Rhode Island State Senator Donna Nesselbush released a statement in response to the recent firing of Michael Templeton, the Music Director at the Church of St. Mary in Providence due to his same-sex marriage. Nesselbush was instrumental in getting marriage equality passed in the Senate.
“Sponsoring the marriage equality legislation in the Senate will always be my most cherished accomplishment in the Rhode Island Senate. I grew up staunchly Catholic, attending eight years of Catholic school at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. My father did not go to church every Sunday; he went every single day. Although Catholicism is in my bones and I will always be a Catholic at heart, I stopped going to church years ago after I realized I was gay. I never wanted to cause a problem, embarrass my family or the church and religion I love,” said Senator Nesselbush.
“The time, however, has come for me to speak out about the Catholic Church’s flawed view of gay marriage. The Church persists in placing ‘form over substance.’ I always say, we Christians should worry more about the quality of our love, rather than the gender of the person we love. I hear Pope Francis gently advancing this cause when he repeats the words of Jesus: ‘Who am I (the Pope) to judge,’ paraphrasing the well-known…’judge not lest we be judged.’ Interestingly, the parishioners at Saint Mary’s seem also to be upset, crying out for justice for their beloved music director, as I suspect most Catholics are. If the church stays true to the real teachings of Jesus, the answers are right there. Love is love, and love is all we need, not the Church’s rules and regulations that actually, ironically, belie Christianity,” added Senator Nesselbush.
In an excellent break-down of the story, Bob Shine of New Ways Ministry wrote, “The Diocese of Providence took over the administration of the parish from the Franciscan Friars two years ago. The administrative shift means the parish is now overseen more directly by Bishop Thomas Tobin, who has a very LGBT-negative record.”
This story will be updated if Tobin responds to a request for comment.