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Same-sex marriage bill in New York

Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio writes a weekly column called "Put out into the Deep" - a title that expresses the high priority he places on the new evangelization.But when the bishop uses his column in his diocesan newspaper, the Tablet, to assail specific legislators, it doesn't help to build the plunging number of Catholics in his diocese. Social science research shows that churchgoers, especially younger ones, are prone to leave churches they perceive as too involved in electoral politics. Robert Putnam and David Campbell make a strong case for this in their carefully researched book "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us." They write: "Americans overwhelmighly disapprove of political persuasion by religious leaders." And, they say, "in a competitive religious market they risk an exodus of members." And: "Continuing to sound the public trumpet of conservative personal morality may be the right thing to do from a theological point of view, but it may mean saving fewer souls than it did a generation ago."DiMarzio assails three New York state senators - Carl Kruger, Shirley Huntley, Joseph Addabbo - who have decided (after being undecided) to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, and notes that Kruger is under indictment and Huntley under investigation. ("Sadly, this is the character of our elected officials who are essentially redefining `marriage.' ") "My hope is that constituents will hold these elected official accountable for their decisions," he writes, adding that they "have ignored their constituents and preferred the counsel of powerful and well-funded elites."The upper half of the diocesan newspaper's front page features a color spread with the three senators' photos, a "yes" box on "same sex marriage vote" next to each one's name. The headline is "Shame! Shame! Shame!" This front page is essentially a political attack ad.It was no doubt a stinging rebuff to the bishop that these senators from his diocese rejected whatever means of persuasion he brought on them. But there are many other state legislators in the diocese who have voted or will vote in favor of same-sex marriage (for example, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, for whom the bishop made robo-calls praising his help in preventing a change in the statute of limitations on sex-abuse lawsuits). It doesn't seem fair to single out these three in such a way and not to decry the "yes" vote already cast by Lopez (no stranger to law-enforcement investigation) and many others.I would expect church leaders to speak out on important issues, including same-sex marriage. But politicized attacks such as this one won't accomplish anything except to hasten the movement of young Catholics from the church.

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Tonight on CNN there was a story about a NY couple who have been together for 61 years. Lovely photos of both guys in their military uniforms (I assume WWII) and throughout what has obviously been a rich and rewarding relationship. They're 83 and 91 and hoping the law changes so they can marry. I found the story touching. It never occured to me to think about them in terms of what sex acts they choose--how tacky and bizarre to care! Rather, they seemed a perfect example of commitment, hope, faithfulness, mutual support, and love--unity. I can't see how granting them rights to marriage would not bolster the positive values we say we want marriage to imply.

"The institution of marriage as it exists right now is associated with good, honorable, worthy, human qualities like love, dedication, commitment, and faithfulness. If it is expanded to include pairs of people who engage in what many believe to be indecent, dishonorable and bestial activities, it will cease to be exclusively a status people admire and respect and become in some cases a status that invokes disgust and obscene jokes."Felapton, please re-read your Chaucer. It seems to me that heteros have so degraded the estate in the course of 800 years that allowing homosexuals who exhibit "love, dedication, commitment, and faithfulness" might bring some respectability back to it. The Church, in its wisdom, of course, may determine that a much smaller percentage of people have a legitimate vocation to sacramental marriage. Honestly, Raber and I were married 30 years ago by a judge and no hanky panky has ensued in that time, but, based on what my young friends tell me about preCana programs, I'm not sure we'd make the cut even today.Margaret, late to the party here, but what was some of the language in the NY bill that did not adequately protect religious groups?

Polygamy is part of our tradition?

It is wrong to discriminate against people for innate attributes like skin color, musical ability, sexual orientation, etc. The question, imho, is why do some important and influential people do it and expect their underlings to join the charade. An answer was provided above by Jack Barry at 11:18. Another answer was posted by someone else in another thread, forget when: fear of blackmail.

