The Things We Share

A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage

There's this guy I know in Manhattan. Call him Jim. Jim Watson. We’re friends, I guess. We used to be friends, anyway—grabbing a hamburger together near Gramercy Park, from time to time, or meeting out on the Stuyvesant Town Oval on a summer afternoon to play some folk and bluegrass with the guitar strummers, mandolin pickers, autoharpers, and amateur banjo players who’d drift by. None of us any good, but fun, you know? Old-timey Americana like “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Pretty Saro,” and “The Orphan Girl.” A version of “Shady Grove,” I remember, was one of his specialties: When I was just a little boy, / all I wanted was a Barlow knife. / But now I am a great big boy, / I’m lookin’ for a wife.

A few years ago, his friendship began to cool, bit by bit. You understand how it is: a little here, a little there, and last time I was through New York he didn’t even bother to answer my note suggesting we put together one of our low-rent urban hootenannies. The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay.

Well, actually, gay isn’t the word he would use. I have what might be the worst ability to recognize sexual orientation on the planet, but no one needed sensitivity to guess Jim’s views. Not that he was campy or anything when I knew him, but he was always vocal about his sexuality, naming himself loudly to anyone nearby with words that polite society allows only in ironic use by gay men themselves.

Anyway, Jim gradually started to take our difference personally, growing increasingly angry first at the Catholic Church for its opposition to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage and then at Catholics themselves for belonging to such a church. His transformation didn’t come from any personal desire to marry—or, at least, from any desire he ever articulated or I could see.

But then, I’ve already mentioned how blind I can be, and maybe a hunger to marry was gnawing at his heart. However much the culture piously proclaims the equivalence of all lifestyles, a vision of the lonely bachelor’s deathbed can begin to haunt any man. We could talk here of what even back in the 1820s Schopenhauer insisted was the woe in marriage, but we can’t deny the sheer companionable comfort that marriage seems to promise as well: the hope that we won’t grow old and die alone, the hope that the good life and good death of Baucis and Philemon (in Ovid’s wonderful old myth about the gods rewarding an aging couple) might still be available—for me, for you, for any of us.

Still, as Jim began to formulate the emerging thought, his anger wasn’t for himself but for his people: exactly as though sexual desire had created an ethnic group that was the source of his deepest, truest self-identity. Measured by the lifetime of most cultural upheavals in American history, the debate about same-sex marriage has risen to its current prominence with astonishing speed. But rise it did, like the sun, becoming the symbolic issue around which a whole galaxy of moral impulses, political aims, social discontents, and personal grievances seem to gravitate. And my friend Jim found himself, like many others, pulled into that orbit.

Fair enough, I suppose. Certainly, without an expressed desire to be married himself, Jim’s support for same-sex marriage was at least partly free from the grating self-interest, the fallacy of special pleading, that infects too many declarations on the topic. When we’re told—as we were, for example in the spring of 2013—that the conservative Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) now supports same-sex marriage because he’s discovered that his son is gay, it may have a certain rhetorical effectiveness. And so too when a gay-rights activist speaks emotionally of the personal sorrows he suffered during the time he was unable to marry. But even when offered in service of something we agree with, doesn’t that kind of personal fact deployed as argument reduce public discourse to little more than self-interest and self-importance? The sexuality of Portman’s son doesn’t strengthen the logic of the senator’s new position; it weakens it, when offered as the reason for Portman’s changed views.

 

IT'S A LITTLE ODD, I realize, to press an argument against special pleading while writing a personal essay—especially one that opens with a plaint about a decaying friendship. But Jim’s increasing anger, the manner and the timing of it, at least helped bring into focus for me the question of what purposes the fight over same-sex marriage has been serving.

Not the fact of the legality of same-sex marriage, exactly. That ship has already sailed, as well it ought to have. By July 2013, thirteen states had already recognized it, and under any principle of governmental fairness available today, the equities are all on the side of same-sex marriage. There is no coherent jurisprudential argument against it—no principled legal view that can resist it. The Supreme Court more or less punted this June in its marriage cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, but it was a punt that signaled eventual victory for advocates of same-sex marriage. And by ruling in Windsor that Section 3 of DOMA (the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional, the justices made it clear that the court will not stand in the way of the movement’s complete triumph. We are now at the point where, I believe, American Catholics should accept state recognition of same-sex marriage simply because they are Americans.

For that matter, plenty of practical concerns suggest that the bishops should cease to fight the passage of such laws. Campaigns against same-sex marriage are hurting the church, offering the opportunity to make Catholicism a byword for repression in a generation that, even among young Catholics, just doesn’t think that same-sex activity is worth fighting about. There’s a reasonable case to be made that the struggle against abortion is slowly winning, but the fight against public acceptance of same-sex behavior has been utterly lost.

I find these practical considerations compelling, just as I think most ordinary Catholics do. The church in America today is in its weakest public position since agitation about Irish and Italian immigration in the 1870s prompted thirty-eight states to pass anti-Catholic Blaine amendments to their constitutions. A great deal of goodwill was built up by Catholic work in the 1980s and 1990s, from John Paul II’s successful campaign to “live in truth” by opposing Soviet Communism to the prestige of Mother Teresa’s work with the poorest in India. But the goodwill disappeared in a flash, just over a decade ago, with the Boston Globe’s 2002 stories of the horrifying priest scandals.

Regardless of the church-bashing uses to which some commentators put the news, the central fact of the scandals remains: a corruption, a horror, and an outrage, which many bishops tried criminally to bury in their bureaucracies. And major effects of the scandal included feeding the schadenfreude and sense of victory among anti-Catholics, wiping out the moral stature of the church in the mind of the American public, and eliminating the respect in which the seriousness of Catholic ideas was once held even by those who thought that such seriousness began with mistaken premises and arrived at false conclusions. In the context of the deserved contempt that followed, what kind of loony, pie-eyed judgment could lead the bishops to engage in a sex-based public-policy debate they are doomed to lose—feeding mockery of the church while engaged in the expensive process of losing that fight?

An easy answer is that America’s bishops have not always been famous for their skill at predicting public reaction. But the more serious response is that the bishops hold exactly what’s held by everyone from the Communist Party to the NRA, Occupy Wall Street to National Right to Life: Prudential and practical concerns direct how one fights in public but not why one fights. If a legal regime is wrong, then it’s wrong. And however much the culture despises and punishes those who resist its judgments, somebody needs to rise up and say we’re going to hell in a hand-basket if that is indeed where the culture seems to be going.

Like most Americans, I’ve always had a sneaking admiration for those who resist cultural consensus—the gadflies, curmudgeons, and cranks—however idiotically they choose their fights. And given the social and historical prominence of their ecclesial positions, and the confidence in same-sex marriage among the young and the cultural elite, the American bishops have chosen what these days can only be called the countercultural side in opposing civil recognition of same-sex marriage in America. They cannot have done so for prudential reasons, for every such consideration is against them. Rather, they have taken their position, the place at which they make their stand, for the simple reason that they think same-sex marriage is philosophically wrong: damaging to the individual and destructive for society.

In other words, the bishops are not going to be convinced to end their hopeless fight by some casual appeal to cultural consensus or a feel-good call to join the winning side. And if we appreciate a willingness to be countercultural, how can we ask them to do so for those reasons?

In June 2012, David Blankenhorn took to the New York Times with an interesting op-ed titled “How My View on Gay Marriage Changed.” To read Blankenhorn’s books—especially his 1995 Fatherless America—is to think him the nation’s leading commentator on the social importance of marriage. And he opened his op-ed with his long-held view that “marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social, and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.”

Same-sex relationships, he noted, cannot by their nature fulfill the biological condition in his deep definition of marriage. But against that fact, he set three considerations that led him to support same-sex marriage: equal treatment (“legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness”), comity (“we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise”), and respect for the emerging consensus on the topic (“most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage”).

I understand the point, and I suspect that Blankenhorn and I, like many others, are arriving at much the same place. But the Blankenhorn line leaves me unsatisfied. It’s not enough for a Catholic to say that legal fairness and social niceness compel us. We have a religion of intellectual coherence, too, and the moral positions we take have to comport with the whole of the moral universe. That’s the reason for trying to be serious—for demanding that the unity of truth apply, and that ethical claims cannot be separated from their metaphysical foundations.

If there is no philosophical or theological reasoning that leads to Catholic recognition of civil same-sex marriage, then we’re simply arguing about what’s politic. What’s fair and nice. What flows along the channels marked out by the dominant culture. We’re merely suggesting that Catholics shouldn’t make trouble. And how is that supposed to convince anyone who holds intellectual consistency at more than a pennyweight?

 

I DON'T MEAN to hide this essay’s conclusions. Where we’re going with all this is toward a claim that the thin notions of natural law deployed against same-sex marriage in recent times are unpersuasive, and, what’s more, they deserve to be unpersuasive—for their thinness reflects their lack of rich truth about the spiritual meanings present in this created world. Indeed, once the sexual revolution brought the Enlightenment to sex, demythologizing and disenchanting the Western understanding of sexual intercourse, the legal principles of equality and fairness were bound to win, as they have over the last decade: the only principles the culture has left with which to discuss topics such as marriage.

And so, I argue, a concern about the government’s recognizing of same-sex marriage ought to come low on the list of priorities as the church pursues the evangelizing of the culture. For that matter, after the long hard work of restoring cultural sensitivity to the metaphysical meanings reflected in all of reality, Catholics will have enough experience to decide what measure of the deep spirituality of nuptials, almost absent in present culture, can reside in same-sex unions.

But before we reach for those conclusions, there remains, I think, a question religious believers must ask: a prior question of whether the current agitation really derives from a wish for same-sex marriage, or whether the movement is an excuse for a larger campaign to delegitimize and undermine Christianity.

The question is not an idle one. Yes, American culture, through the devices of American capitalism, has repeatedly proved its ability to adapt to social changes, reshaping them into middle-class norms. This was exactly the complaint of the activist Donna Minkowitz back in 1994. Bruce Bawer had just published A Place at the Table, his plaintive call for national acceptance of a bourgeois gay lifestyle, and Minkowitz raged against it as a betrayal, a co-opting, of the true radicalism of the gay and lesbian movement. “We don’t want a place at the table,” she announced on Charlie Rose’s national television program. “We want to turn the table over.”

