Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing

Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, is making headlines this week for asking for a change in the Catholic hierarchy’s anti-gay legacy. While speaking in Scotland, McAleese called for greater transparency within the Church.

“I don’t like my Church’s attitude to gay people. I don’t like, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that?”

The Catholic hierarchy's response to LGBT people has caused tremendous spiritual and even physical harm. Indeed, McAleese attributes intolerance toward gays and lesbians to the rise of youth suicides.

Everywhere lay Catholics like  McAleese are calling on their leaders to be true to their Catholic values to love better all of God's people. In the U.S., 54 percent of Catholics agree with McAleese, saying they believe Church leaders are out of touch with the views of Catholics. In pre-dominantly Catholic country like Ireland, 76 percent support marriage equality while across the Irish Sea, two-thirds of Scots, including 57 percent of Scottish Catholics, support marriage equality.

Though England and Wales passed a marriage equality bill in July, the fight for same-sex marriage continues in Ireland and Scotland continues. Though the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland oppose the legislation, there are many supportive religious leaders who support same-sex marriage in Scotland. And recently in Ireland, the Prime Minister came out in support of marriage equality, setting in motion the initial stages of a Spring 2015 referendum on same-sex marriage.

HRC is working to build a diverse faith-based movement speaking out for LGBT justice where no one will ever have to choose between who they are, whom they love, and what they believe, and is broadening awareness of the global equality movement. To learn more, visit our Religion and Faith and our Global Engagement resource sections. 

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