"And with all due respect: so did an awful lot perfectly intelligent, informed, moral people in the American South during the period leading up to the Civil War and the period of the Civil Rights crisis. They, too, didnt want it to happen. They, too, talked about slippage and decline and the bible and moral values. And what had obtained in civilized societies for millennia. And what had obtained in the religious teaching of those societies for millennia."Bill Lindsey ==My experience exactly. Nice folks can be terribly prejudiced, and it doesn't make any difference where they live. It's all a matter of how they were brought up. But people *can* change. I have seen it happen so very often in the South. Just this week I had lunch in a small restaurant in an adjoining parish/county where a lot of the die-hard racists went to live to avoid school integration. I mean there were some mean folks there, and integration of public places there was slow. But this week about half of the people in that restaurant were black, and not only that, a couple of tables had black and white folks eating together at the same table. I don't think that would have happened even 10 years ago. But things do change when decent people look at themselves and realize, hey, I was wrong.

Felapton --You defended keeping the laws which reflect the view of people who have a glorified image of marriage, even if you didn't defend their image of marriage. Granted, they might have good intentions, but that is hardly justification for allowing their view to dominate the laws. So question should be: what would be justice for gays?

"5. Point: whatever anyone thinks of the merits of gay marriage, why deny that it is not a major shift in how we understand marriage, fidelity, sexual relationships, reproduction, and child-rearing."Ms. S. -- ISTM we really don't know yet the effect of two parents of the same sex on the adoptive children of such couples. There simply have been too few instances of such adoption to make any informed judgment about the benefits to children. On the other hand, there has been more than enough experience of permanent gay unions to know that in other respects their unions are like heterosexual marriage, except for some sexual relations, but whose business is that? So there is no reason at this time to deny gay people at least the other rights of marriage.I must hasten to add that the only child of a gay couple I know seems to be a fine little girl, very well brought up. But I do think that for the children's sake we shouldn't approve full marriage for gays -- yet. Marriage in the old sense of the word -- around which our laws have centered -- is not simply a matter of the friendship of the spouses.

We *do* know the effects of SSA couples on children raised - links at my earlier comment.

Ann Olivier says: "You defended keeping the laws which reflect the view of people who have a glorified image of marriage, even if you didnt defend their image of marriage."I defended keeping laws of some of the people who have a glorified image of marriage. And some of the people whose views I defended have a glorified view of marriage. But you implied that I had defended views of a class of people who are defined by their glorified image of marriage. That is different. For example, if you say, "This blog is frequented by people who sneeze." you imply (1) Most people who frequent the blog sneeze, and (2) With few exceptions people who do not frequent the blog do not sneeze, and (3) Sneezing is somehow relevant to people's decision to frequent the blog. That's why I thought your characterization of my explanation was misleading. People's glorified views of marriage are not relevant. (Neither are historical facts about marriage.) The essential point is that marriage is now generally considered something creditable and beneficial and will soon be expanded to include something discreditable and detrimental. The one is consummated by an act which is believed to sanctify the participants and all society. The other is consummated (in most cases) by an act which is believed to defile the participants and all society.It is not an injustice to treat dissimilar things differently in proportion to the magnitude and nature of the underlying dissimilarity. (The Catechism calls this "just discrimination.") The dissimilarity between sanctity and defilement is not like the dissimilarity between dark skin and light skin. That suggestion is a grotesque, obscene insult to all the people disenfranchised by institutionalized segregation. I'm actually surprised that more liberals do not object to it.

I imagine part of the impasse here - people talking past one another, refusing to admit even the smallest possibility of agreement - may have something to do with the way we view and use language. Generally, with natural languages, the meanings of words and phrases evolve naturally, over long periods of time, by general consensus. Sometimes, though, governments appropriate language and change the official and acceptable meanings of words and phrases to force or accelerate social change. This probably happens wholesale with totalitarian governments, but it also happens in democracies. And in democracies, in which the people often have a large voice in how laws are written and enforced, these changes can come not only from the top, but also from below. Mass movements can compel governments to compel people to change the way they use language.And I think that this is an important part of what's happening here. By changing the meaning of "marriage" - by taking a word that's long had very positive associations and forcing it to include what have long been for many or most very negative associations - an attempt is being made to in effect force language users to start to think positively about things about which they've previously thought negatively.Now that I think of this, it occurs to me that it's so obvious that in our hyper-verbose society there must already have been a fair amount of discussion along these lines, if not in the popular media, at least in academic circles. Is anyone here aware of anything that might be readable by a lay person?