In the years since, the radical wing lost badly the fight to be the public face of the movement, but Minkowitz’s successors have hardly been shy about their desire to use the visibility of the same-sex marriage debate as an opportunity to damage public perception of Christianity. And watch, for instance, the downstream effect on someone like Patrick B. Pexton, who used his Washington Post ombudsman’s column in February 2013 to explain that journalists like himself “have a hard time giving much voice to those opposed to gay marriage”—because “they see people opposed to gay rights today as cousins, perhaps distant cousins, of people in the 1950s and 1960s who, citing God and the Bible, opposed black people sitting in the bus seat, or dining at the lunch counter, of their choosing.”

One wonders what the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., would have had to say about this interpretation of the civil-rights movement as fundamentally an overcoming of Christianity. But if that’s what the same-sex marriage movement is really about—the redefinition of history as Christian oppression, the rereading of even success stories like the civil-rights movement as tales of defeating Christian evil, all for the purpose of cutting off the religious roots of Western civilization—then to hell with it.

To hell with it, as well, if the campaign for same-sex marriage has anti-Catholicism as one of its major causes, or a feeding of anti-Catholicism as one of its welcome effects. Well through the nineteenth century, the church often seemed as much a refuge as those who felt same-sex desire were likely to find. There are reasons that Oscar Wilde, for example, returned to the church after his public trials, and they involve his aesthetic sense of the capacious Catholic understanding of sin and grace in a fallen world: the beauty of European Catholic medievalism, matched with a sophisticated, confessional-trained understanding of the real pressures under which human beings labor.

In Protestant America, however, a word like sophisticated (to say nothing of confessional) was more a denunciation than mild praise of practical wisdom. Catholics sometimes exaggerate the extent to which they were oppressed by their WASP overlords, but they are not wrong that suspicion of Rome is one of the small but constant motors on which our national story has run.

By the late 1960s, some of the fuel for that motor was still coming from the far right, among the traditionalists keeping alive the antique quarrels of the Reformation. And some was coming from the far left, among the radicals who saw the Vatican as a hindrance to either the communist future of the world or the transformation of human nature through the sexual revolution. At least a little anti-Catholicism, however, remained in the central current of American elite culture, among the heirs of the old Protestant consensus.

They stripped out much of the doctrinal Christianity, of course; the general collapse of the mainline Protestant churches is one of the most fascinating historical trends in the past fifty years. But the elites kept that curious mainline class-based combination of a nobly wide ethical concern and an infuriatingly self-confident assertion of moral ascendancy. And to listen to its current members is to get the feeling that they may have also kept, and even reinvigorated, the good old-fashioned, all-American anti-Catholicism and suspicion of Rome. If the campaign for same-sex marriage is just a further development in this historical line, then the theological argument isn’t worth making. Isn’t worth even trying to develop.

 

THINK OF IT THIS way: The funny thing is that, back when I first knew him, my gay friend Jim Watson was more conservative than I was. Or more Republican, at any rate. My writings against the death penalty, for instance, produced nothing except a snort from him. He hated the huge tax bite of New York City, municipal taxes piled on state and federal, and the best way to turn him away from his let’s-embarrass-strangers-with-my-sexuality game was to mention Manhattan’s rent control—provoking a free-market tirade that was good for at least fifteen minutes of soap-box statistics. It bored me, but then my vociferous opposition to legalized abortion probably bored him, and affectionately putting up with each other’s crotchets may be as good a description of friendship as we’re likely to find in this fallen world.

Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bawer, Michael Lind, even David Brock—the 1990s had its share of avowedly conservative or libertarian commentators who were also more or less openly gay or activists for gay causes. Sullivan, for instance, is a disciple of the British political theorist Michael Oakeshott, and I remember reading a passage in which Sullivan was willing to put (even though he disagreed with it) a fair statement of a political-theory rejection of same-sex marriage. To be conservative, Oakeshott had famously written, “is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.” No culture has ever fully embraced same-sex marriage; every culture has understood that marriage, through heterosexual procreation, touches the deepest and least-understood structures by which civilization survives. And this wide testimony from human experience, together with the dangers of meddling in the unknown, ought to make us hesitate.

By somewhere around the midterm elections of 2002, those conservatives had generally disappeared from mainstream conservatism. (Or, at least, the male ones had. Interestingly, the Libertarian, Catholic, and Straussian lesbians tended to remain, many of them still writing for conservative publications.)

Some gay conservatives would later insist that they had been pushed out of public-intellectual conservatism by what they believed were bigoted Evangelicals—the people a conservative movement needs to attract to overcome the large Democratic voting blocs. A good example might be the argument, through the 1990s and 2000s, against allowing gay and lesbian anti-abortion groups a place in prolife marches and strategy meetings. And there are still portions of the Republican world that suffer no dissent on social issues. Just this year, I was invited to give a small talk on faith at CPAC, the enormous annual conservative convention in Washington—and then disinvited, my time given over to someone safer on the topic of marriage.

Other gays seem to have felt the pressure more on the inside, finding it impossible to hold both support for same-sex marriage and any political theory that rejects same-sex marriage. But regardless of the cause, they nearly all disappeared from conservative discussions precisely at the time the issue grew in public importance, and I doubt that there was a single one who didn’t vote for Democratic candidates in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

My friend Jim Watson certainly became a functional Democrat, suppressing his fiscal conservatism to vote for Barack Obama as the official candidate of gays. A relatively wealthy man who inherited trust-fund money from his grandparents, he stopped giving to conservative candidates and even gay groups like Log Cabin Republicans, transferring his election-year donations to left-leaning same-sex-marriage organizations and Democratic office-seekers.

Along the way, Jim also picked up a case of virulent anti-Catholicism. I suspect that there genuinely exist activists who welcome same-sex marriage as part of the great destructiveness of the Enlightenment project: a blow against whatever medieval Christian ideas still linger in modernity. I also suspect that they are a minority, and Western culture will prove, as it has so often before, resilient enough to absorb same-sex marriage—turning it possibly into an aid to, but at least not a further weakening of, the endangered culture of marriage.

Still, I can’t ignore the changes in Jim. In the first years I knew him, he would speak of the Catholic Church as something like a batty great-aunt: crazy, of course, but fondly indulged. He admired the solemnity of the Mass, in the abstract, together with the beauty of the church’s long deposit of art and architecture. The dedication of hospice nuns invariably made him quote Santayana’s wistful line, “There is no God, and Mary is his mother.” Without a religious bone in his body, as far as I could tell, he nonetheless appreciated the seriousness of Catholic intellectuals, even if the church’s continuing ability to attract any intellectuals seemed to him one of the mysteries of the age.

A decade or so later, and all that was gone. The Catholic Church now appeared to him genuinely evil, and Catholic intellectualism an entirely malignant force, born mostly from hatred of gays in general and even, at his most paranoid, of him personally. The long denunciations of the bishops’ contrarian and countercultural leadership had taken its toll. The old ACT-UP protests over condoms hadn’t moved him, but the same-sex marriage agitation pushed him over the edge—until I do not believe Jim can now be conciliated even by something like the Catholic case for same-sex marriage. Nothing but the total eradication of the Catholic Church, its complete repudiation by its members, will satisfy him. Ecclesia delenda est, I can picture him mumbling to himself as he paces through New York. The church must be destroyed.

 

ONE MORE ASIDE before we arrive at the argument for same-sex marriage—not a mea culpa exactly, but an attempt to examine my own conscience, for even as I write this personal essay, I’m growing uneasy with the petulant and aggrieved way it is presenting the idea that anti-Catholicism was one of the purposes of, or at least one of the bonuses for, the cultural elites who took up the cause of same-sex marriage.

I’ve made it sound, for example, as though the fading of my friendship with Jim came entirely from his side. Actually, it did, considered purely as a private matter. If only the personal were the political, as the 1970s feminists used to claim, then Jim and I wouldn’t have had much more than an abstract disagreement. Unfortunately, often enough, the political becomes the personal, and Jim had public activities for which to blame me.

I did not believe then, as I do not believe now, that opposition to same-sex marriage must, by its nature, derive from (or issue in) hatred of gays and lesbians—else one would never see pieces like Doug Mainwaring’s “I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage,” which appeared in March 2013 to argue, “In our day, prejudice against gays is just a very faint shadow of what it once was. But the abolition of prejudice against gays does not necessarily mean that same-sex marriage is inevitable or optimal. There are other avenues available, none of which demands immediate, sweeping, transformational legislation or court judgments.”

Still, in the current state of the public square, opposition to same-sex marriage gets portrayed (and thereby perceived) as hatred. And if I have felt old friends pull away from me over the issue, then I also have to admit that they must have felt my occasional public work on the topic to be the equivalent from my side. To be my breaking off friendship with them. To be an attack on them individually in what they take as part of their very existence.

I think I met Bruce Bawer once at a poetry festival or a magazine party, but maybe not, and regardless I can’t say I know him. Still, perhaps we could use him as an example here—for I recall being taken aback when I came across an interview in which he declared me fundamentally unchristian, some years after my negative review of his 1996 anthology, Beyond Queer: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy. Insofar as I remember the book, I still think Beyond Queer was not great work. For that matter, even though Bawer is an admirable poet and interesting author of nonfiction, he has surely received other unflattering reviews. But what I hadn’t considered is the way disagreement over this particular topic feels intensely personal: perceived not as rejection of a public position but rejection of how one understands the self.

We could probably work up an indictment of the media, identity politics, and the grievance industry for this perception (as Bawer himself has in other contexts): turning even slight deviations from the accepted position into occasions for full-blown accusations of bigotry. But why bother? Hot or cold, the water in which we find ourselves is the water in which we have to swim. The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes a distinction between same-sex orientation and same-sex activity that might have once seemed intelligible, even commonsensical. But the distinction has absolutely no purchase today. And what good does it do to complain—as does, for example, Ryan T. Anderson, the sharpest of the younger activists now working against same-sex marriage—that the distinction somehow ought to have purchase?

Some of the perceived offense may have come from inattention. In 2011, the Washington Times asked me for a little piece celebrating the anniversary of the classic 1981 BBC mini-series version of Brideshead Revisited. And after its publication, David Boaz, the gay-marriage supporter from the libertarian Cato Institute, dropped me a note taking me to task for using the word “homosexuals” instead of “gays” in my opening description of the series’ reception. He understood that I was trying to recapture the tone of those early 1980s days, when homosexuals was still more or less the polite term of reference. But we are long past all that, he insisted, and I should realize that the word, taken as a generic noun, had picked up enough negative connotations that writers ought not to employ it even in a historical way.

