Since his nomination as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine’s Roman Catholic faith has been scrutinized, especially after his recent predictions that the Catholic Church will eventually support gay marriage, and his call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a law banning federal funding for abortions.
According to the Associated Press, during the Human Rights Campaign’s national dinner in early September, Kaine suggested that the Church would change its definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. “I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, ‘It is very good,’” he said. “Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.” Kaine says he opposed gay marriage until 2005, when Virginia lawmakers tried to write a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between one man and one woman. After hearing their proposal, Kaine said “it became clearer to me where I should stand on this.”
Francis DiLorenzo, the bishop of Kaine’s home diocese in Richmond, Virginia, issued a statement re-affirming the Catholic Church’s definition of marriage, “More than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage, and despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church's 2000-year-old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute,” he said. “As Catholics, we believe all humans warrant dignity and deserve love and respect, and unjust discrimination is always wrong. Our understanding of marriage, however, is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator's original design.”
Although Kaine has stated that he is personally opposed to abortion, he has also said he believes in a woman’s right to choose. In an interview with National Public Radio, Kaine affirmed his support for Roe. V Wade and said that “There can be some rules. And there have been some rules that I've supported but others I've opposed.” Kaine originally supported the 1976 amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions except in cases involving incest, rape, or a threat to the mother’s health. He has since voiced support for a repeal.
Hillary Clinton expressed her support for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment in January when she accepted Planned Parenthood’s endorsement for president. During her speech, Clinton said that, “Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all... the Hyde amendment [makes] it harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.” Clinton’s plan to make abortion more widely available to more women is a step away from the phrase “safe, legal, and rare” that former President Bill Clinton popularized in 1992.