@Mark Proska, polygamy was part of the tradition when it was abolished. If it hadn't been, there would have been no point abolishing it. This is a tautology. (You are right that it was never a part of "our" tradition, because its abolition in the West took place thousands of years ago.)I believe all traditions are tautologically vacuous. Because if there is a good reason for something, nobody calls it a tradition. For example, if somebody asks you why you have an umbrella and it's raining, you say "I am holding this umbrella to keep the rain off my head." But if somebody asks you why your church (basilica) has a ridiculous little umbraculum thing taking up space off in a corner, you have to say, "Oh, that's a tradition." Traditions are things you continue to do even after they stop making sense. At this point in time it is valid to ask whether civil marriage has become or is likely to soon become a mere tradition.

The fixation of bishops on gay marriage may be a pragmatic political calculation: on that question, the population is more or less evenly split, so official voices of the church may hope to influence the outcome. Divorce is a lot cause in the US, but on gay marriage, they may be able to block or at least delay legislation.The fixation of homosexuals on gay marriage is symbolic. Even in France, where they can sign a "PACS", a civil contract that gives them largely the same rights and protections as in marriage, there is still a campaign for gay marriage. They don't just want rights, but also positive recognition of gay couples. The funny thing is that, as an unexpected outcome of the "PACS", heterosexual couples have been choosing that option. The couples who want the legal guarantees of PACS or marriage, but do not want the state to meddle with their symbolic and love life, choose a PACS, and I have read that more than 90% of PACS contracts are between heterosexual couples.

Following up on Claire's comment, above:Pacte civil de solidarit

"The essential point is that marriage is now generally considered something creditable and beneficial and will soon be expanded to include something discreditable and detrimental. The one is consummated by an act which is believed to sanctify the participants and all society. The other is consummated (in most cases) by an act which is believed to defile the participants and all society."Felapton --I am sorry I misinterpreted just what you said.However, I must disagree with the statement above. You seem to be assuming that it is generally believed to defile the participants and all society. I don't think this is generalization is true anymore, at least not in this country. If it were 45% of the population would not be willing to changes the laws.

Felapton, (Here we are again, eh? Let me try it this time without the uncool snark) --You don't have any evidence that gay marriage is "detrimental." "The one is consummated by an act which is believed to sanctify the participants and all society. The other is consummated (in most cases) by an act which is believed to defile the participants and all society."--"the act that is believed to sanctify," you mean like on Jersey Shores (most mainstream media depictions)? The "hetero-intercourse is sacred" ship sailed a long time ago. Gay choosing to commit themselves to each other in love and fidelity would seem to be pushing *against* larger social trends that fail to take sex and marriage seriously. --the passive voice needs to be addressed: "which is believed" by whom? Let's see some stats, please. And why should assumptions about the value of sexual acts other consenting adults might or might not engage in be the government's business when it comes to deciding what adults may enter into a marital contract? This asserted defiling act seems to be focused on gay men--lesbians are off the hook? Please take a look at the CDC Family Growth statistics, as substantial numbers of heterosexual couples engage in anal sex. Apparently much of society doesn't consider "the act" defiling. Why we would be so reductionist as to trivialize gay relationships as defined by, circumscribed by, penises and anuses is beyond me.

"For example, if you say, This blog is frequented by people who sneeze. you imply (1) Most people who frequent the blog sneeze, and (2) With few exceptions people who do not frequent the blog do not sneeze, and (3) Sneezing is somehow relevant to peoples decision to frequent the blog."P. S. For the record. "This blog is frequented by people who sneeze" does not even suggest (2), much less imply it. (People who frequent this blog are people who sneeze" does not imply "People who do not frequent this blog are not people who sneeze.")

@Ann Olivier, yes, you're right. But it does imply (1) and (3) and I think (3) is the main point.

@Ann Olivier: "You seem to be assuming that it is generally believed to defile the participants and all society."No, I would not say "generally believed." I would say "widely believed." Archbishop Dolan, for one, seems to believe it. So does every member of my family and every clergyman I have ever heard express an opinion. It's not a subject that comes up in decent conversation, and that in itself speaks volumes.

