Pelosi is Not the Pope: Rubio is Right on Marriage

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (photo credit: US Department of Labor via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (photo credit: US Department of Labor via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

In a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Marco Rubio took a firm stance on his views on same-sex marriage. Rubio expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage and contended that there is a clear and present danger to Christians who defend traditional marriage based on their faith since those behind the same-sex marriage rhetoric nowadays refer to traditional marriage supporters as homophobes and characterize those beliefs as hate speech:

“After they [same-sex marriage supporters] are done going after individuals, the next step is to argue that the teachings of mainstream Christianity, the catechism of the Catholic Church, is hate speech. That’s a real and present danger,” Rubio said.

After Rubio’s interview, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared on “MSNBC Live” attacking Marco Rubio’s ‘failed’ Catholic faith, arguing that based on her “mainstream catholic” faith and upbringing, Rubio’s position was intolerant and against our nation’s direction on the issue. She then went even further, asserting Pope Francis would not subscribe to Rubio’s faith-based position towards marriage:

I thoroughly disagree, being raised in a Catholic family, raising a Catholic family, mainstream Catholic – well, the Baltimore catechism, to get back to our hometown of Baltimore, was what we were raised on. And I think that this statement by Senator Rubio is most unfortunate. It’s a polarizing statement. The fact is, is that what we’re taught was to respect people in our faith and to say that this endangers mainstream Christian thinking is so completely wrong.

And, again, it’s polarizing and I would hope that – perhaps he believes what he says, and I assume that he does – but I hope that we can persuade him differently because the country is going in a completely different direction now. And it’s very, very exciting. I don’t even think that Pope Francis would subscribe to what Marco Rubio just said.

Last week, RealClearPolitics ran a story questioning whose vote Marco Rubio was seeking after his earlier expressions on the issue, since according to a Pew Research poll, 57 percent of American Catholics favor gay marriage:

A 2014 report by the Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of Catholics favor gay marriage, up 11 points from four years earlier. In fact, a higher percentage of Catholics back same-sex marriage than the 52 percent of the U.S. population as a whole that supports it. Among Hispanics (who, as of 2013, made up one-third of all Catholics in the United States), more Catholics back gay marriage than oppose it by a margin of at least 15 percentage points, with the percentage of supporters falling between 49 and 62 in various surveys. In New England, the upper Midwest, and the Southwest—where Catholics form the largest religious group—same-sex marriage is already legal.

Although this debate has generated a great deal of controversy and confusion, the Catholic Church’s position on the issue has never been clearer. For example, in the most high-profile recent statement made by an official of the Church, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin called Ireland’s vote in favor of same-sex marriage a “defeat for humanity.

With these words, it is evident that the Vatican’s position regarding family and marriage is in complete harmony with Marco Rubio’s stance. Thus, this raises the question of what kind of Catholicism Nancy Pelosi is referring to when she says she was raised in a “mainstream catholic family” and when she expresses a totally opposite view on marriage than the one the Catholic Church professes. Also, one wonders why some people tend to take every word a candidate expresses on an issue as ‘vote-baiting’ while discounting the possibility of a sincere expression of faith.

Comparing the statements made by both Marco Rubio and Nancy Pelosi, it is clear who is and is not diverging from their Church’s position.  When Pope Francis comes to visit Congress in September, it seems unlikely Rubio will have any difficulty explaining his Catholicism and his position on the marriage issue. As for Pelosi? Well, that’s another story.

Carlos Mercader is Deputy Director of American Principles in Action’s Latino Partnership.