Catholics Do What?,  Homosexuality,  Marriage,  Sex

How to discuss gay “marriage” {part 2}

Picking up where we left off yesterday: a Jesuit and a Franciscan walk into a bar in San Francisco… (click here for part 1)

Cara:

Regardless of how absolutely opposed our views are on this, I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. The shock and sadness I experienced while reading your words made me think about how I really surround myself with likeminded people, for better or worse (no pun intended), and that because of that, I so rarely hear this side of the debate. So, in that way, I’m grateful to hear where you’re coming from and how you think through this issue as it’s honestly a side of the debate I so rarely am up against. Did I mention I live in San Francisco? 😉

There are about a million things I want to say in response, but I thought it might be interesting to look at three big areas where I think we start from the same place and then diverge wildly from a similar origin.

First, I think we both have strong relationships with God and that in big or small ways that is guiding our view on this issue. I was raised in a liberal Catholic home and have kept the main lessons from my childhood as pillars in my adult life. These lessons all center around an impossibly loving and accepting God who creates each of us as intentionally unique and strong individuals who are put on the earth to connect with one another. The God I have known since birth is 100% behind supporting loving gay marriage, and he doesn’t even put quotes around the word marriage! He would urge all of us to fight for the equal rights of everyone in our communities to ensure a safe, just, and loving world.

A couple weeks ago, I marched in the SF Pride Parade with my Jesuit-run graduate school. It felt so great to represent a side of the church that is open and excited about this, as I think our voices are often muddled into “religious people” who are categorically opposed to gay marriage.

Second, I think you’re absolutely right that soul-stretching love (I love that wording!) is where true happiness lies. Marriage is an incredibly beautiful commitment between two individuals. I would bet that both of us know of strong and weak marriages. I can tell you with absolute certainty that two of the strongest marriages among people closest to me are gay marriages filled to the brim with soul-stretching love. One of these marriages was put on hold for decades because of archaic laws, while the other marriage is between two young men who were able to commit themselves to each other through marriage own their own clock because they happen to a reside in a progressive state. I am so happy that couples like these no longer have to hide their love away for their whole lives.

Finally, I think we both agree that the creation of a family within a marriage is something very special and something to protect. While I in no way believe that marriage has anything to do with some responsibility or calling to “create new life”, I do believe that a married couple can provide a loving home for children and a great foundation for a family. Same-sex couples do this equally as well as hetero couples, and this ruling offers an opportunity for the creation of so many more families to be formed with such greater ease and stronger protection. How can one not celebrate that?

 

Jenny:

I’m actually really enjoying that we can go back and forth without fear of misunderstanding or emotional fallout – so refreshing from what I spend a lot of time doing. Because of work I’m actually in fairly regular debate/discussion with people on both sides of the issue, so I’m not shocked by really…anything, at this point.

Oh, and ha! Just to cement our uncanny likeness a little further, I was born in San Francisco, and raised in the Bay Area. And my spiritual director is a former Jesuit, and my mom is a Santa Clara and USF grad, so maybe one of those is your alma mater too?

To address your first point, I want to challenge the logic of making an appeal to popularity or common option (the other alums and students who dissent from Catholic teaching on gay marriage.) That’s a valid emotional experience for you, but logically it falls under the fallacy “argumentum ad populum,” so it doesn’t strengthen your argument.

I was also raised – and am still a practicing – Catholic, and I don’t like the labels “conservative” or “liberal” – I really think they do more to divide than to unite, and we’re a big ‘ol universal church.

For those who will be reading this, I’d like for us to clarify what marriage is, and what it was created for. Since we’re both coming from a faith angle I think it’s safe to bring that into the conversation, but it could also be made solely from a natural law perspective, so really we could leave God out of it.

He’s already here in our email thread though, so let’s examine what He says about marriage and about human sexuality: first, He created us male and female with a purpose and with a distinct complementarity between our sexualities, to image in a particular way the life-giving exchange of love within the Persons of God, the trinity.

And then the first instruction we receive from Him? Be fruitful, and multiply.

This lays 2 clear imperatives from the creator, first that there is something intelligent and intentional about our sexual differences, and second, that we are intrinsically ordered toward the creation of new life, just as God Himself is.

You say that marriage has nothing to do with children, in your mind, and that is probably the most difficult piece of your argument for me to answer, because it leads me to think we’re not actually discussing the same thing.