Its not a subject that comes up in decent conversation, and that in itself speaks volumes.Felapton,Presumably you are talking about anal intercourse, and your argument is that you and others think it is disgusting. It is not really a very good argument. Almost all of the arguments about how dangerous and disgusting homosexual acts allegedly are don't apply at all to lesbians. In fact, they apply more to heterosexual sex than lesbian sex. Heterosexual sex is not germ free. We don't generally have casual chats about feces, but then, we don't usually have casual chats about urine, either. Or yeast infections, or menstrual blood, or why feminine hygiene sprays are advertised on television. If human beings didn't reproduce heterosexually, penile-vaginal intercourse would no doubt be viewed as disgusting. Freud said, regarding sex and disgust, that a many who would have no hesitation in kissing a pretty girl would no doubt be revolted at the idea of using her toothbrush. Kissing itself isn't all that attractive when referred to as "swapping spit." In terms of the number of bacteria, the mouth is the dirtiest part of the human body.Oral genital contact was considered a perversion not all that long ago. I remember someone from a generation not all that older than mine referring to oral sex as "the worst thing a woman can do." I think your squeamishness about these topics is telling us more about how you feel personally than about how society feels about "defilement."

From Wikipedia

In 1992, a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 26% of men 18 to 59 and 20% of women 18 to 59 had engaged in heterosexual anal sex; a similar 2005 survey (also conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found a rising incidence of anal sex relations in the American heterosexual population. The survey showed that 40% of men and 35% of women between 25 and 44 had engaged in heterosexual anal sex. In terms of overall numbers of survey respondents, seven times as many women as gay men said that they engaged in anal intercourse, with this figure reflecting the larger heterosexual population size.

There are several points being made here that it might be helpful to clarify.What (nice) people think is a huge generalization in a world of changing attitudes.The attitudinal change towards gays is grounded in the notion that that is the way God made them and that is how they express mutual love.That places the Church on the horns of a dilemma -if it accepts that that is the way God made homsexuals (which more and more tend to believe) it seems difficult to deny them a lifelong commitment sttaus.On the other hand, the Church is deeply set in upholding the traditional view of marriage with the classic Augustinian bona, with a strong emphasis on procreation.A lot of that view has collapsed for both good and bad in the minds of many Catholics.What's problematic is that, given the dilemma, the Church has enterred the fray strongly on the political side -a problem because the Church (while its voice should be heard strongly in the public square) should speak cogently in the public square, but it has yet to clearly get through the dilemma.Beyond that (see Boston currently) the same is true at the parish level.Yet (as Anne and others have pointed out) in the changing world, moving forward is possible despite what many might think.

Catching up: Someone asked what the first amendment, religious liberties, issue was with the current legislation. Here is a brief analysis of the problems in the current legislation from a law professors at Washing and Lee sent to a NYState legislator; it also makes mention of the problems, now remedied, in the 2009 bill. http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/70925/religious-protections-...

Bob (6/20, 11:04), change isn't the same as progress, and progress is a subjective idea. A train moving down a track isn't making progress if it is moving because the driver forgot to engage the brakes.Nothing has to happen; we have free will.

Still catching up: Someone asked me to explain the appropriateness of this point. "4. There was a time when all good liberals (including me) and some libertarians and even a few conservatives thought that discouraging single motherhood was a major civil rights issue. Well, guess what? It hasnt turned out to be so wonderful (cf. teenage moms), especially for the kids." This is an argument by analogy: When major shifts in social policy occur, the proponents emphasize the necessity and justice of the change. They do not always foresee the unintended consequences. The policy issue on single mothers had mostly to do with state welfare systems that required a man (preferably a husband) to be present in the household. One of the reasons many women were poor was that they lacked a breadwinner. Changing the rules to allow single/divorced/abandoned mothers direct receipt of welfare payment did away with a genuine hardship and a good deal of subterfuge. The unintended consequence was that younger and younger women (including especially teens) were able to live independently of any caring adult. "Children having children" became a serious social problem (though my impression is that may have abated in recent years); men took advantage of younger women; men were "freed" from the responsibilities of fatherhood, and on and on.What is the analogy to gay marriage? It is that there are unintended consequences that will especially affect children. We may say that adults can take care of themselves, but as my example shows, some adults can't take care of themselves, at least in some respects. Some will object that this is no argument against gay marriage. It is an argument against the widespread idea that this will all turn out for the best. Not likely.

