Robert George, founder of the American Principles Project and Chairman Emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage, said that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shouldn’t be considered a Catholic because he signed marriage equality into law. In an interview with Kathryn Lopez of the National Review, George also attacks Gov. Cuomo for living with but not marrying his companion Sandra Lee, saying that “no one takes him to be a serious Catholic” and that he “flouts his Catholic principles.” Using George’s logic, more than half of Catholics in America would not be “real Catholics” because they favor marriage equality.
LOPEZ: How significant is it that this governor is Catholic?
GEORGE: Is he? There are many devout Protestants and even Jews and Muslims whose moral beliefs and practices are far more closely in line with Catholic teachings than Andrew Cuomo’s are. Andrew’s father’s views and policies gave scandal (as Catholics use that term) precisely because people took him to be a serious Catholic. No one is scandalized by Andrew’s beliefs or conduct because no one takes him to be a serious Catholic, that is, a Catholic who is serious enough about his faith to live by its tenets. Indeed, he quite publicly flouts Catholic principles, and doesn’t even seem to wrestle with it or be anguished about it, as his father at least liked to give the appearance of being. In word and deed, he has made it clear that he simply does not believe what Catholicism teaches about sexual morality and marriage. There is no reason to suppose that he regards the Catholic Church as having the authority to teach definitively on these issues or anything else. If there is a sense in which he is a Catholic, it does not involve believing what the Catholic Church teaches or even that the Catholic Church has any authority to teach. So I don’t see Cuomo’s Catholicism as a significant part of this story. He doesn’t even pretend to be serious enough about it to make anyone care or even take much notice.