Back in 2008 a stranger came knocking on our door in Dayton, Ohio.  I wasn’t for sure if it was a door-to-door salesman or a proselytizer, but nonetheless I answered the door.  A polite woman handed me a brochure and stated she was  running for re-election for Dayton city commissioner.  Her name was Nan Whaley. As she walked away down the sidewalk,  I finally realized two things: 1) Her brochure proudly proclaimed her a member of Corpus Christi parish in Dayton, and 2) she was a Democrat.  These two conflicting allegiances caught my eye and I really wanted to know how she could possibly reconcile the two.  (I’m sorry, but being a Catholic Democrat, is like being a Jewish Nazi.  It doesn’t make any damn sense.) I sorely regretted missing the opportunity to call Ms. Whaley out while I had her standing on my front porch. (If you come back through the Belmont neighborhood this year, Nan, I’m waiting for you!)  Since that incident, I always wanted to give Ms. Whaley the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she shared the views of folks like the Democratic former Georgia Senator Zell Miller and only had mere nostalgia for the Democratic party of JFK.  I was wrong for giving Ms. Whaley the benefit of the doubt, and the following reason makes it clear why.

Last week the Dayton City Commission, which is facing incredible challenges, found the time to take up a proposed ordinance to establish a “domestic partnership registry” for unmarried couples without regard to sexual orientation.  Since it doesn’t take into consideration sexual orientation, and while it is definitely targeted to the local homosexual community, the ordinance nonetheless has the flexibility to be utilized to register one’s concubines as well. Very progressive!  The ordinance passed the city commission unanimously, which of  course, included Ms. Whaley’s vote of support.

While the commission took up the issue, Ms. Whaley (who is in a reelection year), was able to get some quotes into the Dayton Daily News( Link #1; Link #2) saying the ordinance is an effort to make Dayton:

 “more open to everyone. The biggest piece of this is how Dayton can be welcoming to all people.”

“We want to be open for business for all kinds of people,” she said.

When the ordinance was passed, Ms. Whaley stated:

“This is another step in making Dayton as welcoming as possible to all people…”

The Dayton Daily News stated that eleven people — all supporters of the ordinance — spoke to the commission, praising the commissioners for taking up the matter.  No one spoke against the ordinance. (Calling archbishop… come in archbishop…APB for local archbishop…calling all cars...)

Regardless of whether the local archdiocese was MIA, someone did show up to the meeting to provide the commission a mainline Protestant perspective:

“This is a matter for our government,” said the Rev. Dr. Rodney Kennedy, pastor of the First Baptist Church in downtown. “This is not about the Bible … It is about how we treat each other.”

Dayton joins five other misguided municipalities in Ohio who have similar ordinances:  Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Toledo, Athens and Yellow Springs.

The people of Ohio weighed in on this matter in 2004, when a ballot measure  (Issue 1) that amended the Ohio Constitution was approved to make it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. The referendum was approved by 62% of the voters.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI advised that Catholic politicians must oppose (he used the words “not negotiable”) the kinds of ordinance’s being supported and championed by Ms. Whaley:

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

[1] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;[2] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

[3] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have.

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