Bob Nunz - Excellent, especially second line. Universal truths are hard to find. Polygamy is practiced today in our US and Canada. It is illegal. See Wikipedia. Appeal to the authority of Abp. Dolan brings to mind his (laughing) conclusion to Morley Safer: ""I'm in one world. You're in the other. I'm glad you're visitin'." Like New York City, his world may be a good place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. On election, he announced "it's not like we're in a crisis". Now, he's surprised to notice life's most basic values under attack in his own home state as has been going on nearby for years. His facility in adapting to the moment raises some questions about his gravitas and actual views on the state of the Church. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/17/60minutes/main20044218_page4.s... Ann O. - Small comfort - The Vatican's reform of ecclesiastical theological faculties, announced in March, "adds a subject: ... logic" to the required curriculum. Perhaps future clergy will help it spread as they did in centuries past. See ratio studiorum and Aristotle et seq. http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2011/03/reform-of-ecclesiastical-studies-... It can be expected to re-affirm that neither appeal to authority nor assertion determines truth.

Finally, someone questions my point about reproductive technologies. Except for adoption, gay couples, who want children, will have to resort to some form of assisted reproduction. Granted it has been developed for infertile heterosexual couples, a whole new clientele encourages practices that ought to be examined more critically and ought to be more highly regulated than they are. Among the Times's stories is the one I posted yesterday about a woman and a child, sperm donored by a man in a gay relationship whose partner (anonymous in the story) joins them for dinner on Sunday, while the donor himself seems to spend four nights a week with mother and child. And one of my favorites in the Times is the story about the gay men who pay a surrogate to conceive and carry a child for them. Why aren't these and other stories examples of my point: a major shift in social policy and social systems that come along with a new definition of marriage?

The proposed Marriage Equality Act also provides no protection for ordinary individuals. Bakers, photographers, seamstresses, florists and B&B owners who, for religious reasons prefer to step aside from celebrating or facilitating same-sex marriages may be subject to suit under New York's Human Rights Act.Perhaps to protect religious sensibilities, same-sex married couples should be required to ring bells wherever they go and cry, "Unclean! Unclean!" It seems to me one thing to allow religious organizations opposed to same-sex marriage to decline to rents space for same-sex weddings or otherwise participate in them. It's another matter grant a religious right to ostracize gay people who want to legally marry. No, we won't sell you flowers. No, we won't bake you cakes. No, we won't take your pictures. No, we won't sew your dress.

"What is the analogy to gay marriage? It is that there are unintended consequences that will especially affect children. We may say that adults can take care of themselves, but as my example shows, some adults cant take care of themselves, at least in some respects. "Sorry, but I still don't understand the analogy. Does the fact that some adults can't care for themselves pertain in any particular way to homosexuals? Also, what are some of these potential unintended consequences affecting children?

Catholic Bishops communication with Catholics in their juresdiction, be it in print or otherwise, is a crucial evangelical instrument. We Catholics need clear direction from church leaders in all matters of faith, and this most certainly applies to the hot-button issues, including the Catholic Churchs truthful designation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (I would add that those who parse the words of the previous sentence are nothing more than charlatans.)Given the above, I respect and value that Cardinal Sean OMalley of the archdiocese of Boston, speaks clearly about the churchs position on marriage. However, were he to become politically involved, the power of his office would be diminished, because, then, he would be using the Word of God for political purposes. As far as I know, God is not a politician, but an all-powerful, all wise, merciful Father, who cares about us more than we can imagine, and transcends political trappings.Indeed, we do need for Catholic Bishops to speak out loud and clearly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, whether or not such a position is culturally popular. The reasons for this position should be clearly taught in Catholic Churches everywhere, but it is not. There is a book on the subject, which I actually learned about from Commonweal, SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY-EMERGING CONFLICTS, by Douglas Laycock, which should be expounded upon from every Catholic pulpit, because, after scientific study, it concludes that same-sex marriage is very much a threat to religious freedom. And THAT is what the Bishops should focus on, whether or not such speech will make those in the pews uncomfortable.To be sure, even such legitimate focus will draw the ire of same-sex marriage proponents; still, their power will be diminished and their cause will garner less sympathy, if citizens comprehend the inherent threat to religious liberty that is intrinsic to same-sex marriage. No matter what, they will attack Catholicism for speaking truthfully; but Catholic leaders will not be wasting time on the subject the positions of particular politicians, nor watering down Catholic Doctrine to become politically correct. Therein Bishops would be addressing the subject objectively, rather than subjectively.

