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Steinfels & Blankenhorn, talking marriage

As part of the New Conversation on Marriage Initiative at the Institute for American Values, Peter Steinfels recently joined David Blankenhorn for a discussion on whether liberals will help to save marriage (the Institutes Amy Ziettlow, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, also took part). Peter says some nice things about Commonweal, too, before the main event gets underway. You can watch the conversation right here.

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Here's one way to save marriage: stop preventing people who want to take advantage of marriage from doing so.19 STATES ALLOW MARRIAGE EQUALITY OR COMPARABLE STATUS & REPRESENT 40% OF THE TOTAL US POPULATION OF 314 MILLION AND 38% OF THE STATES (including D.C.): New York19.6 millionIowa 3.1 millionWashington 6.9 millionMaine 1.3 millionMassachusetts 6.6 millionD. C. 0.6 millionMaryland 5.9 millionNew Hampshire 1.3 millionNew Jersey 8.9 millionVermont 0.6 millionDelaware 0.9 million 55.7 million (18% of total US population)California (CU)38.0 millionWisconsin (CU) 5.7 millionIllinois (CU) 12.9 millionHawaii (CU) 1.4 millionNevada (CU) 2.8 millionRhode Island (CU) 1.1 millionConnecticut (CU) 3.6 millionColorado (CU) 5.2 million 70.7 million (23 % of total US population)TOTAL: 126.4 million 40 % of total US populationPending:Minnesota 5.4 million

CU = Civil Unions or equivalent, i.e., Domestic Partnership.

How can mere liberals save marriage when powerful conservatives in South Carolina line up against the very idea?

Tom: The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

So R R Reno of First Things says Catholic liberals are a drag on Catholic marriage!!. So he thinks that my wife and I working 58 years as liberals in Catholic marriage ministry, both as volunteers and professionals, were a drag on marriage. I say that his narrow thinking, his predjudice, and his religious bickering is a good example of the how the right wing hate machine can't help having their odd reactionary political notions slop over into their religious stances. Stienfels indentifies himself as I indentfy myself..A liberal...And he reminds us that liberalism was the 100 year old liberal engine that brought life to the labor movement, Racial equality movement, Feminist movement, anti-war movement and now the gay rights movement. I say ALL these movements were opposed by conservative money and conservative violence and Catholic liberals were always in the front ranks..First Things could use a change in branding... Smae Old Same Old ....is my suggestion. ..

Maybe they should call themselves Yesterday's Things.

What we really need to do is address ALL the issues connected with marriage, namely:1. Ersatz marriage is not marriage: homosexuals cannot marry any more than triangles can claim, in the name of "geometric equality," to be four-sided;2. The Church needs to speak clearly to heterosexuals about their violations of marriage, most especially a. challenging the culture of divorce, which makes monogamy into practically serial polygamy; b. challenging the culture of contraception, which -- as Paul VI prophetically predicted -- severs the marital and parental nexus, the original rupture that makes sterile homosexual "marriage" palatable.

To John's remarks:I know we would disagree mightily on theology of marriage and its history and range within humanity and the Chrstian disposition, but perhaps we can agree that it good that adults who love another are willing to commit themselves to each other in monogamous and sacrifical love?

John: you, like so many other people, conflate the sacrament of matrimoney with secular marriage that imparts secular rights, benefits, and responsibilities.The former is not what 99% of the LGBT communities are wanting, also some do wish to find a religious ceremony that meets their needs. The latter is something that should be open to all couples (no one is arguing for polygamy, bestiality, incest for any of the other right-wing bugaboos) because these secular rights and benefits are paid for by all, not just certain religionists.If matrimony in the US is so very fragile that it cannot live with the difference -- as it does in many European countries ... then it is in much worse shape that you realize.

About the gay marriage issue, I was struck by a comment I read: "I think it's the first time I see such mutual incomprehension, within French politics, at least since the right-agains-left ideological gap of the late 70's." Indeed, I don't comprehend it at all, and particularly not the role of Catholics - that's my community, and I ought to be able to at least understand. But I don't. People's reactions have that almost normal but slightly crazy touch that is the mark of surrealism. I'm half expecting to wake up.

Back to the US:http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/minnesota-house-passes-marriage-equ... House Passes Marriage Equality Bill, 75-59The Senate will vote and is expected to pass the bill Monday, and Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will sign it. Minnesota would be the 12th state, plus DC, with marriage equality.

If I were ever to marry, I would have trouble producing the locution "my husband", but I do know men who happily use it; and after all most loving husbands and wives call their spouses silly things. I never heard a man call his wife a triangle, so I think Fr Grondelski is a bit off when he writes: "homosexuals cannot marry any more than triangles can claim, in the name of geometric equality, to be four-sided." Then his claim that it's all about contraception, "the original rupture that makes sterile homosexual marriage palatable" quite misses the experience of many heterosexual sterile couples as well as all couples past childbearing age. He should read Genesis 2, the oldest account of monogamy that there is; there he will discover that God created the spouse as a companion for Adam, with no mention whatever of producing kids.

Claire, I share your experience of the surreal French debate -- I was shocked once or twice when chatting with "liberal" Catholic friends to see them fly off the handle when the idea of gay marriage was raised. I walked in a pro-marriage parade and found it very good-natured, though I did not like the surrogate mother float and its irreverent references to the BVM. I think the debates in the French parliament showed the different styles of the two sides. To some extent the gay marriage side just proceeds dogmatically, confident that history and common sense are on their side, but the opposition though clamoring for debate refuse to descend to actual debate or argument, instead wasting precious parliamentary time (in a country in deep crisis on every front!) and in the end resorting to fisticuffs. Francois Hollande may be a bore but he is an excellent leader for the gay marriage cause, whereas the best the antis could come up with is the louche dancer and exhibitionist Frigide Barjot. (In fact the pro-marriage group have no high-profile spokesperson, oddly enough. There was no leader in the parade I took part in, that I noticed)

John,If you "marry" two triangles, the output will have four sides.Just sayin.'

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