I think I replied with a casual apology and a hackneyed quip about how one should never give offense unless one actually means it. But I didn’t mean personal offense with any work I did on same-sex subjects—and still I managed to give offense.

How rarely the subject actually came up surprises me now, looking back. In the hundreds of essays, poems, and reviews I published over those years, opposition to legalized abortion and rejection of the death penalty are constant themes. Raging themes, to the point where I probably lost most of even the best-willed readers. But gay topics? A brief contribution as the token Catholic in a little-noticed symposium in Newsweek. A 2004 editorial co-written with Bill Kristol. A review of Bawer’s anthology in the Weekly Standard. Another of Andrew Holleran’s depressing novel The Beauty of Men. And not much else that I can still find.

In my editorial jobs at the Weekly Standard and First Things, of course, I came to know some of the people fighting same-sex marriage. Ryan T. Anderson, for example, co-author of the widely discussed, career-defining 2011 essay “What Is Marriage?” in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Later expanded into a book, it remains the clearest, most cogent defense of traditional marriage. David Orgon Coolidge, too, founder of the Marriage Law Project before his untimely death in 2002: Richard John Neuhaus helped raise money to support Dave’s work, and we would often sit together and drink at Fr. Neuhaus’s innumerable theological and social-policy meetings.

I was much under the influence of the Christian poetics of W. H. Auden in those days—a man who, though gay himself, hated organized homosexuality: “the Homintern,” he mockingly named the gay establishment in poetry (playing off the Comintern, the international arm of party-line Soviet policy). Under the influence, for that matter, of the suspicions of attempts to claim victimhood expressed by René Girard—the contemporary writer who most formed my mental universe. Then, too, as the mantle of gay rights passed from the wild contrarians and countercultural figures of its early days to become the received view of the entire elite liberal class, it came to seem increasingly bland and uninteresting, with little in it tempting me to reject the general conservative position.

“At times one remains faithful to a cause,” Nietzsche writes, “only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.” It’s a sad observation of human behavior, but who among us hasn’t been guilty of it? “Same-sex marriage is the great civil-rights struggle of our time,” a young newspaper writer grandly announced to me in 2009. She had come to interview me for some article she was planning, but she spent most of her time lecturing me on how immoral it is that anyone opposes the right of gays to marry.

As it happens, when I asked, she proved to know almost nothing about the controversy: hadn’t read the legal decisions, hadn’t followed the arguments, hadn’t examined DOMA, hadn’t even tried to keep up. Only the warmth of her conviction of her own moral superiority seemed necessary, and I remember thinking: This is supposed to persuade me? Insipid self-righteousness—delivered in exactly the hectoring tones with which her Protestant great-grandparents would have lectured me about lack of Catholic support for Prohibition?

At the same time, looking back, I can see that even in my editorial choices I was avoiding the topic. Not entirely: there are some pieces the institutional weight of a magazine simply won’t let an editor refuse. But generally I turned down pieces on same-sex topics—and I did so by telling myself I found the subject dull. That’s an editor’s privilege, of course, and a lot of the thinking genuinely was dull. Dull as dishwater, gray from all the old, similar writing that had already been washed in it. But the avoidance was also, I now realize, a species of dishonesty: an unwillingness to sit down and decide what I really thought about it all.

Not that the world was waiting breathlessly for my nattering asseverations on the topic—and, anyway, the moment for being genuinely serious about same-sex marriage may have passed while I wasn’t looking. Or while I was refusing to look.

Still, it all came to a head for me when, one morning down in Lansdowne, Virginia, Chuck Colson woke up with a plan to gather every religious leader he could find and decry the destruction of Christian culture in America—promising civil disobedience, if necessary. The outcome was The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, a manifesto issued in November 2009 that equated abortion, same-sex marriage, and intolerance of religion, and vowed to oppose any mainstream consensus that licensed them. Dozens of important religious figures met with Chuck Colson in New York to become the initial signers, and The Manhattan Declaration would go on to find half a million additional signatories.

One of the problems with the document was that none of the people on the drafting committee—Chuck himself, Princeton’s Robert P. George, and the very smart Baptist divinity-school dean Timothy George—were primarily writers. They were activists and teachers who happened to write, sometimes (as in Robby George’s 1995 book Making Men Moral) with real skill. But the genuine literary talent behind an entire generation’s set of manifestos had been Richard John Neuhaus—first as a Christian protester against segregation and Vietnam, and then as a Christian neoconservative. And with Richard’s death from cancer earlier in 2009, they had to produce The Manhattan Declaration in his absence.

The result would prove turgid, politically clumsy, and strangely disorganized. Just as there’s a rule in some online discussion groups that you’ve automatically lost an argument if you compare your opponents to the Nazis, so there ought to be a rule in public discourse that you’ve guaranteed your failure if you compare modern America to the decline of Ancient Rome. But that’s how the declaration opened, and as it wandered through its various complaints about the nation, it came to seem more and more a laundry list in search of a thesis: there’s bad stuff out there, people hate us, and it all adds up to, well, a picture—a modern reflection of the moral collapse of Rome from the stern glories of the republic to the satyricon of the empire.

I spoke to Chuck privately about the draft several times, urging him to reorganize it and tone it down, but he was too enamored of the frisson of rebellion in its call for civil disobedience to agree. Finally, at the New York meeting, I got up and announced publicly my unease: The equating of these three concerns is a mistake; not only do the possible negative results of same-sex marriage fail to match the horrors of abortion, but religious freedom isn’t even the same kind of thing. It’s like equating a small weed to a giant sequoia—and then lumping them both together with an umbrella. The entire text needs to be recast, I said. If the document has to threaten civil disobedience, then it ought to be about freedom: religious Americans may accept a culture that recognizes same-sex marriage, but they hereby announce that they will not accept a legal regime that uses same-sex marriage as a wrecking ball with which to knock down every religious building in the public square.

And in response, Maggie Gallagher stood up in that crowded room to call me a coward—or, at least, she declared that any reduction in the status of the fight over same-sex marriage was a counsel of cowardice, born from a fear that same-sex marriage was inevitable. A writer and activist, former president of the National Organization for Marriage, Gallagher has always struck me as a fearless and contrarian figure, and in this case, I think, she was correct.

Oh, not about the law: the legal victory of same-sex marriage actually was inevitable; not a single persuasive legal argument emerged against it in the courts. But right in her accusation of cowardice—although maybe not in quite the way she thought. My worry with The Manhattan Declaration wasn’t about the consequences of defeat, as Gallagher suggested; if something is wrong, you oppose it even though the heavens fall. But cowardice about my own mind, yes: my profamily friends were a strong public-intellectual force opposed to abortion, and I went along with them on same-sex marriage mostly because I lacked the seriousness and strength of mind to work through it for myself. I was just like that young woman journalist I found so insipid and self-righteous for pronouncing uncritically the views of her class.

In the end, my friends...but why should I continue to blame them for my own fault? In the end, I let myself be talked into publishing the (only slightly altered) document, despite my objections—talked into becoming one of the original signers of The Manhattan Declaration myself. It was a mistake, and one I regret.

 

LET'S TURN AT LAST to the actual intellectual questions raised by same-sex marriage. At the time Americans were waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the two pending marriage cases, Catholics were waiting to see if the new reign of Pope Francis would signal any change in the church’s views. And if, as I suggested earlier, the Supreme Court basically punted when it handed down its opinions on June 26, the pope refused to punt at all when he promulgated his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, on July 5.

There’s something in the new encyclical to disappoint everyone who longs for direct political action from the Vatican. Those who were hoping that a radically leftist Pope Francis would repudiate what they saw as the radically rightist work of his predecessor are bound to be saddened. A draft was prepared under Benedict XVI before his retirement on February 28, and Francis himself has described the completed document as written with “four hands”—Benedict’s and his own.

At the same time, disappointment must haunt those who hoped that a radically traditional Francis—a lifelong churchman instead of an academic theologian like his predecessor—would step back from the softness of Benedict’s economics and confront the world with the hardest edges of the institutional church. Faith is at “the service of justice, law, and peace,” Francis insists. We need it “to devise models of development which are based not simply on utility and profit, but consider creation as a gift for which we are all indebted.” Yes, he notes, all “authority comes from God,” but it is meant for “the service of the common good.”

Not since John Paul II’s great crusade against Soviet Communism has the Vatican been easily classifiable by the world’s political categories, despite the incessant effort of the world, left and right alike, to pin the church with those categories. That unclassifiability may be the best way to understand our new pope. He is an advocate of the poor who opposed many of the Argentinian government’s programs for the poor. A social activist who cannot be counted on to support social reform. A churchman who refused the elaborate trappings of his office even while he promoted the power of the church. A radical who rejects the state power and cultural change demanded by the secular left. A traditionalist who despises the accumulation of wealth and libertarian freedoms praised by the secular right. No attempt to impose liberal and conservative definitions on him will succeed. Pope Francis simply won’t fit in those categories.

Still, in Lumen Fidei he grants the faithful Catholic little room to maneuver on same-sex marriage. In “Faith and the Family,” section 52 of the encyclical, he calls the family the “first setting in which faith enlightens the human city”—a political-theory reading of the church’s interest in the institution. Indeed, “I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage,” he explained. “This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom, and loving plan.” In marriage, “a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith.... Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person.”

But perhaps Francis does offer us an opportunity to think about marriage in terms of the politically unclassifiable that constitutes much of Catholic teaching. The stony ground on which the church must sow is the landscape created by the sexual revolution. Made possible by the pill, accelerated by legalized abortion, aided by easy pornography, that revolution actually needs none of these any longer to survive, because they never defined it. They merely allowed it, and the completed change is now omnipresent. The revolution is not just in the way we use our bodies. It’s in the way we use our minds.

One understanding of the sexual revolution—the best, I think—is as an enormous turn against the meaningfulness of sex. Oh, I know, it was extolled by the revolutionaries as allowing real experimentation and exploration of sensation, but the actual effect was to disconnect sex from what previous eras had thought the deep stuff of life: God, birth, death, heaven, hell, the moral structures of the universe, and all the rest.