If marriage is not primarily ordered toward “the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring,” then what, exactly, is the purpose?

I’m guessing you’re going to say romantic fulfillment and life-long companionship, which are two goods of marriage, but are somewhat periphery to the two primary ends mentioned above. So could it be that we’re not actually talking about the same thing at all?

Like I said in my earlier email, our culture jettisoned the idea of marriage as something intentionally ordered towards bringing forth new life and raising that life in faithful, committed love, but does that cultural rejection actually alter the nature of marriage? What I mean is, can we redefine a thing based solely on popular opinion, considering we didn’t create marriage to begin with?

Finally, I want to challenge – so gently – the notion that children adopted into same sex partnerships do equally well as children raised by their biological parents. It’s simply not been borne out in all the research, and manyadult children of loving, homosexual couples are coming forward and saying that no matter how loving their two “moms” were, and no matter how much they loved them in return, there was a void where the opposite sex parent was missing. And that void impacts them in a real and irrevocable way. I don’t think it’s right to discount the real experiences of children who are living on the front lines of our cultural experimentation and have something hard to tell us, even if it’s difficult to hear. That invalidates their lived experience in the name of furthering an agenda, and unfortunately many of these kids – now adults – are afraid to speak out or do so knowing they’re going to be alienated and rejected by the very community within which they were raised. Katy’s story of her experience being raised in a lesbian household is worth reading.

One final thought: of course children deserve a loving home and of course, orphans and single parent families and all the other impoverished and imperfect arrangements we find ourselves in, when parents die or the crushing demands of poverty overwhelm them, or when teenagers get pregnant or women are abandoned by the men who helped them create the child in question… because we live in a fallen world, and we’re all sinners. But neither of us would, I think, look at those aforementioned situations and call them ideal.

To intentionally deny a child their right to a mother and a father is a grievous injustice to that child. My favorite Jesuit – Pope Francis, says it well: “Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”

So if marriage has nothing to do with children, what is it for? And why should our government take any interest in it, in the first place?

28 Comments

  • Rebecca M

    I’m really enjoying this discussion between you both. At this point it does indeed sound like you’re discussing two very different things. I’m curious if you could post a link to “katy’s story”, or maybe I missed it?

  • chrisr

    I want to focus on Cara’s third point – the creation of a family within a marriage. What I find unsettling about creating a family within a homosexual union is the lack of safeguards for the children. What truth is guiding you to ensure that the children are being raised in a home with two people that are monogamously committed to each other for life. Do I need to convince people of the benefits of growing up in a home where you know that your parents aren’t going to leave each other for greener pastures and move on to create new families? My childhood was far from perfect but it sure helped me to grow knowing that my parents were committed to the teachings of the Catholic Church. What do people commit to when they tell their higher power what is right and wrong? I think they are committed to themselves and I have a hard time seeing otherwise.

  • Deepa

    Enjoyed reading this . Especially your responses. I am hoping this will lead Cara into actually reading the Bible and the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and open her heart to following Christ and not the world . Thanks for posting !

  • Michael Jeter

    And there are ample stories of children, raised by gay parents, who are happy and successful, and ample stories of children, raised by straight couples, who are happy and successful.

    My parents divorced when I was six. Both were/are straight. Dad was an out and out homophobe and racist. Mom is becoming more and more homophobic, buying into the canard that gay people are “agressive.

    I am starting to become happy and successful. It is in spite of my straight parents, and no, I don’t think it’s because they got a divorce. I think that was one of the sanest things they did.

    So stories that one or another type of parent leads to well-adjusted sucessful children are far too supjective to prove anything.

    • Kayla

      Michael, I too come from a family of divorce (I say a family of divorce because this includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc with multiple divorces each), and both of my parents are remarried.
      Yes, there will be happy and successful children from gay parents, divorces parents, single parent homes, adoptive homes, and any other type of situation that arises these days. Yes, I agree that individual stories, while offer a different point of view to consider, cannot paint the picture as a whole.
      But, social scientific research, in which thousands of children are studied over the span of years, shows that these situations are not ideal. For example, as a child of a divorced family I am at higher risk for depression, out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, low educational achievement, unemployment and poverty to name a few. Does that mean that I cannot live a happy, successful life and beat those statistics? Certainly not, but that is the overall trend of children from divorced families to be at a greater risk for the above mentioned.
      But the whole point is that the very best possible situation for children to grow up in is with their biological mother and father in a happy, life-long, committed marriage. One of the main reasons for arguing for traditional marriage is wanting the best possible situation for the children involved. Any situation that strays away from that ideal (while yes inevitable, but still should try to be avoided), is not in the best interest of the children in that union. That goes for children of gay marriage, divorced families, single parent homes, etc. There are and always will be exceptions in which these situations allow for happy, successful children, but it is critically important for future generations to look at the big picture and see the continued trend of moving away from the ideal traditional marriage in which children are most likely to thrive.

