Gregory Bourke, "Gay, Catholic, and American: My Legal Battle for Marriage Equality and Inclusion" (U Notre Dame Press, 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. Gay, Catholic, and American: My Legal Battle for Marriage Equality and Inclusion (U Notre Dame Press, 2021) 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 DeLeon 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 DeLeon 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.

John Marszalek III is author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi). He is clinical faculty of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern New Hampshire University. Website: Twitter: @marsjf3

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John Marszalek

John Marszalek III is a host of the podcast Queer Voices on the LGBTQ+ Channel of the New Books Network.

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