The resulting claim of amorality for almost any sexual behavior except rape reflects perhaps the most fascinating social change of our time: the transfer of the moral center of human worry about the body away from sex and onto…well, onto food, I suppose. The only moral feeling still much attached to sex is the one that has to hunt far and wide for some prude, any prude, who will still condemn an aspect of sexual behavior—and thereby confirm our self-satisfied feeling of revolutionary morality. Of course, the transfer of moral anxiety away from sexual intercourse might not be so peculiar. Think how often ancient thinkers, from the pagan stoics to the church fathers, would reach to gluttony and fasting, instead of lust and chastity, when they needed examples for their discussions of virtue and vice.

The turn against any deep, metaphysical meaning for sex in the West, however: that is strange and fascinatingly new, unique to late modernity. Jean-Paul Sartre once denounced Michel Foucault as one of the “young conservatives” for his refusal to embrace Communism, but in other ways, the radical gay philosopher, the very model of a star French philosophe before his death from AIDS in 1984, was the key explicator of the sexual revolution. And just as he saw a change in moral understanding of the body slowly developing among Christian writers from the fourth-century John Cassian to the eleventh-century Peter Damian, so he saw yet another change emerging in modern times. The comic line that “sex was invented in 1750” is an exaggeration of his thought, but Foucault quite rightly understood that there were bound to be consequences to what Max Weber called the great “disenchantment of the world” in the joining of the “elective affinities” of the Protestant Reformation, the scientific and industrial revolutions, and the triumph of Enlightenment philosophy.

Those consequences were, in essence, the stripping away of magic—the systematic elimination of metaphysical, spiritual, and mystical meanings. Science, Francis Bacon told us, could not advance in any other way. Real democracy, Diderot explained, would not arrive “until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” When the Supreme Court gave us the infamous “mystery passage” in the 1992 abortion case Planned Parenthood v. Casey—“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”—the justices were merely following out to its logical conclusion the great modern project of disenchantment. And it’s worth noticing that the mystery passage was quoted approvingly and relied upon in the 2003 sodomy-law case Lawrence v. Texas and by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 2005 when it ordered the state to register same-sex marriages.

As a practical matter, the gay-rights lawyers were probably smart to take the mystery passage and run with it. You use what tools you’re given, even if they confirm your opponents’ inchoate sense that all social issues are somehow joined, abortion of a piece with same-sex marriage. But as a theoretical matter, I’m less convinced. What kind of moral or social victory do you obtain if the marriage you’re granted is defined as nothing more than a way in which individuals define the concept of their own existence? Marriage seemed one of the last places left where Weber’s “great enchanted garden” of traditional societies could still be found.

And yet, again, I could be wrong, even about a premodern enchantment perduring in marriage. G. K. Chesterton once suggested that if there truly exists such a thing as divorce, then there exists no such thing as marriage. The root of the paradox is his observation of the metaphysics implicit in marriage ceremonies: “There are those who say they want divorce in the second place without ever asking themselves if they want marriage in the first place. So let us begin by asking what marriage is. It is a promise. More than that, it is a vow.” If we allow divorce, then we have already weakened the thick, mystical notion of marriage vows. Adultery is an everyday sin. Divorce is something more: a denial of a solemn oath made to God.

I’m not trying to argue here directly for an end to the culture’s embrace of legalized divorce, much as the sociological evidence about the harm to children now appears beyond dispute. Rather, the point is that the legal and social acceptance of divorce, building in Protestant America from the late nineteenth century on, culminated in the universal availability of no-fault divorce. And if heterosexual monogamy so lacks the old, enchanted metaphysical foundation that it can end in quick and painless divorce, then what principle allows a refusal of marriage to gays on the grounds of a metaphysical notion like the difference between men and women?

Think of the parallel with laws against sodomy. Justice Thomas may actually have been right that, bad as such laws were, it’s better to have our feckless legislators accept democratic responsibility and replace them than it is to have the courts rule on their constitutionality. But whatever the cruelty and prurience of such laws in the first place, they had become entirely ungrounded by the time of the 2003 Lawrence case. If marriage is nothing more than a licensed sexual playground, without any sense of sin attached to oral sex and anal sex and almost any other act, then under what intellectually coherent scheme can one refuse to others the opportunity for the same behavior?

And, of course, not only did marital relations become a value-free zone in the sexual revolution, but non-marital relations did as well. The seal of virginity, the procreative purpose, the mystical analogy of marriage to Christ’s espousal of his church, the divinely witnessed vow, the sexual body as a temple, the moral significance of chastity: all that old metaphysical stuff got swept away. And regardless of whether the metaphysics was right or wrong, without it there is simply no reasoning that could possibly outweigh the valid claims of fairness and equality. Same-sex marriage advocates don’t just have better public relations than their opponents. They have better logic, given the premises available to the culture.

 

THIS POINTS US toward the general problem with arguments that rely on natural law—natural law, that is, in the modern sense, as developed most notably by the philosophers John Finnis and Germain Grisez, and explicated for political application by Robby George and many subsequent conservative writers. As deployed in our current debates, this kind of thing has always seemed to me a scientized, mainline-Protestantized version of the thicker natural law of the medievals: natural law as awkwardly yoked to the “elective affinities” of modernity.

On point here is Russell Hittinger’s critique of “new natural law” as an attempt to have a theology-free version of a rational philosophy that depended, by its original internal consistency, on premises of God, creation, and Aristotelian natural forms. Natural law was always a little theologically thin. It derived from a rich understanding of the world, yes, but it was something like the least common denominator of spiritual views: a “mere metaphysics” (to misapply a concept of C. S. Lewis’s). And it worked well enough as a philosophy in a time when people generally agreed that the world was enchanted, however vehemently they disagreed about the specifics of that enchantment. Natural law broke spirituality down to its most basic shared components and then built a rationally defensible ethics up again from that foundation.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in a thick natural law. To read the questions on law in the Summa is to watch Thomas Aquinas assemble a grand, beautiful, and extremely delicate structure of rationality. As the Duke theologian Paul Griffiths pointed out in a prescient 2004 Commonweal article (“Legalize Same-Sex Marriage,” June 28, 2004), the premises may not be provable, but they are visible to faith, and from them a great and careful mind like Thomas’s can logically derive extraordinary things. The delicacy is revealed, for example, in his analysis of the questions of marriage. Too careful, too honest, simply to condemn everything except the sanctified monogamy that Christianity had given him, Thomas works through an escalating series that ends up preferring the Christian idea of nuptials as the richest, most meaningful form of marriage—without condemning even polygamy as necessarily a violation of the most philosophically abstract application of the natural law.

In this, I think, is a model for how Catholics might think about the world in which legal recognition of same-sex marriage has emerged. The goal of the church today must primarily be the re-enchantment of reality. This is the language in which Pope Francis speaks: Marriage “as a sign and presence of God’s own love.” Birth as “a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom, and loving plan.” Mutual love as something that engages our entire lives and “mirrors many features of faith.”

Is sex the place in which that project of re-enchantment ought to begin? I just can’t see it—not after the nearly complete triumph of the sexual revolution’s disenchantment, not after the way “free love” was essentially sold to us by the Edwardians as an escape from narrow Victorian Christianity, not after part of the culture’s most visible morality became the condemnation of those perceived as condemning something sexual. The campaign for traditional marriage really isn’t a defense of natural law. It revealed itself, in the end, as a defense of one of the last little remaining bits of Christendom—an entanglement or, at least, an accommodation of church and state. The logic of the Enlightenment took a couple of hundred years to get around to eliminating that particular portion of Christendom, but the deed is done now.

We should not accept without a fight an essentially un-Catholic retreat from the public square to a lifeboat theology and the small communities of the saved that Alasdair MacIntyre predicted at the end of After Virtue (1981). But there are much better ways than opposing same-sex marriage for teaching the essential God-hauntedness, the enchantment, of the world—including massive investments in charity, the further evangelizing of Asia, a willingness to face martyrdom by preaching in countries where Christians are killed simply because they are Christians, and a church-wide effort to reinvigorate the beauty and the solemnity of the liturgy. Some Catholic intellectual figures will continue to explore the deep political-theory meanings manifest in the old forms of Christendom, and more power to them, but the rest of us should turn instead to more effective witness in the culture as it actually exists.

In fact, same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in chastity in a culture that has lost much sense of chastity. Same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in love in a civilization that no longer seems to know what love is for. Same-sex marriage might prove a small advance in the coherence of family life in a society in which the family is dissolving.

I don’t know that it will, of course, and some of the most persuasive statements of conservatism insist that we should not undertake projects the consequences of which we cannot foresee. But same-sex marriage is already here; it’s not as though we can halt it. And other profound statements of conservatism remind us that we must take people as we find them—must instruct the nation where the nation is.

For that matter, the argument about unforeseen consequences is a sword that cuts both ways. Precisely because human social experience has never recognized same-sex marriage on any large scale, we don’t know the extent to which metaphysical meanings—the enchantment of marriage—can be instantiated in same-sex unions. How faithful will they prove? How much infected by the divorce culture of modern America? How spiritual? How mundane? How will they face up to the woe of the quotidian that, as Schopenhauer insisted, marriage forces us to see? How will such unions aid their participants to perceive the joy of creation?

The answer is that we can’t predict the effects of same-sex marriage. I think some good will come, I hope some good will come, but I cannot say with certainty that all must go well with this social change. Still, as the church turns to other and far more pressing ways to re-enchant the world, we’ll have time to find out. And when we are ready to start rebuilding the thick natural law that recognizes the created world as a stage on which the wondrous drama of God’s love is played, we will have the information we need to decide where same-sex marriage belongs in a metaphysically rich, spiritually alive moral order.

 

I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS not the answer my traditional-marriage friends demand. But then, it’s not the answer same-sex marriage advocates want, either. Far too many people on both sides see the issue in such stark terms that they dismiss any nuance as merely giving excuse to immorality. As only lending countenance to evil.

Certainly it will not satisfy Jim Watson, my old friend from New York. How could he accept talk of the Catholic Church’s charity and evangelizing? He wants the church hurt, its tax exemptions and even property-holding rights stripped away until it not only accepts laws allowing same-sex marriage, not only encourages same-sex marriage, but actually performs same-sex marriage. Even that might not be enough; the institutional weight of the history of Catholic bigotry, he thinks, is probably too much for repentance and reformation to overcome. Best, really, if the Catholic Church is systematically outlawed.