      • Michael Jeter

        Your argument, supported by research, is that children do best when raised by their biological parents in a living, committed relationship.

        I don’t know of anyone who disagrees with that.

        Orphans and foster children, for one reason or another, have lost one or more of their biological parents. However, while it’s not perfect, they can still be raised in loving and comitted relationships.

        Do you know of situations where children are being taken from theior biological parents without good reason(abuse, neglect?)

        • Kayla

          No, I don’t know of any situation in which a child is taken from their biological parents without good reason, but I do know of situation in which a child is deprived of their two biological parents from the start (IVF, adoption, sperm donation, etc).

          Marriage as an institution needs to be strengthened, beginning with straight couples and working from there. If you look at the history of contraception, no-fault divorce, pornography, and gay marriage (all of which work to weaken the institution of marriage and were not tolerated by society 100 years ago), these are the things that created today’s mentality of marriage that it is a union based on personal will and emotion, moving away from the idea of marriage as a social good ordered toward children.

          • Michael Jeter

            Did you mean to equate adoption, which I and the Church consider good and holy, esp. as an alternative to abortion, with IVF and sperm donation?

          • Kayla

            I don’t know where the little reply button went, but no I equate it as a situation in which a child grows up wondering about their biological origins, who their parents where, what they were like, if they look more like mom or dad. I am 100% totally completely all in favor of adoption, especially as an alternative to abortion, but it still leaves the child with haunting questions that sometimes are never answered.

          • Michael Jeter

            All children have questions.

            I was being polite. Your construction equates adoption with IVF and sperm donation.

            Completely and totally unacceptable.

          • Kayla

            I see adoption as a great good. Do you disagree that an adopted child questions where they come from, what their biological family is like? I am in no way saying that because of this adoption is bad, simply that this is the nature of a situation in which you are raised with someone other than your biological parents.
            And clearly, IVF and sperm donation are not the same as adoption. I am not equating them. If you need me to elaborate further as to how I see them as different I would be happy to do so.

    • Kayla

      Here is a citation for some of the the social and biological studies I refer to that show children do best in a committed union of their biological parents. The part about children begins on page 9, but the whole thing is worth the read to be better informed on the issue, taking emotion and personal experience out of the issue and looking at it reasonably and from a scientific point of view.
      http://winst.org/wp-content/uploads/WI_Marriage_and_the_Public_Good.pdf

      • GW

        Kayla, I appreciate your thoughts.

        I don’t know how one can avoid seeing the “verbal beatings” that I described. It’s all over the threads – and sometimes in the writers’ essays – on FB pages from The National Catholic Register, Crisis Magazine, Catholic News Agency (and Service), and to a lesser extent on National Catholic Reporter and America magazine. And those are the Catholic-oriented sites – I don’t review the threads on secular sites.

        Gay people are not to be “tolerated,” any more than any other minority, and tolerance is not the basic issue. They are born, they grow up and old, and they die, just as heterosexuals do. The fallacy is in the hoopla over “redefining marriage.” If one accepts the premise that people get married because they love and want to commit to each other, then it doesn’t make sense to preclude same sex marriage. On the other hand, if one accepts the premise that the purpose of marriage is to have children, well…I don’t know anyone who got married to have kids. I know some who HAD to get married, but that’s different.

        No one is redefining marriage “however we please,” and the government is a secular institution. The SCOTUS decision was a just one, and long overdue.

        I didn’t assert that the quality of same sex relationships is an argument for why gay marriage should be legal. I was making a statement about the Church’s refusal to see it. At the same time, there is a body of thought within conservative Christian circles that still contends that SSM is all about an unwillingness on the part of gays and lesbians to restrain their sexual desires, which is an insulting bit of nonsense. Are there gay people whose lives are all about sex? Of course there are, but no more so than with hetero people.

