Catholics did “not seek to impose by law their moral view on other members of society.”
I will not be surprised if more than a few bishops and priests ultimately end up compromising on same sex marriage/civil unions just as some of their their predecessors had done on the issue of conscience and contraception - ignoring Humanae Vitae.
I have good reason to say that. However, for those who may not be aware of the concessions made by Catholic leadership in the past, the NY Times has an interesting op ed on the issue titled: Cardinal Cushing, Catholics and Contraception: 1968:
It was not until the 1960s that reformers next attempted to amend the state’s birth control restrictions. Even then, Dukakis recalls, “the memory of the ’48 battle was fresh in our minds.” That seems to have been also true for Cushing (now a cardinal). He clearly had a change of heart on the appropriateness of laws like the state’s birth control restrictions, which sought to impose moral behavior at odds with individual conscience. More generally, he had adopted a conciliatory tone. Two days before a fellow Massachusetts Catholic won the first primary of the 1960 presidential campaign, Cushing argued that a Christian must engage in “friendly discussion with those whose views of life and its meaning are different than his own.” The times had changed, and so had he.
In 1963, while a guest on WEEI radio, Cushing took a question from an unidentified female caller who asked if he considered the birth control ban to be “bad law.” Yes, Cushing replied. “I have no right to impose my thinking, which is rooted in religious thought, on those who do not think as I do.” (The anonymous caller, I discovered decades later, was Hazel Sagoff, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. A month earlier she had learned from a Cushing confidant that support for the state’s ban was dwindling within the local church hierarchy.) It was the first time that the cardinal publicly announced a willingness to accept revisions to the state’s contraception law.
Poor health prevented Cushing from appearing before the legislative panel considering the Dukakis bill in March 1965, but he dominated the hearing nonetheless. In a written statement he declared that “Catholics do not need the support of civil law to be faithful to their own religious convictions and they do not seek to impose by law their moral views on others of society.” He found it unreasonable to “forbid in civil law a practice that can be considered a matter of private morality.” What’s more, he observed, laws needed a “reasonable correspondence” to community standards to be effective and enforceable. Cushing, however, could not endorse the proposed change to the ban, because he felt that it lacked “proper safeguards” for the young. He requested that Gov. John Volpe appoint a commission to craft a repeal to “satisfy the conscientious opinions of the whole community.”
When a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe birth control to “any married person” was introduced in the next legislative session — a bill otherwise similar to the one House members had rejected 119–97 the year before — Cushing endorsed it publicly by praising its “safeguards” while reaffirming his position that Catholics did “not seek to impose by law their moral view on other members of society.” - Seth Meehan
Catholic Bishops will most likely win the HHS Contraception Coverage Mandate battle - but it will just be a bone tossed to them in an election year. The big one - Same Sex Marriage battle will rage on, wearing down the opposition, until it is once again conceded: “Catholics do not need the support of civil law to be faithful to their own religious convictions and they do not seek to impose by law their moral views on others of society.”
I think some dioceses are almost there now.
Hopefully, I'm wrong.