"Whats problematic is that, given the dilemma, the Church has enterred the fray strongly on the political side."Could it not more properly be said the Church has argued on the side of 2.000 years of consistent moral teaching against homosexual acts? I think the Church is being forced to the political side only because opponents of the Church's moral teachings are using political/legal means to undermine those teachings.

"Traditions are things you continue to do even after they stop making sense."Felapton, I prefer the description of tradition as the democracy of the dead. The, uh more traditional definition. Some things do not make any sense at all to us in the moment, but in hindsight, they make perfect sense. Tradition helps in such instances. For example, MOS' point #4.

Howdy, Patricia, Charlatan here. Any chance of getting a rationale-slash-evidence for this: "the inherent threat to religious liberty that is intrinsic to same-sex marriage." See, it's the "intrinsic" and "inherent" parts that don't make sense. Appreciate your laying it out for me. Margaret, do you think gay and lesbian couples are less likely to use reproductive technologies now because they aren't "married"? I definitely share concerns about those technologies, but I just don't see how allowing same-sex marriage substantially increases their use.

AR: "Sorry, but I still dont understand the analogy. Does the fact that some adults cant care for themselves pertain in any particular way to homosexuals? Also, what are some of these potential unintended consequences affecting children?" Unintended consequences for children: Uncertainty about who is their "mother" or "father." Economic, social, psychological, and cultural responsibility for their upbringing. The legal issues surrounding surrogacy and the psychological issues surrounding anonymous sperm donations (and on a smaller scale, egg donations.) The Times had an op-ed Sunday or Saturday of a child conceived through an anonymous sperm donor lamenting some of the outcomes and issues he faces (sorry can't find it right now).Adults get caught up in scenarios that come from shifts in social practices, etc., their economic, political, or educational status makes them unwitting victims. Teenage girls grow up into unwed mothers whose children generally show low educational attainment as well as the more general consequences of poverty. In an non-socialist society like ours their pretty much on their own.I am puzzled by the reluctance of those who seem to favor gay marriage not to recognize that it is a major shift in law and in our social systems. My analogies are intended to show that the enthusiasm for such large changes come with consequences both positive and negative.

@Mark, OK, fair enough. I'm not sure "democracy" works, though. I think a majority of all humans ever born are now alive. Or close to it.

Religious leaders need to become involved in politics from time to time. Politics is the business of changing how people's lives are channeled by the state. If the state proposes making a law that clearly impinges on a person's moral life - directing him to do something immoral, say, or making it difficult to avoid doing something immoral - it's clearly the business of a religious leader to speak out.

Margaret (6/20, 12:26):

I am puzzled by the reluctance of those who seem to favor gay marriage not to recognize that it is a major shift in law and in our social systems.

I imagine it's because they see it as a clear-cut rights issue, a matter of simple fairness. They think you're creating a complication that has no business in this discussion, changing the subject, muddying the water.

"The Times had an op-ed Sunday or Saturday of a child conceived through an anonymous sperm donor lamenting some of the outcomes and issues he faces (sorry cant find it right now)."------That's what I wanted to talk about, too. Very sad piece. (Can't remember which day.)1) Given the biological imperative of males to father as many babies as possible, the first person he should consider is the owner of the clinic. There have already been cases where owners substituted their own genetic material for that advertised and sold as being from others.2) The notion of women and men selling genetic material demonstrates a lack of understanding of what parent/child relationships are about. Maybe the Church and Catholic periodicals should attempt to remedy this with sermons, articles, etc.

I thought my comment was clear: that the church needs to speak in the public square, but it needs to do it cogently and persuasively. And, given the curren tsituation, I don't see that happening.I think talking about unintended consequences while real is also complex.Prior to liberalization of divorce laws, people were thrown in jail for longer periods than violent crimes .Now we have widespread divorce with both good and bad consequences in individual circumstances.We also have lots of people questioning Church rules on marriage/divorce..As Anne would say, "complexity, complexity."

