Gay, Catholic, and American
My Legal Battle for Marriage Equality and Inclusion
220 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 , 16 b&w illustrations
Paperback | 9780268201241 | September 2021
Hardcover | 9780268201234 | September 2021
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268201258 | September 2021
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268201227 | September 2021
Catholic Greg Bourke's profoundly moving memoir about growing up gay and overcoming discrimination in the battle for same-sex marriage in the US.
In this compelling and deeply affecting memoir, Greg Bourke recounts growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, and living as a gay Catholic. The book describes Bourke’s early struggles for acceptance as an out gay man living in the South during the 1980s and ’90s, his unplanned transformation into an outspoken gay rights activist after being dismissed as a troop leader from the Boy Scouts of America in 2012, and his historic role as one of the named defendants in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. After being ousted by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), former Scoutmaster Bourke became a leader in the movement to amend antigay BSA membership policies. The Archdiocese of Louisville, because of its vigorous opposition to marriage equality, blocked Bourke’s return to leadership despite his impeccable long-term record as a distinguished boy scout leader. But while making their home in Louisville, Bourke and his husband Michael De Leon have been active members at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church for more than three decades, and their family includes two adopted children who attended Lourdes school and were brought up in the faith. Over many years and challenges, this couple has managed to navigate the choppy waters of being openly gay while integrating into the fabric of their parish life community. Bourke is unapologetically Catholic, and his faith provides the framework for this inspiring story of how the Bourke De Leon family struggled to overcome antigay discrimination by both the BSA and the Catholic Church and fought to legalize same-sex marriage across the country.
Gay, Catholic, and American is an illuminating account that anyone, no matter their ideological orientation, can read for insight. It will appeal to those interested in civil rights, Catholic social justice, and LGBTQ inclusion.
Greg Bourke has had a long corporate career in information technology and management. He currently works as a health economist. Bourke and his husband Michael De Leon were named 2015 Persons of the Year by the National Catholic Reporter and have been active in establishing LGBTQ alumni networks at the University of Notre Dame, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, and other organizations.
“Greg Bourke’s story is one of perseverance and tenacity, of refusing to settle for less and daring to dream big. LGBT Catholics and those who desire more welcoming institutions will be encouraged and inspired by reading this book.” —Michael J. O’Loughlin, national correspondent for America: The Jesuit Review
"Greg Bourke’s memoir combines his and his family’s journey with the paths taken by the federal judiciary toward marriage equality, his local Catholic Church toward a warm embrace of gay and lesbian couples, and the Boy Scouts toward acceptance of openly gay scoutmasters. All heartwarming stories told with charity toward all, malice toward none." —William Eskridge, Jr., author of Equality Practice
“Gay, Catholic, and American is a delightfully written journey of a fellow Notre Dame gay alum. I am proud to have played a small part in his journey calling for equal rights for the LGBTQ Catholic community.” —Jack Bergen, ND ’77, past chair of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College
“Recounting confrontations with the Catholic Church to the Boy Scouts and then fighting the State of Kentucky all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, Gay, Catholic, and American is the powerful story of a man and his family fighting tirelessly for positive change rooted in their belief in the fullness of charity.” —Jim Obergefell, co-author of Love Wins
"Gay, Catholic, and American reads as a modern “passion” story—it is a familial and compelling story of two faith-filled men and their two children who tasted life’s bitter-sweet moments in their unrelenting pursuit of justice, trusting in the power of faith to guide their journey and seeking to make fullness and completion in God’s charity palpable in our country. This story witnesses the triumph of love and perseverance." —Miguel Humberto Díaz , former United States Ambassador to the Holy See
"Gay, Catholic, and American is a richly detailed memoire of Gregory Bourke’s life. Throughout, the reader is struck by Bourke’s conciliatory attitude toward his opponents, his unassuming tone, and his humility — despite an impressive list of accomplishments and accolades." —Joseph Mello, author of The Courts, the Ballot Box, and Gay Rights