        There is certainly an aspect of SSM that has been carried aloft by popular opinion; but that is not why the Church will eventually change. The Church will change when the leadership turns over to future generations and Catholics realize that people get married because they love and want to commit to one another and not solely in order to have children. Catholics will also see that the practical effect of what they advocate – forcing millions of people to live solitary lives, deprived of the love and support of a significant other – will cause needless human suffering that could not possibly meet with the approval of a just and loving God.

        And you will eventually see that quoting the Bible in an argument about SSM is a waste of time. Two similarly knowledgeable Bible scholars could cite competing Bible quotes all day long, with nothing being resolved. You’ll also be better served if you set aside words like “emotionally charged gay unions.” A typical argument of conservatives is that those in favor of SSM are operating from a misguided sentimentalism, when nothing could be further from the truth, at least with me and with everyone I know and read about. It’s about the Catholic virtue of Mercy, and about the American virtue of leaving others alone. It often takes we Americans a disgustingly long time to get there – racism comes to mind – but we’ve always tended to leave others alone if they’re not breaking the law

        I’m an old, heterosexual man and a lifelong Catholic. I’ve stuck with my Church through the sex abuse crisis, the scandal at the Vatican Bank, and the Vatileaks scandal, which brought down a Pope. This is the first time in my life I have actively argued against my Church, and I am not wrong.

        You are welcome to your opinion, but I would ask that you try to keep an open mind as you grow older.

        • Kayla

          The purpose of marriage should be both of those two premises. Marriage as a loving, passionate, life-long, commitment in which children can be raised in an environment where they are most likely to thrive. It is a good ordered for the betterment of both the spouses and the children. You cannot think of it simply in terms of the spouses or children, but both are vital to what marriage is essentially and its purpose.

          The hoopla over “refining marriage” is not a fallacy, and it is the central issue. When you follow the same logic that currently propels the acceptance of gay marriage (as a union solely about love and wanting to commit) then logically you cannot exclude anyone from the institution of marriage. If you lose sight of the historical and natural law points of view when defining marriage, then yes it doesn’t make sense to exclude gay relationships, polygamy, polyandry, group marriage, or any other combination of consenting adults you can come up with.

          The crisis of marriage began with heterosexual couples, and the acceptance and widespread use of contraception, no-fault divorce, pornography. All of these rapidly gained popular public acceptance over the last 100 years, and they are all related in the breakdown of marriage.

          I am all for same-sex unions. If they want to commit to loving each other for life then they have the choice to do that. But, by the very nature of what marriage is, that isn’t and never can be marriage. I’m not having a closed mind, I’m simply looking at the reality of what marriage is at its very core, its essence, its nature. Its just not possible to redefine it as we please.

          I agree that quoting the Bible is a waste of time in these arguments. I prefer to take the stance of natural law, history, and social science. I very much agree that people can and very often do misinterpret the Bible, but I think this issue is clear in the Bible of what marriage is and what its purpose is.

          Once again, the Church will never change on this issue. My generation of Catholics has grown up with no-fault divorce, pornography, contraception, etc. We are told over and over and over to do what feels good, what we feel is right, basically whatever we want. I have lived that way, and I used to not understand why gay marriage, cohabitation, divorce, contraception were not supported by the Church. But it is exactly through this permissive anything goes attitude that my beliefs have been formed. Its not a matter of being closed minded, but a matter of seeing the incredible beauty and goodness in every single one of the Churches teachings, no matter how much I hate and misunderstand them at first. I see this over and over with my peers as well. We are sick of the shallow lies society tells us of why we are here and what our purpose on Earth should be. We are dying to be called to a higher standard (which Saint John Paul II did so well, hence why so many young people love him), and the Church does that through all her teachings, even her teaching on gay marriage.

      • GW

        Kayla, it’s “redefining marriage,” and it is absolutely a fallacy as well as a central issue.

        You are joining the arguments of the conservatives when you assert that “you cannot exclude anyone from the institution of marriage.” The fact is that polygamy is already here in the US, as well as other relationships ranging from weird to illegal. Regardless of their morality, no one is proposing that these other unions be made legal, and certainly not when they involve victimizing one of the parties to the relationship. It’s a scare tactic that the right wing has utilized for years.

