Tom Suozzi is a neighbor of mine. We belong to the same gym. We run onto each other on the street. And, Tom being Tom, we talk politics. We don’t always agree.

One thing on which we did not always agree was marriage equality, which I have always favored both on equal protections grounds (lawyers think like this) and on the grounds of simple fairness and empathy.

Tom is a practicing Catholic and tried to balance his commitment to civil rights with demands of the Church. I get that. I went to Catholic School for 16 years (if you count University) myself.

Previously, Tom supported civil unions but not full marriage equality on the ground that it infringed upon freedom of religion. Today, he has an OpEd in the NYTimes wherein he comes out in full support of marriage equality.  Coming from a prominent Catholic, the arguments he advances so cogently may provide a comfort level for other persons of faith.

Here’s a bit from his piece:

WHEN I ran in the Democratic primary for governor against Eliot Spitzer in 2006, I vocally supported civil unions for same-sex couples but did not endorse equal marriage. I understood the need to provide equal rights for gays and lesbians, but as a practicing Catholic, I also felt that the state should not infringe on religious institutions’ right to view marriage in accordance with their own traditions. I thought civil unions for same-sex couples would address my concerns regarding both equality and religious liberty.

I was wrong.

(snip)    .               .               .               .               .              

I now support same-sex marriage. This is a subject of great debate before the New York State Legislature (although the legislators there are a little distracted right now), and I hope that same-sex civil marriage will be approved within the month.

(snip) .       .         .         .        

Many civil marriages are not considered "holy matrimony" by religious institutions because they do not conform to the rules of the religious institution. Those marriages have not challenged religious liberty. We must see that civil marriage, which has always been separate from religious marriage, will remain so.

But most important, gays and lesbians have suffered too long from legal discrimination, social marginalization and even violence. They are entitled to clear recognition of their equal status as citizens of a country that is founded on the principle that we are all inherently worthy. By delivering a clear message that same-sex couples can no longer be treated as separate and unequal in New York, we will also reduce discrimination in everyday life. We will all be better for that.

Amen to that.