And that is one Catholic fear about same-sex marriage with force—the fear that the movement is essentially disingenuous. That gays don’t actually want much to marry, but Catholic resistance to the idea is just too useful a stick not to use. That modern Americans, heirs to the class-based self-satisfactions of their Protestant ancestors, look at same-sex marriage and think how wonderful a device it proves for a little Rome bashing.

But how can we not take same-sex marriage advocates at their word, accepting that they really seek the marriages they say they desire? For that matter, I still believe in the general resilience and common sense of America, which will halt those who wish to hijack the movement. Christians are sometimes called to martyrdom: “The sacrifices you want to make aren’t always the only sacrifices God wants,” as the interesting lesbian Catholic commentator Eve Tushnet once observed here in Commonweal (“Homosexuality & the Church,” June 11, 2007). But I just don’t think that same-sex marriage is going to be the excuse America uses to go after its Catholic citizens.

At the same time, there’s been damage done in the course of this whole debate, some of it by me. And I’m not sure what can be done about it. I certainly lost my friend Jim along the way. Some come here to fiddle and dance, I remember he used to sing. Some come here to tarry. / Some come here to prattle and prance. / I come here to marry. You remember how it goes. “Shady Grove,” the song is called. A bit of old-timey Americana, the stuff we all still share.

Funding for this essay has been provided by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

About the Author

Joseph Bottum is an Amazon.com-bestselling author whose latest book is An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America (Image/Random House). The former literary editor of the Weekly Standard and chief editor of First Things, he lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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I wonder how much money the Henry Luce Foundation would have given Jody Bottum to argue against gay marriage?

Thank you, Joseph Bottum, for advancing the discussion, and thank you to the Henry Luce Foundation.

A lengthy and far more sophisticated and nuanced argument than I am prepared to make. Nevertheless, I in fact do see this (gay marriage) as the latest attempt to drive a nail into the coffin of the dying "institution" (we Catholics still call it a sacrament) of marriage, understand as a covenanted relationship involving God and one man and one woman. Our Hebrew ancestors in the faith (think Abraham, for example) were polygamists. In fact, aren't there more theological precedents therefore for polygamy as a form of marriage than for claiming that persons of the same sex can "marry?" Biologically, we all start out ultimately the same way, by the union of a male sperm and a female egg. Now it is true that that can be accomplished artificially these days, and indeed embryos from such unions can be "selected" and the others destroyed. All of that, of course, is condemned by Catholic theology. God did made us male and female, and the fact that some of us much prefer ( I say "much prefer," because as a physician and observer of human behavior I think that many of us are not  100% hetero-or homosexual in our preferences) those of our own gender does not alter the fact that heterosexual union is in fact the biological foundation of all of us. As Christians and, in fact, as observers of what seems best to work in the real world, we believe that a committed relationship of the man and the woman makes the best home for children. Of course we are all too aware of the sad failures, the divorces, the abusive relationships, etc. Puzzling to some of us, given that biologically and historically (I am unaware of any advanced, certainly any monotheistic culture accepting homosexual marriage), is why civil unions, recognized by the state as such, with legal rights guaranteed) are not acceptable to those of the same gender. I do agree that the advocates of "gay marriage," as it is now called, are on a roll, having captured the imagination of all of the theologically naive, the admirers of Hollywood and pop lifestyles, and having cloaked themselves in the role of advocates of civil rights, arguing that they have the same heritage in that way as those who demonstrated at Selma and died as the result of racist brutality. Interestingly the majority of the black church in this country and of Christians, Protestant and Catholic alike, in most developing countries, aren't buying this argument, so chic in the Western world. I also agree that the Catholic bishops in the U.S. and Europe, after the horrible and ongoing sex scandals involving so many priests, are in a very untenable position to speak forcefully to society at large about this issue. They can try to inform the faithful about Catholic positions on marriage, but to invest church funds and come out politically in a manner which in fact gives the opposition further fuel for Church-bashing, which indeed it is doing, is an error. We must, on this issue, assert what we are for and defend it, without attacking those who do not agree and without condemning those whose sexual preference is to a very large extent one with which they are born, plus or minus the effects of the particular environment of their family and community. We all have much to learn about this issue and in general need to lower the speaking tone and increase our listening. Thank you for providing us a thoughtful article to ponder and to discuss. 

If that is the best Catholic case for same-sex marriage that exists, the Luce Foundation wasted its money.

I have never understood why the Catholic church or any other religious group can claim the right to weigh in on what constitutes CIVIL marriage, other than in the most generalized First Amendment sense. The institution of civil marriage is parallel but quite different from that of a marriage recognized by the these groups, appropriately so. They are perfectly free to recognize marriages according to their own dictates, but have no right to then claim that they should also use their particular precepts to define what should be defined as a civil marriage, with legal rights flowing therefrom.

One can use all of the talking points (convoluted and otherwise) one wishes to say that the religious groups are the victims in this regard, but I do not agree. The issue was simply whether lesbians and gays can have their unions recognized by the state, and obtain the same legal rights that straights do. I don't see any way to claim to affirm gays’ and lesbians’ dignity when they are told that their unions are not worthy of state recognition, and that they are not entitled to the equal protection of the laws.

Sickening article.  This guy calls himself a "Catholic," yet he's happy to encourage people to place their eternal souls at risk by celebrating mortal sin.  I'm supposed to believe he loves people whom he doesn't care if he encourages them to select hell for themselves?

And what kind of "Catholic" magazine publishes trash like this?

 

A meandering, confused, and ultimately meaningless essay that proves little more than Bottom's superficiality as a thinker. 

Apparently Bottum regarded it as necessary to write something to publicly rationalize his surrender to a corrupted zeitgeist, so he threw together a heap of disconnected and vague observations that he hoped would stick. And to boot, he conned the Luce Foundation into paying him for it, and Commonweal into publishing it, a cooperation that does not speak well of either institution.

Marriage of two consenting, committed adults (a person-person relationship), whatever their sexual orientation, is not a problem.  The problem is treating the other as an object.  Let us, let the church focus on this -- and then later maybe focus on the issue of same-sex marriage. Why should the church concern itself with marriages that are not between Catholics, are not in the church? 

I-Thou relationships are person-person, as in any marriage.  I-It relationships are abusive, as in an authority figure taking advantage of, treating as an object, one of lesser stature, especially a child. 

I can't help thinking that the recent concern about same-sex marriage is a way of avoiding or deflecting the focus on the church's sexual abuse scandal.  We should all read or re-read Martin Buber's "I-Thou."  Once (if ever) we learn to treat all others as persons, then we can concern ourselves about secondary matters such as who marries whom.      

Bottum's attempts fail. I will not describe "attempts at what" for it would take as many words, perhaps more, to disinter the many phantoms of complete notions as this essay contains.

Mostly I am saddened by the recurring sense of diminishment that his lament provokes. I couldn't bring myself to go back an count the number of single sentence claims which were just bluntly and provacatively offensive of decency.

Were I to take his argument for acceptance as genuinely from civil fairness and equality then this essay would have wrapped itself to a close shortly after this:

"I'm growing uneasy with the petulant and aggrieved way it is presenting the idea that anti-Catholicism was one of the purposes of, or at least one of the bonuses for, the cultural elites who tuook up the cause of same-sex marriage."

Of course it did not.

What supposed Catholic intellectuals still don't get, if Bottum is any example, is that the world of enchantment they aspire to doesn't end in their lifetime - it doesn't reach clever certainty. It muddles, messily, with or without sexual liberty, from one moment to the next; each is an opportunity to employ grace or leave it unclaimed.

Gender orientation of sexual desire is a footnote in that reality - it was before and remains sense the Enlightenment. This is not to trivialiaze the found diversity of sexual attraction; nor to diminish the search for a just path in relationship equity - it is to remind that sexuality is not at the center of devotion - to any creed or any vow.

The enchantment one can spin around a profound commitment to marriage is in the mystery of living it; the ubiquity of such person-to-person commitment is sufficient testimony to its human importance - particularly since the mechanics of reproduction bear no original contribution from our species. Relationship rules - natural law is context, variously certain and  often opaque to individual knowing.

By contrast, the world of ideas is a graced reward; it is not the Summa - the sheltered enclave of Aquinas did indeed produce a delicate thing. Far too delicate a thing to be other than the thinnest row of molecules on a keel of faith cast of much more mundane substance.

If enchantment be the goal, then we do well to look elsewhere than this labored and quasi-apocalyptic defense of the male, celibate hierarchy's right to go on distorting the Faith in Christ to whatever preverse worldly purposes serves them. Don't get mad at the non-Catholics - increasingly they simply stand around shaking their heads at the determined cluelessness of essays such as this one.

I’m growing uneasy with the petulant and aggrieved way it is presenting the idea that anti-Catholicism was one of the purposes of, or at least one of the bonuses for, the cultural elites who took up the cause of same-sex marriage. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#comment-form

I’m growing uneasy with the petulant and aggrieved way it is presenting the idea that anti-Catholicism was one of the purposes of, or at least one of the bonuses for, the cultural elites who took up the cause of same-sex marriage. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#comment-form

I’m growing uneasy with the petulant and aggrieved way it is presenting the idea that anti-Catholicism was one of the purposes of, or at least one of the bonuses for, the cultural elites who took up the cause of same-sex marriage. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#comment-form

Three things:

Marriage vs Holy Matrimony.

The purpose of marriage.

Bishop’s Tobin’s ultra right wing, politicized snit over his defeat on gay marriage legislation. Indicative of Catholic reaction

MARRIAGE vs HOLY MATRIMONY. ... Metaphysical foundation to marriage? Please, for most of the last 3,000 years marriage was a commercial transaction, a way of managing the rights, inheritance and transfer of property. What the church solemnized in the Middle Ages was the alliance of two big property owners, and the hierarchy ordained by God which called for obedience to God, the Pope, The Lords and bishops. And the lord and bishops needed their property to be protected and preserved form one generation to the next within god’s feudal hierarchy. Procreation indeed would be the chief marriage concern in a property and heir driven society. ... And, where, please is the metaphysics in islamic marriage, especially the one might marriages? They are about conformity to a legal code, about a man’s need to be righteous. Moralistic, transactional, commercial, not metaphysical. ... The requirement for a church wedding for Catholic peasants was started in France by the lower clergy in order to provide the paperwork to prove land ownership by the peasants as a defense against appropriation of their land by the lords (including bishops).  Admirable. Based on property issues.

