Catholic Actor Martin Sheen Defends Pro-Gay Marriage Stance; Says 'Church Isn't God'

Actor Martin Sheen has been very open about his support of gay marriage. Being a proponent of the redefinition of marriage, he has garnered much criticism as he identifies himself as Catholic. In a recent interview, he explained why he supports gay marriage.

The actor who played a plaintiff in the pro-gay play "8," which helped to raise $2 million for a gay rights lobby group, was asked by The Wilshire & Washington blog about the clear conflict between his identity as a member of the Catholic church and his obvious support for gay marriage.

"My religion's highest standard is conscience. Nothing can get between your conscience and God, not even the church, because for 2,000 years, my church has been lifting up as exemplary various men and women in their lives who have served as inspiration to all of us over the centuries, and we call them saints," Sheen said.

In the past, Sheen has stood on the side of the Catholic church on hot topic issues, being vocal about his disagreement with assisted suicide and opposing abortion. Seeing gay marriage as a conscience issue, he has decided to depart from his historical alignment.

The popular actor further backed his stance by saying "the church has not condemned a single soul to hell because it does not have the authority" and that "the church is not God."