Margaret (6/20 - 12:26):

The Times had an op-ed Sunday or Saturday of a child conceived through an anonymous sperm donor lamenting some of the outcomes and issues he faces (sorry cant find it right now).

Maybe this one?http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/nyregion/an-american-family-mom-sperm-... the first in a series on "nontraditional families".

No David, That's a "news" story; this was on the op-ed page, I thought in the Week in Review, but still can't find it.

And below the online article? An offer to pay $1200 for genetic material.

Mary: "Do you think gay and lesbian couples are less likely to use reproductive technologies now because they arent married? I definitely share concerns about those technologies, but I just dont see how allowing same-sex marriage substantially increases their use."I have no data on same-sex marriage and reproductive technologies; not sure, there is any yet. Any data collectors out there?In any case, the practices have preceded the legalization of gay marriage. Once upon a time, doctors would not use reproductive technologies on unmarried women. Now they do. The pressing edge of that was unmarried women and/or lesbians who wanted children. Today, artificial insemination seems to have become available for anyone who can pay for it. And one or other edition of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," featured a do-it-at home procedure using the sperm of a friendly guy and a turkey baster.

No David, Thats a news story; this was on the op-ed page, I thought in the Week in Review, but still cant find it.

Yes, sorry, I realized that almost as soon as I'd posted it. Found the correct reference and was about to post that, but you'd already done it:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/opinion/19wooten.htmlBasically, all he's saying is:

But babies born of the procedure in the future should have the right to know who their donors are, and even have some contact with them. Sperm donors need to realize that they are fathers.

The example the author cites for his dilemma is having to write for a class an essay on his genealogy, i.e., parents, grandparents, etc. This is not an uncommon assignment to get students to look at history, ethnicity, and immigration. I suppose states can outlaw "anonymous" donations and/or prohibit history and social studies teachers from assigning such essays!Gerelyn: Eggs!!! worth lots more.

The Church is only pointing out what should be obvious to all; that tinkering with one of the oldest building blocks of society is at best, very dangerous.What is the matter with people who think that in order to correct something, that they find it necessary to shred society from end-to-end?Certainly people should be taxed correctly; certainly we can and should update our property and finance laws so gay folks can properly tend to the practical matters of their lives. Nobody should want to make gay folks lives more tedious or difficult than they already are. However that does not mean we should stand by while shallow, nit witted legislators tear down the foundation of human society.

From Paul Moses's post:"The upper half of the diocesan newspapers front page features a color spread with the three senators photos, a yes box on same sex marriage vote next to each ones name. The headline is Shame! Shame! Shame! This front page is essentially a political attack ad."----I thought I could find a copy of that Brooklyn Tablet Sunday afternoon by stopping into a church on 21st Street, Park Slope. Padlocked. Bishop DiMarzio's essay is on the Tablet website, but not the graphics. So, how much of an audience does the bishop have, if the readership are subscribers and some churches that may or may not have copies are locked after Sunday Mass? (

Gerelyn: Eggs!!! worth lots more.--------Yes. A young college student not realize that the resulting baby will be like HER, maybe trapped forever with the genes of a man she would never speak to in real life.Women who are mothers know that they and their children can often read each other's minds. To think of a child being raised by people who look different, think differently, have different talents, abilities, etc., and maybe no capacity to recognize or encourage the talents and abilities of the EGG, . . . As to assigning family trees? Children should be shown how it's done, with ancestry.com, but then made to do one based on a stranger. It's just as interesting. (I was looking up a man the other day, not an ancestor, and I found myself studying the list of sailors who served with him on a ship that carried vehicles from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa in the last months of the war. Hit by kamikaze, etc. I was sooo happy to find that he lived through it and died as an old man with children, grandchildren, etc.)

Hi Joe McMahon,I'm Paul Moses' son and I read the Tablet online and I'm guessing the young Catholic readership my dad was most concerned about was mine. He's certainly right about my reaction to reading the Bishop's column. But even if I hadn't read it in the Tablet, I would've caught the Times' coverage.

Margaret, thanks for the link re problems with the bill's language: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/70925/religious-protections-... think some marital protections for gay couples are inevitable (and, in my view, in the best interests of society as a whole). As a practical matter in understanding how those protections should or should not impinge on religious freedom, the information you provide in the link is critical.

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