By Eric Tegethoff
Washington News Service
SEATTLE – Pope Francis got the attention on Friday of the nearly one in five Washingtonians who practice the Roman Catholic faith with the release of a document called “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love.”
In the document, Francis asks priests and bishops to be more lenient of people who have divorced and are looking to remarry.
However, Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, a Catholic organization committed to LGBT equality, says she isn’t pleased with the pope’s message that same sex marriage is not equal to other kinds of marriage.
“There’s no recognition of the value of our relationships, no sense of grace that can be in them, and it talks about families having LGBT members as essentially having to deal with a burden,” she points out.
Francis released “The Joy of Love” – his second exhortation since becoming pope – after meeting with the world’s Catholic bishops last October.
Duddy-Burke maintains there is a widening gap between what Catholics believe and the leaders of the Church teach when it comes to LGBT rights. However, she says there are a growing number of leaders who are open to changes in order to be more accepting.
“If they continue to listen and if more bishops agree to enter into dialogue and really listen to our experiences, I think that’s where the change will come from,” she states.
The release of this document has coincided with battles in U.S. states over LGBT rights.
Last week, Mississippi signed into law a religious freedom bill that allows organizations not to serve members of the LGBT community.
In response, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has banned non-essential travel to Mississippi for Washington state employees.