With the death of Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church through the College of Cardinals will be electing a new pope. It's anyone's guess now as to who will be the new pope. But we can speculate and also debate if gay men's lives will change with this change in the Catholic Church's leadership.
Gay men have always had a role in religion, back to the beginning of time. While this role has not been always recognized, gay men have sought solitude in religious life. That will continue.
If we feel that anything is possible, then the best we could hope for as gay men is the toning down of the rhetoric against gay lifestyle and at least, not being so mean spirited and condemning of gay marriage.
If the Catholic Church wants to establish closer ties with the Episcopal Church, it might have to rethink its doctrine on homosexuality. Bishop Gene Robinson has established the acceptance of openly gay men in the clergy. While his appointment has been very controversial, it has opened dialogue on the issue and has brought gay marriage in the forefront.
Gay men have continued to work both inside and outside organized religion by forming their own groups such as Dignity and Integrity. These groups have enabled gay men to embrace their religion and do so inspite of discrimination. You might have read a story about an openly Gay man who was initially refused a Catholic burial. He finally did get buried in a Catholic cemetery, but again, there was controversy.
In our own way, we can make change happen in the coming weeks and months and years. When our rights to marry are recognized, it will be only a matter of time before some organized religions allow us to have our marriages recognized religiously, if we want.
These next coming weeks will be interesting. I am sure we will be discussing this issue again.