Thirty-some years ago, my parish priest said, “I fail to see how a just and loving God could create an entire group of people and tell them they could not love, be loved and show their love. Gays are as God made them.”

However, there’s always been difficulty accepting “the other.” It took a civil war to free blacks from slavery and decades to gain equal rights, yet it was God who made them black.

Women in the U.S. gained the vote in the 1920s, but discrimination in the workplace was legal until 1972. Women elsewhere in the world are still “the other,” denied an education and basic rights.

Today it’s our gay sons and daughters who fight for acceptance. Why should they have to hide who they are, live in a closet? Increasingly, the priests I know today say the same thing.

Gays are as God made them. Pope Francis asks, “Who am I to judge?” Indeed.

Jane Merchant