KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A prominent newspaper for Roman Catholics led by independent laymen has named two of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court’s “gay marriage” case that was ruled upon in 2015 as being among their “persons of the year.”
“For their historic roles as plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges and for their faithful public witness as gay Catholics, we name Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon NCR’s persons of the year for 2015,” writes the National Catholic Reporter, based out of Kansas City, Missouri, in an editorial published on Monday.
The two men, 58 and 57, have been in a relationship for 33 years and have attended Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in St. Matthews, Kentucky for 28 of those years. They are raising two teenage children together, and told reporters this week that they will not leave their congregation because “you don’t change anything by leaving something.”
After the state of Kentucky did not recognize their “marriage” after they traveled to Canada in 2004 for a ceremony, they filed suit to challenge Kentucky’s constitutional amendment that was passed that same year recognizing marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. Their complaint was among those that was accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In addition to lauding Bourke and DeLeon for their roles in the court case, the piece in the National Catholic Reporter advocates for greater acceptance of homosexuals within the Roman Catholic religion and in society in general.
“Changing the law was a one-time event. Change comes to peoples and communities slowly,” the article states. “As ordinary people — and one hopes Catholic bishops — come to know more people in same-sex marriages, hearts and minds will change. Acceptance will replace fear.”
The editors further note that Bourke not allowed to lead his local Boy Scout troop this summer after his local parish decided to retain its ban on homosexual leaders following the Boy Scouts’ decision to change its leadership policy.
“NCR is already on record advocating for church personnel policies that ensure that employees can enter into legal, civil marriages without fear of losing their jobs,” the article states. “Today, we address a more fundamental issue: How will we as a church live with our gay, lesbian and transgender brothers and sisters? We are past the time of ‘love the sinner’ platitudes.”
The National Catholic Reporter outlines its liberal leanings on the “mission and values” page of its website, stating that it is “the only significant alternative Catholic voice that provides avenues for expression of diverse perspectives, promoting tolerance and respect for differing ideas.”
“NCR is a religious news source with worldly interests, and though a large amount of its reporting deals with issues of the Catholic church, an equal amount of its coverage is a marriage of the religious, political and social forces shaping public policies and institutions,” it writes. “We are concerned for all people and we are committed to shaping a world that recognizes the dignity of every human being, regardless of religious belief, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other characteristics.”
The publication further claims that it balances “integrity and sensitivity, keeping an editorial vision that is both prophetic and reconciling — discerning the work of God’s Spirit and also aware of human limitations.”