Tag Archives: queer families

The Queer Holy Family and the Return from Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15,19-23)

The Sunday after Christmas is traditionally celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Family – an occasion which all too often is used in homilies as an excuse to commend the modern nuclear family – thereby leaving the substantial proportion of Catholics who are single, divorced, married but childless, gay, lesbian, trans or otherwise queer distinctly excluded. How are LGBT people of faith to respond to this, how can we truly participate in a great feast which so leaves us excluded?

I have reflected on this twice before. The first time, in “Christ’s Queer Family”, I noted that the Biblical Holy Family was not, as it is usually presented, an example of the “traditional” family beloved of the Christian right, but in fact has much more in common with queer families.

holy-family-with-st-john-the-baptist-297x3001 Continue reading The Queer Holy Family and the Return from Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15,19-23)

Another Red State Victory for Queer Families

Step by step, queer families are seeing moves to full recognition, even in American red states (and in church). The latest in victory in Idaho follows court decisions in Utah and Oklahoma to strike down the states’ constitutional ban on gay marriage, and the decision by Nevada’s Republican governor not to defend his state’s ban. A challenge to the gay marriage ban in Texas is in court this week, and court challenges under way in a further 19 states.
There is progress too in many churches, including the Catholics: Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, is just the latest in an expanding list of senior bishops who have opposed full marriage equality, but suggested civil unions as an alternative.
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Idaho’s top court grants adoptive rights to spouse in gay marriage 

Idaho’s top court on Monday ruled that state law allows a woman to adopt the children of her same-sex spouse, in a precedent-setting victory for gay couples in a socially conservative U.S. state that has banned the unions.
idaho rainbow
The ruling stems from an adoption petition filed last year by an Idaho woman shortly after her marriage in California to her same-sex partner, the parent of boys ages 12 and 15, legal records showed.
The woman, unidentified in court documents on confidentiality grounds related to adoption, sought to share parental rights with her long-term partner. She appealed a magistrate judge’s rejection of her petition.
The Idaho Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision reversing the lower court’s ruling, said a person’s gender or sexual orientation was not part of the legal criteria that allowed a minor to be adopted by an in-state adult resident.
“Any adult person” is defined as any human being over the age of 18 and “cannot possibly be construed to mean ‘any married adult person’ as the magistrate ultimately determined,” Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones wrote for the court.
– continue reading at  Reuters.
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Irish Government begin bid to allow same-sex couples to adopt

From “TheJournal.ie”:

JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter has, today, published the General Scheme of the long-anticipated Children and Family Relationships Bill.

The proposed legislation, which would clarify the legal status of children in in civil partnerships, surrogacy arrangements and assisted human reproduction, will now go forward for discussion at Oireachtas committee level.

The new laws will allow civil partners to jointly adopt a child for the first time.According to the Minister, this measure “removes the current anomaly where single lesbian and gay individuals can adopt children, but civil partners cannot jointly adopt”.

Today’s law relating to adoption provides for the adoption of children by married couples and by single persons (irrespective of their sexual orientation), but not jointly by civil partners.
 Shatter has asked the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality – in conjunction with members of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children – to undertake a consultation process on his proposals for the Bill.
The cross-party TDs and Senators will have until Easter to furnish any observations to his department before the outlined proposals which, according to the Minister, “seek to put in place a modern legal architecture to underpin family situations”.
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High Court orders Israel to recognize gay adoption of child born through surrogacy

 At the same time court rejects gay adoption in case where neither man proved biological connection to child.
Man with baby born to surrogate mother. Photo: REUTERS
  The High Court of Justice on Tuesday night, by a split 5-2 vote, ordered the state to recognize the gay adoption of a child born through surrogacy, including registering both the biological father and his partner as fathers of the child. Simultaneously, the High Court rejected 7-0 the request of another gay couple for recognition of their right to gay adoption. Related: Health Ministry advocates allowing gay couples to use surrogate mothers Both gay couples based their claim on a birth certificate and declaration from the US that they are the child’s parents. The difference between the two cases is that the court granted the request from the gay couple after it underwent genetic testing to prove the biological connection to at least one of the men, while the couple whose request was denied did not do genetic testing.
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Gay couples in Portugal win limited adoption rights

 Portugal’s parliament on Friday handed same-sex couples the right to adopt the children or foster children of one partner, a partial victory for equality campaigners that fell short of their call for full adoption rights.

 

The co-adoption law scraped through with a majority of just five votes in the 230-seat Lisbon assembly, prompting long applause from the gallery. Nine deputies abstained and as many as 28 did not show up for the vote.
Activists hailed the biggest step forward for gay rights since Portugal became the eighth country to allow nationwide same-sex marriages in 2010, breaking with the Catholic nation’s predominantly conservative image.
“It was a super-important, fundamental approval as it concerns the human rights of the children and not just the couples,” said Paulo Corte-Real, head the country’s gay, lesbian and transgender rights association, ILGA.