        The crisis of marriage began when women began to assert themselves as equal partners in a relationship and began teaching their daughters to do the same, and for that you should be thankful. It’s no longer acceptable for women to stay in abusive relationships. No one tells the woman, “Well…you must have done something to bring it on.” The historical aspects of marriage include an unacceptable percentage of scenarios where the woman is treated as the lesser partner, at least in my opinion.

        Contraception, no-fault divorce, and pornography are a side-effect of women asserting themselves, and the effects of contraception, divorce, and pornography are worsened by the unhealthy focus of the Catholic Church on genitalia over souls.

        I wonder if you realize that we are not in disagreement with the central question. You write, “I am all for same-sex unions,” just as I am. I wonder if you can see that the ginned-up controversies over marriage have caused a widespread misunderstanding among the faithful. The SCOTUS decision doesn’t force Catholics to do anything other than not-interfering with same sex marriages. No one on the SSM side is advocating for Catholic clergy, as well as any other clergy, to be forced to do anything.

        This is my issue with the clergy as well. They’ve chosen to create this hoopla and consternation among the faithful, rather than simply stating that the granting of a legal license to two consenting adults who wish to combine resources and form a household has nothing to do with the Catholic faith.

        Your love for “every one of the Church’s teachings” is noted. On the other hand, right wing talking points should be remembered for what they are: talking points. The opposition is not looking “to do what feels good, what we feel is right, basically whatever we want.” No one I know is or has advocated for a “permissive anything goes attitude.” Think about these issues more deeply, and you’ll gain more respect for those who are not on the right wing of the Church. No matter how much you “hate and misunderstand them at first.”

        • Kayla

          I guess I’m missing how “redefining marriage” is a fallacy, a failure in logical that renders my argument invalid. Marriage, defined as a union between one man and one woman for life, has been changed, altered, redefined as a union of man/man, woman/woman, man/woman. If thats not redefining marriage then please point out where I am mistaken in that point.

          No matter what the right wing or conservatives assert, just address that point, politics aside. Does it not logically follow that when you redefine marriage as a committed union of love between consulting adults, that no one can be excluded from that union, if they so wish? If not, please point out my lapse in reason.
          Yes no one right now is demanding marriage be expanded in such a way, but the first expansion happened very very recently. If the logic is followed by other groups, then they very much should demand marriage be expanded for them also.

          It is very clear that we have a much different view of what true feminism is. Please explain to me how women are asserting themselves when their marriages and relationships are destroyed by husbands and boyfriends addicted to porn, unable to see their girlfriends as anything other than an object. Do you really believe our society is better off because we have a billion-dollar porn industry that millions of men are addicted to?
          Please explain to me how contraception, treating her natural fertility as a disease to be cured with a pill each day, is women asserting themselves. I am of the belief that women are able to accomplish amazing things, awesome careers without treating their fertility as something to be cured.
          And please explain to me how no-fault divorce is a good to be celebrated. I’m of the view that you shouldn’t enter into a life-long union unless you seriously discern you can take the vows of your wedding day seriously, even when the marriage is no longer rainbows and butterflies. Maybe I would feel better if people just removed this “til death do us part, for as long as we both shall live” business and changed it to, “until the day one of us stops loving the other and stops committing.”

          Yes, except for same sex unions and same sex marriage are two different things. What do you say to the florists, cake makers, photographers who are being sued, fined, and losing their business because they do not support these same sex marriages? How can churches continue to deprive people of their government granted rights by not participating in same sex marriage? This will be a fight brought to churches, there is no way around it.

          I’m not exactly sure where you got that last part as “right wing talking points” or anything concerned with an “opposition.” I think labels are one of the worst things we have done to our political arena, as it simply shuts down the discussion with rhetoric and no substance. I am in no way looking at this from a political perspective. I am looking for an honest discussion where you can point out my lapses in logic. What I am referring to in the permissive anything goes attitude is not a “right wing talking point” but the experience of being a 20 year old currently in college. There is literally no such thing as morally right or wrong, there is no such thing as truth. I am of the opinion that this complete dismissal of moral guidance is a bad thing for our society and our future generations. Do you disagree?

  • Laura

    This is a very interesting exchange. I do like when opposing views can be shared civilly. I for one am of the opinion that gay marriage isn’t exactly a threat to the Catholic family. I believe that homosexuality should be viewed as ALL sexual sin (pornography, adultery, pre-marital sex) – those listed in the parenthesis are the TRUE threats to Catholic marriage. Doctrine and tradition and interpretation of Scripture are all fine and good, but people need to be IN REALITY. I followed the blog of a Catholic mother of eleven who was abandoned by her husband and left living far below the poverty level. What about all the other threats to marriage that aren’t being dealt with?