Of course Holy Matrimony is a another marriage. Here the Sacramental Union performed by the two spouses (not the priest), in addition to ll the normal or “natural”: purposes of marriage, is deliberately meant to be a pledge that their union will reflect the love and respect of the union of Christ and His church. Definitely metaphysical.

Imagine if the hierarchy had said that same sex marriage is understandable and acceptable in a diverse society. But such a marriage could not be performed in a Catholic Church or by a Catholic priest because of church doctrine and the meaning off Holy Matrimony. And then proceeded to talk about the spiritual meaning of Holy matrimony and the pledge each makes to the other and God and the congregation in the presence of Christ, infused with the Holy Spirt.

THE PURPOSES OF MARRIAGE. ... In my Catholic grade school we were taught that the primary natural purpose, in our advanced society, of marriage would be companionable love. That would be followed procreation or generative love, an active nurturing concern for the next generation, even among childless couple. The next purpose would be community building. Then if the couple were getting married with the Catholic Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the pledge to live for each other and for the children as Christ and the church lived for each other. Something along these lines. At any rate the purpose of marriage was not reduced to the purpose of copulation among animals, procreation.

THE POLITICAL SNIIT BY BISHOP TOBIN. After his politicking against same sex marriage failed and the state allowed for same sex marriage, this angry man addressed the Republican Party in the state of Rhode Island, self-importantly announcing that he was now registered as a Republican. He also said he would welcome the triumph of the Republican doctrine that the federal government should do nothing to directly benefit the poor or the middle class, with only local charities offering assistance. A mean-spirited and silly statement, utterly imprudent. Local charities and parishes would go broke trying to help, especially if Republican policies prevail and wages sink and unemployment grows as a result. Of course he could give parishes and charities the option of being guided by the words of St. Ayn Rand rather than Christ. It is not just the sex scandal that has sunk the credibility of the hierarchy, it is their arrogance, politicking, and bitterness. By the way, out of grim duty, I made phone calls on behalf of legislation allowing for same sex marriage. Practicing Catholics were strongly supportive. Many I called were ex-Catholics because they chose the full acceptance and love for a child’s same sex marriage.

Remember the ridiculous slogan pushed by Catholics against same sex marriage: “Marriage has always and everywhere been between one man  and one woman. It may e that they don’t read the Bible, which would prove them wrong, but surely they are aware that there are Muslims in the world. For this reason many of concluded that they were deliberately lying, as they had throughout the priest sex cover-up disgrace.

 

This article is the largest pile of incoherence I have read in years. Good God! Your complete lack of understanding about law is risible.

If it is immoral, it can't be enchanted.

To say this article, and in Commonweal is a disappointment would be an understatement.  Look, I know Commonweal swings fairly left, but this is a new nadir. 

The one bright spot is that many who made comments feel like-wise.  That's encouraging being that I'm often one of the 2-3 lone rangers on this board.

I have no intentions to even debate this.  As someone already pointed out, it's rubish.  And, certainly not Catholic, and for that matter, not even Christian, save for the "man-made invented kind that disregards the revelations of Jesus Christ consequently marches to  a "whatever feels good and works for the given time,place, and agenda."

I suspect it's just a matter of time before the 'catholics' of which  you embrace Joseph split off to a Protestant "American Catholic." or something to keep feelilng good and holy while living in oppositon to the teachings of Christ.  

So much for the fact that Jesus taught his followers that folliowing HIm would involve radical and countercultrual love.  I've written plenty on this "false love" in previous posts.  Authentic love doesn't embrace others in their sin, at any cost. 

If only those who feel otherwise could recognize apostacy when it's in front of them.

 

 

 

Joseph Bottum has spent his professional life in the more conservative circles of politics and religion and these values are evident throughout his article despite his final conclusion to support gay marriage.

Mr. Bottum ignores the totality of the Church's teaching on sexuality that is based not on spiritual or holistic human values but on a lingering Zoroastrian world view and a biological interpretation of "natural law". \there is a whole history since the early Church of teaching a Gnostic dualism regarding the body (matter, evil,darkness, female, mosit, earth) as evil, imprisoning th esoul (spirit, good, light, male, dry, sky. Evil is a syndrome associated with matter, body (hence sex), female and earth. God is a sky god somewhyere in the heavens associaed with light, male and spirit.

A brief History: the "Nicolaitans" denied the Incarnation because they denied the goodness of the physical world; Docetic, Valentinus, the Montanists, Cathals, Paulicans, Bogomils, Albigensians and later the Jansenists and nuns of port Royal. These movements were supressed by the civil or Church only when they appeared to threaten the civil authority of the government and unity of the Church.

The Church in my day has caused great damage to children in declaring masturbation a mortal sin punishable by hellfire. In this century the Church has been insistent on condemning contraception: Pius XI, Paul VI (despite a 30-5 vote by the Papal Commission on Birth Control to loosen restrictions on contractption) and John Paul II. Most American Catholics ignore this teaching.

IN the 1950's Catholic theologians taught that sex in marriage had two objectives, the strenthening of the partaners spiritual union in love and seconcly, the begetting of children. They taught that sex was permissible to achieve the strenthening of the marriage bond even though procteation was not contemplated. The Church silenced these theologians.

Local Bishops (Phoenix) and national conferences of Bishops have determined that aboration to save a mother's life is not allowed, even though both child and mother would die. Ireland rebelled against this notion and is changing the law to allow abortion in certain circumstances. Although claiming a "seemless" respect for lilfe, the Church has not marshalled its forces in any meaningful way (only writing mild teaching letters) against capital punishment and the many wars fought in the last years. Compare this to the diengenuous marshalling of its considerable forces to  oppose life-affirming Obamacare, a political not moral stance.

The Church's teaching against gay sexuality (God created persons to have a gay orientation) and the insistence on an exclusively celibate clergy (contrary to the married status of all but one of the Apostles and contrary to the practice of the Eastern Churches) resulted in an immature and repressed priesthood who preyed on young women and men, protected by the hierarchy's cover-ups.

The attitude of the Church toward sexuality, toward human relationships, and (let's be honest) against women shows how the modern forms of gnosticism are deeply embedded in the insitution and its hierarchs. The Church has forfeited its credibility as a teacher of morals.

 

Geezzzz.....if only I could think this well and then, miracle of miracles, write this well.  By golly, I'd be writing all the time and everywhere!

As for the detractors of this post, I am reminded of the question I have often asked myself.  How does one deal effectively with a person unable or unwilling to differentiate between divine inspiration and divine knowledge.  The former is very much a state of grace.  A place where one is a seemingly boundless source of joy.  The latter a place where one is a seemingly boundless source of self righteousness.  In other words, boring.  The words so often now tossed around by pseudo-intellectuals ignore the fact acient Hebrew and Greek simply did not have the words now used to damn LBGT folks or had altogether different definitions.  It seems the word of God has a bit of flexibity after all.  Perhaps God was clever enough to recognize our limitations.

As to the word of God, only God knows that.  Only God.  I do believe ole' Fran is making that very point and with a utterly engaging smile.  Like most I have only glimpes of the man but I have yet see him not remind us, and himself, of his humility.  A wise move when dealing with God.

No, the problem between you and your friend IS NOT that you're Catholic and he's gay.   Nice try.  The real problem is that (at least until recently) you didn't believe that gay americans are entitled to equality.   When the GOVERNMENT issues a CIVIL marriage license, it has NOTHING to do with YOUR religion.  You (until recently) were trying to push YOUR religious prejudices onto someone who doesn't share them.  Why can't you fundamentalis types get it, that the secular government is not in business to promote YOUR religion??   The fact that your friend got cool to you was that you were espousing views that made him LESS THAN EQUAL, so don't try to blame it on YOUR Catholocism.  The fact is, American Catholics support marriage equality at a level greater than the American mean.  Your friend wasn't reacting to your Catholocism so much as to your bigotry.

The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#sthash.voqTAnq5.dpuf

The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#sthash.voqTAnq5.dpuf

The problem, our conversations had made pretty clear along the way, was that I am a Catholic, and Jim is gay. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share#sthash.voqTAnq5.dpuf

Well, he certainly scraped the "bottum" of the barrel for these arguments, didn't he?

Seriously, Bottum's answers are so ludicrous it's hard to take them seriously.  Instead of standing up for truth, we should try to "re-enchant the world" (whatever that means) by:

(a) more charitable giving

(b) going to China

(c) getting martyred in the Middle East, and

(d) having better hymns.

Now we already do (a), (b), and Lord knows, Benedict tried (d).  As for martyrdom, why don't we stay where we are and suffer the martyrdom that is obviously coming from gay-marriage psychopatths like Bottum's bud Jim?

Doesn't everyone see that Bottum's bud Jim is plainly a nutball and his totalitarian opinions should not be driving a Catholic's view of the issue?

I got a kick out of Bill Carson's comment yesterday at 5:23.  He must be an absolute riot at dinner parties.

I find it fascinating that such a nuanced, thoughtful article could be met with such ignorance.  But then again, I'd not thought myself capable of such nonchalance but here we are.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond. 

 

Thank you for this thoughful essay.  Since,in a few months, I'll be witnessing a young (twenties+) family member's wedding, because of the wide acceptance of same sex marriage, I need to deeply examine all that seems appropriate to say.  All Sacrmental celebrations are "teachable moments."

The congregation will be young.  The celebrating community is comprised of various shades of Catholic/Christian belief.

This essay touches much of the various beliefs surrounding a traditional Nuptial wedding.  Because of this recent social change in Christian beliefs about samesex marriage, there is a great need for celebrants of Catholic weddings to avoid being "condeming and intolerant" of others beliefs.

This essay is a thoughtful reflection and an attempt to honestly examine and respect the belief of others.  Again, because of this sea (tusnami) change in attitudes I'll not linger long at the reception.  Even though a family wedding, after a few drinks, people might try to involve me in either a pro or con position on same sex marriage.

Bernard can I suggest that you "deeply examine" your Christian Faith (assuming you are one, as I suspect that you are)? 

This quote of yours is simply shocking, if in fact you profess to be a Christian:

Because of this recent social change in Christian beliefs about samesex marriage, there is a great need for celebrants of Catholic weddings to avoid being "condeming and intolerant" of others beliefs.