 

He said the law would benefit children raised by same-sex couples by giving the children additional protection if their original parent died or became seriously ill.
Catholic Church leaders have opposed moves by some European countries to allow same-sex unions and adoption by gay couples, saying heterosexual marriage has an indispensable role in society.
France, which is mainly Catholic, last month followed 13 countries including Canada, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Uruguay and New Zealand in allowing gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot. The French law also authorized adoption.
The Portuguese bill, presented on the International Day Against Homophobia, still needs to be signed into law by conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who enacted the same-sex marriage bill in 2010 but expressed his disapproval.
Another bill introduced by two left-wing parties that would have extended full adoption rights to gay couples failed to pass on Friday.
The ILGA took the Portuguese state to court after the European Court for Human Rights ruled in February that Austria’s adoption laws discriminated against gay people on the issue of co-adoption.
 Reuters:
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Let Us Remember, March 19th: St Joseph

Saint Joseph is frequently presented as a model of fatherhood. For LGBT Catholics and other Christians however, he is also a powerful symbol of just how little the Holy Family resembled the model  of “traditional” marriage and family to easily touted by those seeking to twist the clear evidence of scripture to force it into their own heteronormative model of family.

 Rather, Christ’s family was distinctly queer, as I have written previously for the Feast of the Holy Family:

This week, (that is, the week after Christmas) the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family – so often an occasion of trial for those Catholics who are not living in officially approved families of Mom, Pop, kids, pets and picket fence. Subjected year after year to the same -old, same-old shallow sermons on the joys of family life, single people, the divorced, childless couples and queer Catholics can easily find that this Sunday is a very pointed reminder of how easily and thoughtlessly we can be excluded from the Church community. Most of the standard preaching on the Holy Family though is entirely misguided – the true nature of the Holy Family is very far from a celebration of the modern, but inappropriately named,  “traditional family” .

Not a “Traditional Family” (Raphael)

Two items that came to me this week reminded me of this. My colleague Martin Pendergast sent me a link to the Holy Family reflection by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, with the observation

We had a good Pastoral Letter from +Vincent Nichols for The Feast of the Holy Family – no ‘family-values’ ranting, thank God!

Martin is right. Although there are the usual references to children, there is no prescriptive definition of “family”. It is perfectly possibly for those who need it, to read this statement as inclusive of families of all kinds. There is is also an important expansion of the concept of family, one that has important implications for the community of the church, and for those of us who for one reason or another feel on the margins of the church family:

The family of the Church, too, has a deep, human wisdom to share. It is intertwined with the stories of our families. St Paul describes so much of it in that second reading we have heard. Today we think about how to share and build our family wisdom. By doing this we strengthen the very foundations of our society. We need time together. We need to listen to each other’s experience. We then come to appreciate the wisdom that is part of our family tradition, something to be passed on in love.

All the members of a family also need to practice respect for each other. Yes, we respect each other in our differences. We may rejoice in those differences. At the same time we strive to keep up a shared standard of behaviour.

Christ’s Queer Family

 

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Catholic adoption agency loses five year legal battle over gay adoption

A Catholic adoption agency was told today it cannot turn away gay couples if its wants to keep its charitable status in a landmark court ruling.

Defeated: A Catholic adoption agency has been told it cannot turn away gay couples if its wants to keep its charitable status (file photo)

The case is particularly unique because it sets the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church against European law.

Catholic Care, a voluntary adoption agency based in Leeds, asked the Upper Tribunal to sanction its refusal to recognise same-sex couples as potential adopters and to restrict its services to ‘Nazarene families’ of father, mother and child.

‘Nazarene families’ refers to Jesus of Nazareth, who was fathered by a man, Joseph, and a woman, Mary.

But the Charity Commission fought the case every inch of the way, insisting that the charity’s stance is ‘divisive, capricious and arbitrary’ and ‘demeaning’ to the dignity of homosexual couples whose parenting abilities are ‘beyond question’.

Today the Commission won the debate when the tribunal ruled that Catholic Care had failed to come up with ‘weighty and convincing reasons’ why it should be allowed to discriminate against gay couples on grounds of their sexual orientation.

The long-established adoption agency said during the case that it would be forced to close if it lost the dispute.

Catholic Care argued its work in finding new homes for ‘hard to place’ children is of enormous social value and saves the public purse about £10 million-a-year by removing youngsters from the care system and placing them with adopters.

If banned from only recognising married heterosexual couple as potential adopters, it argued children would be the losers as its funding through Church collections and other voluntary donations would inevitably dry up and it would have to close.

However, Emma Dixon, for the Commission, told tribunal judge, Mr Justice Sales, that Catholic Care’s stance was in clear violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws discrimination on sexual orientiation and other grounds.

-more at  Mail Online.

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