    • Jenny Uebbing

      Perfectly put, Laura. The only reason we’re here in the first place, culturally speaking, is because we first threw open the doors to contraception, no fault divorce, and all the rest. You’ll see that in today’s installment of Cara’s and my exchange.

  • GW

    It’s always interesting to see how some people make the immediate leap from marriage to the complementarity between the sexualities, and then to the issues regarding children.

    God created male and female with a purpose, and said go forth and multiply. I don’t understand how that is an indictment against SSM. Gays and lesbians are not going to otherwise get married and have children, or at least one would hope they don’t, as they would be bringing children into a marriage that is built on a very unnatural feeling between their mother and father.

    Marriage is about two consenting adults who love and want to commit to one another. That fact, although rather cavalierly, although “gently” dismissed, is not going away. People who would otherwise be forced to live alone want to be together. Nothing “periphery” about that. The two “primary ends mentioned above” are meaningful only to those who oppose SSM

    And then to the Children.

    Interesting that one of the first comments I see is someone writing about “safeguards for the children.” What safeguards are needed or suggested? Old fears and hatreds die hard.

    And you SHOULD “so gently” challenge the notion that children adopted into same sex partnerships do as well as others. The social science may be inconclusive to date, but I live in a large US city with a significant LGBT population, and my experience alone is that children of SSM do every bit as well as their counterparts. The fact that opponents of SSM find so easy to ignore is one of the most basic: the first quality of a good parent is commitment to the children. Since SSM parents choose to be parents – no accidental pregnancies there – they have a head start on a lot of heterosexual parents.

    Is there a void experienced by the children who miss out on the “mother” or “father” part of the family? Is it fair that children be brought up “on the front lines of cultural experimentation?” Well…is it fair that the children are in a situation where they’re up for adoption in the first place? The commitment factor makes up for a lot. And like a lot of opponents of SSM, you have a romanticized view of heterosexual marriage.

    We live in a fallen world, and we’re all sinners. But neither of us would, I think, look at those situations and call them ideal. What we should do, though, is thank God that there are adults out there who wish to adopt those children, to help them deal with the grievous injustice that Life has dealt them.

    Marriage doesn’t “have nothing to do with children.” Marriage is a lifelong commitment of two adults who love each other. Some have children, some do not. Personally, I like those who have children. Mine changed my life.

    BTW: I’m an old, heterosexual man and a lifelong Catholic. Let the same sex couples get married, and frankly, leave them alone already.

    • chrisr

      I think you and I both agree that life-long commitment is good for children. It provides a safer environment. But the question of what guards that assurance of a life-long commitment wasn’t answered. Or at least I didn’t understand it as answered. That is why I used to term safeguard, not because I am full of fear or hate. I’m actually a pretty nice person and I’m assuming you are too.

      You have some years on you so you know life throws curve balls. Things happen that were completely off your radar. That stress creeps into marriages and relationships and can make or break them. Cara gave a very weak definition of marriage. Life-long commitment wasn’t part of it. It was a “whatever floats your boat” definition which leaves me unsettled for the children of that relationship. If the representatives of marriage equality can not define marriage then that’s a problem. I know that Cara’s voice is one out of a sea of many. I am truly grateful that she was brave enough to voice her opinion in this forum. Was that “gentle” enough for you? 😉 Seriously, I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m just trying to understand. Thanks for posting.

      • GW

        …and I have no personal animus toward you. Unfortunately, there are no safeguards for any children in this world, although the US comes close (as well as, I would assume, Scandinavian countries with well-developed social services systems). You seem to have thought through this with care, and I respect that. I also respect your option to disagree with me.

        I found the exchange as described on this blog to be a “gentler” version of the same arguments that have been put forth for years – the procreation argument, concerns for the children, and “it’s a sacrament that liberals are trying to change,” i.e. the religious freedom contention.

        It is particularly disappointing, although not really surprising, that my Church has refused to recognize the Divine in a loving, monogamous, same sex relationship. I’ve certainly seen it, and more consistently in same sex relationships than in hetero (although the sample survey is admittedly small).