To believe that means to throw out the Divine Revelation of Christ, and renounce the First and most important commandment, making the tolarance of the culture the "new god."  Even more so, if you are Catholic, it's both Scriptual and two of the Spiritual Works of Mercy to  admonish sinners and instruct the ignorant.    

I suggest you "instruct and admonish" by not attending, being "condeming and intolerant" of all serious sins incompatible with the teachings of Christ.

Truly this is so sad to see the fall from Grace of some many, so easily.  I hope if this essay does anything, it brings the faithful to deeper prayer for you, JB, and all in agreement of SSM, especially Christians. 

But for the grace of God, go all of us!

 

Ichabod Bottum.

I think the words of the Academic Decathalon Judge in the classic film Billy Madison are apropos of Bottum's rambling essay:

"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Just kidding.  (Slightly.)

 

 

My comment above could have used PREVIEW and EDIT options as some other sites offer, for example, America and National Catholic Reporter.  Or it could have used better writing and self-editing. 

I must admit the article was too long for me to read every word.  Reading about his friend, though, this straight Catholic thought of two gay friends who, the last I heard, had headed out to San Francisco before the AIDS epidemic.  The media back then showed many examples of what appeared to be largely casual I-It relationships.  Now, when more gays are seeking legal marriages, the church is taking a stand against this. You'd think the church would  at least see this as a better life style than those San Francisco bath house days. 

Again, I-Thou, person-person relationships are to be valued and promoted.  I-It, person-object relationships (including pornography and child sexual abuse) are the problem that needs addressing, IMHO. 

Okay, here's my serious response:

Bottum and, he claims, our society at large find natural law arguments to fail.  But he doesn't argue or explain why.

So it's a missed opportunity: a vapid and nugatory essay.  Instead of crafting something with substance, a substantial argument against natural law or Church teaching or in favor of gay marriage, he just devolves into a Saruman-like drone: "give up, we've lost, we can't win this battle."

The essay is so pathetic that I'm genuinely embarrassed for Bottom and I think it's very clever on Commonweal's part to have published it.

Comments as to the meanderingly tortuous course taken by this essay have a point.  But attend to other comments here and it becomes clear that the writing is a bit tortuous because its author was reasonably tortured in writing it.

There are many conservative Catholic circles where henceforth Joseph Bottum will be persona non grata.  How quickly friends can turn, and how vicious that turning, is evident in the commentariat here.

This took guts.  Thank you.

Spectacular article, to me. YMMV.

To the disenchanted I ask consider the parable about the sin of the jealous whole day workers demanding that those hired later in the day not get an "equal" amount.

Regards,
Thomas Mullin

Encouraging writing, if more than a bit tortured. So let me get this straight, you are now in favor of same gender marriage only because you identify now as the victim of anti catholicism created by your own hand as the perpetrator? You now support same gender marriage because the church is being tarnished by the hate it promotes? 

I was reared in the catholic church but long ago left as it abandoned the teachings of christ. Namely, to take care of the weak and disinfranchised, and to celebrate and promote the mystery of love as christ taught. 

Instead, the core of catholic teaching was replaced with Republican talking point memos. Support the rich at all costs. Support wars. Bash the gays at all costs. Hide and protect child rapists from within. Etc. The list is long. And ironically, the churches core is about 180 degrees off of what christ taught. Compassion for others and love is completely missing from the modern church. 

Gay people really could give a flip about the church, they simply want to be left alone and treated equally under civil law. 

In other words, it is not about you. 

 

 

Perhaps while getting his doctorate in philosophy Jody was neglectful of learning:

 

The basis of truth and goodness is being. REALITY.

 

Two men can get "married" as easily as pigs fly.

 

 

 

 

Hmmm, all it took me was a few dollars and a government issued ID to get my marriage license. Pretty easy I would say. 

"As for martyrdom, why don't we stay where we are and suffer the martyrdom that is obviously coming from gay-marriage psychopatths like Bottum's bud Jim? " -

Oh, you mean like Matthew Shepard suffered?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard

Or these folks .....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_violence_against_LGBT_people_in_the_United_States

https://www.google.com/#fp=bd6ce7fe40fcd0bd&q=gays+murdered+america

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/anti-gay-hate-crimes-murders-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs_n_1564885.html

http://rt.com/usa/gay-murder-greenwich-us-homophobia-511/

Until this kind of violence happens to you poor picked upon kristyuns, keep your unfounded self-serving paranoia to yourself.

 

Mr. Englert,

Delivering an unpopular message takes some courage, too.  It takes courage for a Catholic priest or bishop to stand up and proclaim what the Church teaches about human sexuality.  I don't recall Catholic priests or bishops who actually do this getting much praise around here for being courageous, though.

On the other hand, what did this essay earn Mr. Bottum?  He has already gotten money from the Luce Foundation and a laudatory article in the New York Times.  When was the last time someone arguing in favor of Church teaching got either?

The big news here isn't that a Commonweal commentator offered an argument for the Catholic acceptance of same-sex marriage under civil (not church) law, but that Joseph Bottum, a star in the conservative American Catholic firmament, has come out in favor of the acceptance of same-sex marriage.  Undoubtedly that means Bottum's name is now mud among Catholic conservaitves, but is his argument, such as it is, worth anybody's while?  I'd say the gist of it may be, although his (IMHO typically conservative) grand ideas --  references to  "thick natural law" and "re-enchantment" -- don't help a whole lot. 

There's just no honest way to deny -- and nothing cowardly or morally reprehensible about admitting the truth -- that the civil rights case for same-sex marriage makes sense and will inevitably gain ground given American constitutional law. That doesn't mean the Catholic Church has to change its doctrine regarding marriage anymore than legalizing civil divorce meant the Church had to change its teaching on marriage and divorce.  What it does mean is that churchmen had better find ways to deal with the coming reality of same-sex civil marriage, and that simply railing against the idea, or worse, threatening to throw up one legal roadblock after another in an attempt deny a segment of society what they and others believe is their civil right, will do the Church itself more harm than good. 

That part of Bottum's argument makes complete sense to me.  True religious liberty in a democratic society means tolerating the rights of others, regardless of our own beliefs.  Conservatives may argue against tolerance, but it's the American way, and a proven boon to religion itself.  Most Christians -- including the Catholic hierarchy at Vatican II --  gave up fighting the idea some time ago.

The prospect of re-evangelizing the modern world, and via that evangelization persuading moderns of the correctness of traditional Christian teachings on marriage and other issues -- what Bottum apparently means by "re-enchantment" -- is the great challenge our Church undertook at Vatican II.  The immensity of that challenge has become even more clear as time goes on.  Little wonder so many want to ditch the whole plan and retreat behind barricades, hurling threats of eternal damnation on the way.  To say that won't work merely calls attention to the challenge ahead, a necessary, hardly cowardly, attempt at admonition.

 

Delivering Christ's good news to the secular world takes courage, of course, but simply stating that same-sex marriage is a sin hardly does justice to the bigger message or persuades anybody who doesn't already believe.  It's a priest's duty to admonish the faithful, not unbelievers.  Can you imagine the apostles converting the ancient world by, say, preaching that divorce is a sin and divorced people who remarry go to hell?  Once converted, the ancients were presumably ready for the rest of the story, but nobody could, or can, expect the non-converted to adopt rules churchmen say they should live by. 

Absolutely.

Meaning Absolutely to Bill Carson's comment.

Ms. Bailey,

Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments about evangelizing the modern world.  I also agree with you that saying that same sex marriage is sinful hardly conveys all the Church should be saying. 

I think that Mr. Bottums' argument against the Manhattan Declaration is elitist and somewhat disloyal. I further believe that he is indulging in over-intellectualization of the issue. Be that as it may, his inevitability argument does not seem good if for no other reason than that it is immoral to give up the poltical fight, even though the culture and the shared concept of morality that underpins it, and  that made this country great and blessed, is likely fractured beyond repair, barring a spritual revival.

The article in the NY Times that is based on this Commonweal article emphasizes and focuses on 4 things: 1) Mr. Bottums is a religious man; 2) Mr. Bottums is a conservative; 3) Mr Bottums has changed his position from opposing gay marriage to favoring gay marriage and 4) Mr. Bottums will support the Republican Party. Presumably, Mr. Bottums want's all conservatives to stay within the Republican fold and go ahead and support gay marriage.

Mr. Bottums is right when he suggests, as I have, that the ship has sailed from this country and that we likely won't be ever again that great nation we once were. And, yes, of hope is that 300 million in China are Christians. But, our duty it seems to me is to stand here and fight the good fight and remain true to principle.

Chastity is not remaining a virgin. It is living one's sex live according to one's station.  If the Church accepts gay marriage, will homosexuals be adbvised to save themselves for marriage? If so, why? It makes no sense for a gay person to "save himself" because no pregnancy is possible. If chastity for gay people means sex outside of marriage, why do gay people need marriage? If gay people can be "chaste" and have extra-marital sex, then why cannot "straight" people have chaste  extra-marital sex? It seems to me, that if the Church accepts gay marriage, then the Church must abolish the idea of chastity.  The problem is that throwing away chastity means throwing out marriage, because only adherance to chastiry will keep husband and wife faithful to each other. Marriage is the opposite of sexual license or "Enlightenment."

A nation that accepts the "Sexual Enlightenment" is a nation with 40% of its children in broken homes. A nation with 40% of its children in broken homes is a nation with no future.

Society has a choice: Sexual licence and social chaos, or,  Strict sexual norms and social order.

Jesus never looked at a woman as a "hot chick." But most American men do. Re-enchantment of society will end this mode of thought. 

Question for Mr. Bottum: Define "marriage."

 

 

Although you clearly do not realize it, Jesus come not only to to save “the Catholics”; He came to save all mankind. If you actually realized that point you wouldn’t have been questioning the Church’s focus on marriages that are not between Catholics. 

 

But if you are a Catholic (and quite frankly, you don’t sound very Catholic), it is somewhat understandable that you know so little about your faith. Since Vatican II (1960’s), the new modern Church has all but abandoned teaching what was taught by the  Church fathers for almost 2000 years–that there is such a thing as mortal sin, and that those who embrace such sins without repenting will be damned to hell. 

