Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Catholic Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Recently I spoke at a conference and stated I could see no argument for same-sex marriage which was logical enough to withstand scrutiny. Some responded they wanted to talk about the subject more, because they struggled to counter the arguments for same-sex marriage and not come off as hateful.

Before I begin, I want to be very clear, we cannot accept the fallacy that opposing same-sex marriage = "hate" of persons who have a same-sex attraction. Nor is it "homophobic", mean, discriminatory, etc. This is rhetoric and ad hominem which is a distraction and does not add anything to the discussion at hand.

In fact, if you believe same-sex marriage is not good for someone and say nothing about it, that isn't love at all. Love compels us to seek out what is good for the other.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says (emphasis added):
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
I write this post in the spirit of respect, compassion and sensitivity for persons with same-sex attraction. I also do so out of love - because I believe same-sex marriage is bad for them and for society. Every one of us is a sinner and yet all still deserve to be loved and treated fairly, because we are human beings who share the same dignity.

NOTEYou are free to disagree, but if you put want a comment posted below, be careful that you follow our comment rules and engage in a dialogue on the subject, not ad hominem or attacks. They won't make the cut.

Is it unfair, unjust, discriminatory and homophobic to oppose marriages of two men or two women? Many today would say it is. Yet - treating different things differently is not discrimination.

So, WHAT IS MARRIAGE? The answer helps us understand what is going on.

A monogamous, lifelong, faithful, loving union between one man and one woman - till death = the traditional definition of marriage. Marriage is meant to instill true self-giving love and a marriage between a man/woman is the best place where love can grow to be total, faithful, fruitful, and free.

Marriage is personal, but not merely private. Marriages are by definition, a part of society. Marriage is also not merely about two people. While marriage might lead to a happy life and wonderful feelings of mutual love, that isn't what makes a marriage a marriage. Rather, it is about seeking the good of the other - including the children that naturally come from marriage.

So, marriage is about the spouses, but it is also about the others that become bound to them - their children.  The natural way a child is created and brought into the world is through sexual relations between a man and woman. Studies consistently prove the common sense notion that the best place for a child to be raised is in a stable marriage of their mother and father (see NOTE #1 for studies supporting this). Thus, the state has a compelling interest in helping marriage become stronger and more stable. Promoting a re-definition of marriage undermines these efforts.

We can see that marriage is not merely a religious or social construct. It is a natural one, which in every culture, throughout history, has shown that one man and one woman bond together for the good of themselves, their children, and their society. Thus, the natural order between male/female sexual relationship includes reproduction as an inherent part of that relationship. Which is why reproduction does matter in marriage. In a culture that has separated sex and babies (due to the contraceptive mentality) it is no wonder we have started to widely accept sexual relationships that cannot naturally reproduce life as "normal".

Some will argue infertile couples are an exception to the rule just as same-sex couples are. False. Infertile couples prove the point of natural marriage. An infertile couple is naturally oriented toward procreation and something is medically wrong. The reason a same-sex couple cannot procreate is because nature is working correctly.

Furthermore, children have the right to have their best interests furthered by our laws and by our society. The government should protect the rights of children to live and flourish.

The family is the fundamental building block of human society. In fact, because of the natural ability to procreate, marriage is the very source of life and even the future of our world. The role of the government is to promote the common good. So, promoting relationships which re-define marriage harms children (the future of our society) and is a failure to promote the common good.

Marriage isn't just about the romance and feelings between two people. There are serious social and familial consequences.

What is the most powerful thing two people can do together? Create another unique, unrepeatable and eternal human being - that is, create a new life! When we step back and reflect on this, it is earth-shattering. Sex is naturally ordered toward the creation of new life and the bonding of two people. When one of these two purposes is intentionally removed, then sex is lowered to something that it was not meant to be. Something without the high and lofty meaning and reality it should have.

Sex matters because it has such amazing power. Homosexual sex is deficient in achieving either goal. By nature, there can be no procreation and because our bodies were designed to compliment the other sex, there can be no true "partnering" between same-sex couples. What sex becomes then is selfish pleasure and using another human person - as it does in any sexual act outside of marriage.

This complimentarity of the sexes also matters in parenting. No two fathers or two mothers can give a child what a mother and father can. Thus, no same-sex union can give a child all they need from both a father and a mother.

Marriage forms the bedrock of the "common good" of society. It is where we learn (for good or ill) how to live. Why would a change to the definition of marriage, in order to accommodate a relatively small number of people, have such big affects on our culture? Look around at the evidence.
  1. The law is a teacher. We know that law influences how people think morally. If we re-define marriage, we undercut the basic institution that our society rests upon.
  2. Such a change begets the misunderstanding of the roles of fathers/mothers. Note that even birth certificates have changed to include "parent" and not "mother/father". This understanding makes fathers and/or mothers dispensable. This is cultural suicide as fatherless households attest to.
  3. What other "sexual minorities" are also being excluded? How far does our redefinition of marriage go? If marriage is merely about good feelings, bonding 2 people together, etc. then we must eventually include polyamorists, polygamists, etc.