        It’ s also disappointing – more like disgusting – to see the judgmental and hateful tone of so many conservative Catholics on this issue. Personal disapproval and disgust is given the thin sheen of religion, and the physical beatings that were handed out to gays in my youth has been replaced by today’s verbal beatings.

        I really believe that there are marked similarities between this issue and those faced by the Church during the times of Copernicus, Galileo, and Martin Luther. Change will come, slowly and painfully. Our saving grace is as it always has been: as the church of Jesus Christ, we seem to be able to survive anything, even ourselves.

        • Kayla

          First off, about today’s verbal beatings. In all times looking at this issue on the internet, (articles, blogs, debates, etc), not once have I seen an instance of anyone, let alone a Catholic, give a “verbal beating.” I have, however, seen countless instances of people referring to instances of “verbal beatings”. I am a 20 year old Catholic, and maybe I just have’t ever encountered homophobia the same way you would have in your life. Tolerance for gay people is very very important, to show that they are loved and accepted as part of society. But can the desire to create greater tolerance be an argument for redefining marriage however we please? No. Individuals must find that on their own, not through the gov’t saying “this is legal now, so it must be accepted.”
          Second, without a doubt there will be love and the Divine within a relationship between two people that God has formed from the womb, counts all the hairs on their head, gave them a plan and a future, no matter if its a gay or heterosexual union. In the breakdown of marriage that has happened over the last 70 or so years, there would be many cases of gay marriage that contains more love than straight marriages. But this once again is not an argument for why gay marriage should be legal.
          Third, the Church will never change on this issue, just as it did not follow the turning tide of popular opinion on contraception in the 20th century. The issue of gay marriage is very much clearcut in the Bible, explaining the purpose of marriage, the nature, who should partake, that homosexual acts are a sin. This can be found in Genesis in the first institution of marriage, Leviticus, from the very mouth of Jesus in the NT, along with the letters of the first Magisterium in the NT. The Church literally cannot throw aside this clear teaching of the Bible, in addition to the 2000+ years of wisdom on this issue from the Magisterium.
          (Yes, the Bible is clear in saying homosexual acts are a sin, just as it clearly states for me, a 20 year old in college, that going out having sex and getting drunk at frat parties is a sin and will not allow me to inherit the Kingdom of God. We are all called to a higher standard some way or another. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

          But, putting religion and the emotionally charged gay unions you personally know of aside, look at the historical purpose of marriage all throughout the history of mankind. Does this rapid change in popular opinion (including our President who changed his opinion on this a few years ago when I was in high school) change the fundamental nature and purpose of marriage? No. Marriage simply cannot be redefined the way that it has. The redefinition, even is still called marriage, is simply not marriage.

        • chrisr

          I have read all of your responses. You say so much. I could have a separate, page long discourse over almost each sentence you write. You touch on so many complex subjects. This com box is no place to speak with you about these many, important things. I wish I could. You sound like a really interesting guy.

          Where I take issue with your position is that you have taken it upon yourself to define marriage and are waiting for this glorious, Holy Spirit guided Church to catch up. I cannot follow you. I follow Holy Mother Church.

          You are defending souls that you love and I respect that. I have no doubt that you have witnessed grievous abuses of homosexuals in decades past. As far as the “verbal beatings” of today on the internet from Catholic News Agencies”, I just don’t see it. Stating that you don’t support gay marriage and giving the rational reasons why do not amount to a verbal beating. Trust me; I don’t pretend to think that there aren’t judgmental and scornful groups of Christians out there. I’m not discounting what you are saying in regard to that.

          I have enjoyed our exchange. Blessings be upon you, brother. I hope you think of me the next time you see that chapel veil- wearing women in Mass with her children about her.

  • Michael Jeter

    Well, perhaps I have anunderstanding of why my first – an hopefully only – marriage failled. I was open to children, but it did not happen. Certainly, it was not her fault, but I did not get married because I wanted children.

    I got married because I thought I had a partner, but our definition of “partnership” was different, and I regret that I asked the woman to marry me, not because she’s not a wonderful human being, but because, in the end, I hurt her.

    I disagree with IVF and surrogacy always, for gay or straight couples.

    I do think there are orphans and foster children who need loving homes, and I do think gay parents can provide that. I have seen statistics that say that children who remain in the foster system, as opposed to being adopted, are at higher risks for being molested. And no, I do not know of any studies that say the children of gay parents are at any higher risk for molestation.

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