Catholic deacon presiding at a lesbian wedding in Mississippi?

Catholic deacon presiding at a lesbian wedding in Mississippi? August 21, 2015


This popped up in my newsfeed this morning: part of a profile of writer, stand-up comic and cancer survivor Tig Notaro—who, not insignificantly, happens to be gay. She’s also about to get married to her longtime girlfriend, Stephanie:

When Stephanie comes up, Tig’s face softens and she can’t help but smile. “We’re inseparable,” she says. “I’m never sick of that person.” She avoids the word fiancée because it sounds hoity-toity, but she’s pretty psyched about the word wife. They’re currently planning a wedding in Tig’s hometown of Pass Christian, Mississippi. More accurately, Stephanie and her mother are planning it with the help of Tig’s 50-something-year-old male cousins. Tig’s job is just to sign off on things like invites and the band.

Her family is completely on board, including the Catholic deacon cousin who’s agreed to marry them. “They’re like, This is going to be the biggest thing to hit the Gulf Coast since Katrina!” she jokes. She guesses it will be the first lesbian wedding to go down in Pass Christian. “They’re so proud,” she says of her family. “They want it in the local paper. They’re very much: It’s time for change.”

Tig says her sexuality has never been a thing, even in the small-town South, which she admits is “totally amazing.” Several members of her extended family appear inTig. “I was telling Stephanie, you know, essentially my family is in a gay movie. The town’s in the movie. It’s a gay movie. They couldn’t be prouder. Everyone was like, ‘We watched the movie! The way you depicted the town was awesome!’ It’s just not an issue.”

“Her family is completely on board, including the Catholic deacon cousin who’s agreed to marry them…”  

I suspect the Diocese of Biloxi might be interested in hearing more about that.

To clear up any confusion, there’s this document:

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.

The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. 

A couple years ago, Ed Peters looked at the canonical issues involved, and his first point has direct bearing on this story:

The Archdiocese of Seattle has published four ‘policy refresher’ points regarding Catholic ministration in regard to “gay weddings”. Here are Seattle’s policies in bold and my suggestions as to underlying rationales for same in regular print.

1. No priest or deacon or lay minister may officiate at a same-sex “marriage.”

Before a wedding is conducted, “it must be evident that nothing stands in the way of its valid or licit celebration” (c. 1066).  Canon law defines marriage as the union of a man and a women (c. 1055 § 1). Because marriage cannot arise between two men or two women, something obviously “stands in the way” of the valid and licit performing a “gay wedding”. QED. By the way, Catholic officials who attempt nevertheless to perform such “weddings” are liable to punishment under Canon 1389 § 1 for abuse of office.

Photo via Wikipedia

Browse Our Archives