We know marriage is the glue which has held together communities, cultures, and peoples for generation upon generation. The values that are within a culture are given within the family and that is then taken out into the wider culture to nurture and perpetuate that culture. Traditional marriage is the foundation of the values that govern life in our society and therefore the core social unit of society itself.

Marriage isn't just about self-fulfillment and the promotion of same-sex marriage is an attempt to change what is the essential character of marriage. What are the results? One man, one woman, and their children unite as a family - every bit of evidence shows that families thrive in monogamous and stable homes with two biological parents of opposite sexes who remain married. This means that there is less poverty, crime, strife, etc. in homes where marriages do well. When families suffer the rest of our culture suffers.

Marriage naturally involves a public acceptance of the relationship. It is not an acceptance merely of the relationship itself, but it is a recognition that life is naturally transmitted through this relationship and that through the marital relationships of men and women - society itself not only should recognize this, but support it.

This issue is about all of us. Cultural norms and values are for the greater-good, not just about what feels right. For society to change a basic and fundamental building block of the culture could be cultural suicide.

Notice, I haven't used the Bible or religious teachings to argue against same-sex marriage. This is because the public advocates of same-sex marriage do not care what the Bible says (or will try to twist it to fit their agenda). So, I have avoided the religious arguments and stuck to natural law, logic, and sociological facts.

Notice the fruit of our modern culture's understanding of marriage, family, life, and sexuality:
  • porn
  • abortion
  • divorce
  • fatherless homes
  • addiction
  • declining morality
  • etc
Do we really believe our modern culture's momentum is leading us to a better place on marriage, family, sex, and society? I have not heard anyone reasonably argue this is the case.

If you want to continue to moral decline, then do nothing. If you want to turn the tide around then start to become more informed on the social consequences of such radical ideas, speak out, vote, and influence others. Don't forget to do so with kindness, love, and courage - covered in prayer.

The burden of proof lies on those who want to change marriage and no argument yet passes muster. But, our culture sees it the other way around. So, we have to prepare ourselves to be able to defend what is true.

May God's peace be with us.


NOTE #1 - some have asked for data which supports the statement that children do better in homes with a mom/dad. First of all, there is tons of data on natural marriage of one man and one woman. Stable homes with both a father and mother are best. The long-term data on same-sex parenting is new and much of it is being framed with an agenda in mind (e.g. some studies compare single-parent homes to same-sex parent homes, some have very narrow studies, etc). But, nonetheless, here are a few:
  • Married parents:
  • W. Bradford Wilcox, et al., Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: Twenty Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005)
  • Paul Amato, “The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation,” in The Future of Children, “Marriage and Child Wellbeing,” Volume 15, Number 2, Fall 2005, (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and The Brookings Institution)
  • Ronald P. Rohner and Robert A. Veneziano, “The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence,” Review of General Psychology 5.4 (2001): 382-405
  • Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, (New York: The Free Press, 2000)
  • Michael Stiffman, et al., “Household Composition and Risk of Fatal Child Maltreatment,” Pediatrics, 109 (2002), 615-621
NOTE #2 - In regards to Pope Francis recent comments on the "gay lobby" and when he said, "who am I to judge" someone who is gay - there is no change in anything the Church has or ever will teach. Rather, he is re-stating that our mission to bring the Good News that Jesus can save us from our sins is for all and that if anyone repents of those sins, they should be forgotten. See more here.

If you want more on this subject, then I recommend the links and videos below.
**Frequently Asked Questions About The Defense Of Marriage
**Q&A About Marriage And Same-Sex Unions
**The Best Article On Why Same-Sex Marriage Is A Bad Idea
**Why Same-Sex Marriage is NOT a Civil Rights Issue!
**Two Reasons Same-Sex Marriage Is Gaining Ground
**Special Report: Gay Marriage 
**Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage
**What Marriage Is—And What It Isn't
**Same-Sex Science
**On gay marriage, stop playing the hate card


David Weiss said...

Very concise analysis and commentary. May I print this to share with our Knights of Columbus council?

fact said...

gay 'marriage' is to real marriage
as margarine is to butter.

Returnee said...

Curiosity - Has anyone asked the whys and wherefores with regards to HOW we've arrived at this point in culture? What forces have been at work - since at the very least the time of the Reformation - that have propelled societies to the point of having to defend the normalcy of marriage between one man & one woman for the good (a.k.a. the stability) of society at large. Does anyone know about the "culture creators" of the last 100 years known as the Frankfurt Group?