “the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”
Why is it that Obama, who promises to be “post-polarizing” figure, is using this issue to attack the motivations and integrity of those with whom he disagrees? This is the embodiment of the kind of politics we were told Obama stands against. If Obama believes same-sex unions are the right position, let him make his arguments. But to portray those who want to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage–particularly in response to an imperial court’s efforts to reshape our culture–as “divisive and discriminatory” is itself divisive and deeply unfair. It is an effort to sideline an important discussion of the issue by branding the advocates of traditional marriage as bigoted.
Will Jim Wallis and Doug Kmiec come to the defense of their fellow Evangelicals and Catholics whose intellectual and moral integrity Senator Obama has impuned? The Rev. Wallis and Professor Kmiec, both of whom support the senator's candidacy, claim to embrace Catholic Social Thought. But Senator Obama just claimed that an integral aspect of Catholic Social Thought is a deliverance of a bigoted mind. By inference, Senator Obama is claiming that Pope John Paul II was, and Pope Benedict XVI is, a bigot. For this is what Benedict XVI wrote (when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) under the papacy of John Paul II:
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided. This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment. (note omitted)
Yesterday, Senator Obama said that he would not call into question anyone's patriotism in his campaign for the presidency. But, apparently, this spirit of charity does not extend to those who believe that it is their moral duty to support male-female marriage in their communities because it advances the common good. As Cardinal Ratzinger put it:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (emphases added)
Thus, according to Senator Obama, if you are a faithful Catholic who embraces her Christian duty to advance the common good in the state of California, you are a bigot. But if you run against him for the presidency, he won't challenge your patriotism. How magnanimous of him.