 

Consequently, many “Catholics” (including the writer of this shallow tome) believe that if society believes there is nothing wrong with a particular act, such as practicing homosexuality, then it is not sinful. But they are very much in error who believe this way, and although they are being misled by many of the blind bishops and priests of our day, they will not be excused for their error and both will “fall into the pit”.

 

For those who might want to know what is going on in our Church today, they should take a look at a couple of very worthwhile publications that regularly discuss all of these issues juxtaposing the “modernist” view of the bishops since Vatican II, with the immutable dogma of the catholic Church that was handed down by Jesus Christ though Saint Peter and the first apostles. It is actually quite frightening.

 

 

As long as you are going to let the Luce Foundation fill your pages, You might ask them to pay for an editor.  Wading through this was brutal.  It proves that an incoherent idea can only generate incoherent arguments.  What does this mean: "Is sex the place in which that project of re-enchantment ought to begin?.".  I don't think he even knows what the virtue of chastity is. He seems to think its some sort of Puritan abstinence.  Finally, I would like to point out that his friend's actions are those of an intoleranr bigot, in their parlance a "hater".  I bet if you asked the guy he would agree with my assesment although with the qualification that he only hates those he perceives to be haters and are therefore deserving.

 

Did Mr. Bottum and his donors consider the ways this article would be perceived and referenced in the media and particularly the New York Times?  For, according to the Times (trumpeted under a headline that erases all the nuance and contemplation offered here), what Mr. Bottum has done is go towards the light against the darkness of the Catholic Church.  Full stop.    

Furthermore, as Mr. Bottum apparently granted an interview that produced this Times story, I wonder if he will  now discuss the hijacking of his essay in the service of using the gay marriage debate to club Catholic belief?  He dismissed concerns over this, painstakenly, here.  But reading the Times piece makes his dismissial ironic.

Also, having read both the Times article and this essay, I am left confused by the Times reporter's interpretation of Bottum's position on the post-sexual revolution world.  By claiming that Bottum is saying the following, the Times seems to be pushing him to conclusions not expressed here.  Will there be any response to that, too?  

"[I]f the enchantment is gone, the law becomes a pointless artifact of a defunct Christian culture" - Bottum qua the NYTimes.

 

 

 

The essay somewhat self-indulgently meanders hither and yon until arriving at its stated purpose. Still, it helped me clarify my own thinking about the subject. I was especially intrigued by the implicit suggestion that, if we are truly concerned about the institution of marriage, we may need to drop our opposition to gay marriage and become be more vocal about our opposition to divorce.

Whether one sides with the gay activists/allies who are working for marriage equality or the religious conservatives who oppose it, most of us can benefit from forgiveness and reconciliation. All of us want to be happy, no one wants to suffer.

It is obvious that heterosexuals do not have a monopoly on love and commitment. 

Humans fall in love, 

gay people are human, 

gay people fall in love.

It's interesting to see what creatures crawl out when one of their own turns over a few rocks that they didn't want overturned.

I never heard of Joseph Bottom before, I only came here because the Gays are tweeting the heck out of this, so here I am.

Bottom makes a good point that you Catholics with blinders on refuse to see. You hang out with each other, visit together on your conservative and Catholic websites and you do not interact with people who are gay. In fact I was never anti Catholic before sometime in 2010, much like Bottom's friend Jim Watson who slowly distanced himself from Catholic Bottom. When I was young and slept over at my friends house on Saturday night if they were Catholic I went with them to their Catholic Church on Sunday morning with the little lace doily on my head. I didn't have anything against Catholics, I wasn't one but I respected this religion. That all changed after I read a mainstream news article about this trial that was starting in California, called the Prop 8 Trial. In the news article there was a link to some gay rights website, I don't even remember which one it was, and off I went, clicking away. It will be 4 years for me this January since I read my first gay website and in that four years I have turned strongly anti Catholic. Strongly.

 

You all act as if we are the United Catholic States of America. And not only that, your church is very active globally trying their best to deny Civil Rights to sexual minorities worldwide. We are NOT the United Christian States of America, and after reading and participating and studyng on this issue for almost four years now I am decidely on the side of the gays and strongly against Catholic Leadership and any Catholics who work to deny Civil Rights to people who are gay. I didn't hate you before but I hate you now. YOU did that. It was your activism and your underhanded dirty tactics. How many times do I read in comments just on this webpage "sodomites?" The reason you do that is to take their humanity away, to mark them as evil, that is why you deliberately choose the word "sodomite." It is terrible and mean. Mean Catholics. I no longer see your religion as loving and compassionate and charitable, because of YOUR actions. I see you all as a bunch of meanies.

 

This is what you should have done, preached in your churches and cathedrals that you consider homosexual sex to be a sin and that your faith is that only Holy Marriage is for a man and a woman. But you didn't do that. Oh no, you stepped out into the public square and called people "sodomites!" You told them that they don't get the same civil rights as every other American. You Catholics along with whatever Mormons you can capture and those Evangelicals, and you are hell bent on denying Equal Civil Rights to people who are gay because it offends your religion. What you should have done is if it bothers you that much, you should have withdrawn being a State Official for signing the State Marriage Licenses. Simply maintained your Holy Marriage Sacrament and that is all. You should have clung to your beliefs and said, "We can't go along with what the State is calling Marriage so we will withdraw" But you didn't withdraw, you stood and fought. The result of that is that there are now millions of people like me, who had no bone to pick with Catholics before, but now I hate your leadership and the people who follow those Catholic Leaders who aim to destroy the lives of sexual minorities. A State marriage License is a Civil Right and there is no good reason to deny them to people who are gay. They are not hurting anybody. When two lesbians in my neighborhood get married it doesn't hurt me, and it doesn't hurt you either. It may offend you, but it doesn't hurt you.

 

The gays will win their fight for Civil Rights and all that is going to happen is that there will be a whole generation of people who unlike me when I was young, who don't like the Catholic Church. Is that what you want? Are you trying to push people away from your faith? Because that is what you are doing. You are trying to make Civil Law mirror your church teachings and that is not right. It just isn't. Instead of withdrawing and maintaining the sanctity of Holy Marriage you chose to fight. Well now you made an enemy, or rather LOTS of enemies. You will NOT beat science. Every single medical and psychological association says that homosexuality is on the NORMAL scale of Human Sexuality. There is just many of them is all, they are a minority. It's the God's honest truth not everybody IS straight.  In these 4 years since I started following this and learning about it, I am shocked at how many people say that they are not 100% straight, it is like 23%. As a straight person that number astounds me.

 

We don't legislate morality in our country. We only legislate that which harms, like sexual assault. That is why there are no slut laws. We don't arrest women or men for being a slut. We believe in Liberty, the Liberty to live your life according to how you wish provided you are not causeing harm. What is immoral to YOU is not immoral to THEM. Instead of St. Thomas Aquinas read John Stuart Mill On Liberty http://www.bartleby.com/130/

This is what I believe in. Liberty. Gay people have the same liberty rights as straight couples to find a life partner and be married. How dare you claim something for yourselves that you do not grant to others. I have never been a fan of Natural Law anyway it is simply a device/mechanism to spread/apply Catholic Doctrine forcibly onto non Catholics. Calling it natural law is a misnomer, it should be called "Catholic Thought"

 

Do you want to see how hated you are because you are pushing your religion into civil law? Here read. Don't just hang out with Catholics, read from the other side.

FIRST look at them

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-75-most-unforgettable-moments-from-mi...

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/search/label/Catholic%20Church

www.GoodAsYou.org

www.BoxTurtleBulletin.com

http://ameriblog.com

 

It is your own actions that have made these people hate you. You had another choice and you chose not to take it. You chose to give yourself Civil Rights and deny those same Rights to them. One thing I learned in life, the oppressed will allways fight against their oppressor. And that is what you are, oppressors. You are not God's gentle people, you are militent oppressors. Read the gay blogs see what you are seen as.

 

 

 

This article must have been very difficult to write, and I believe there are a lot of things to react to, but I am struck by how unanalytical the reaction in the comments as been.  My take is that it tries to provide three different but interrelated answers to the question: should the church use its resources, goodwill, moral authority to oppose the acceptance of same sex marriage in the political sphere?

The first answer is the easiest to follow: opposition in the political sphere is unfair as a matter of legal interpretation (singles gays out in ways that are no longer possible for other groups) and it is alienating to those whose good will we would like to cultivate, believer or no.  I would add that in its current form, this campaign is successful only because it appeals to existing cultural bias against gay men and women and not because of any acceptance generally of the church's views on marriage.  For instance, Prop 8 would not have succeeded if it had sought to prohibit gay marriage, remarriage and the use of contraception.  In that respect, the church is making common cause with bigots and is not really gaining any fundamental appreciation for its position on marriage.

The second is, the application of natural law as it has been understood is inherently problematic even in an updated form when the cultural cohesion around the subject of marriage -- its purpose, its virtuous attributes, its core personal requirements -- has fragmented as badly as it has.  I would add that marriage is in crisis among heterosexuals under the age of 30 and there is no church organized effort that I can discern to study or even begin to address this problem, a problem that is as likely to threaten our future as any other I can think of.  Contra so much that is inherent in the pronouncements opposing same sex marriage, the goodness of marriage is no longer self-evident to many people.  In that sense, the opposition to same sex marriage is not much more than a giant diversion from the actual problems that our culture does face.

The third is, not only is politics not a shortcut to evangelization, but that evangelization and honest discourse on the subject of marriage might lead to a different answer from the one that the church currently offers.  It might even result in a natural acceptance of same sex marriage. 

You Catholics are NOT just about "preserving traditional marriage." You are simply anti gays. People who are gay are trying to get employment protections, to make a law that says, "You can't legally fire someone (or refuse to hire them) just because they are gay." 

In 27 States THIS is perfectly legal,

"You can pick up your check at the end of the day,I just found out you are a Dyke."

"You have the best qualifications of any applicant, but now that you are here in peron I can see you are a faggot. We don't hire fags here."

THAT is legal in 27 States. P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y legal. The gays have been trying for the longest time to get employment protection. So what does your Conference of Catholic Bishops do? They send in a Letter to the US Senate and tell the Senators that the Caholic Church Opposes the proposed law for workplace protections for sexual minorities. Here read the letter yourself. This is your own Catholic Bishops working their angle to deny workplace protections for sexual minorities, on the flimsiest of excuses. It's shameful it really is.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/07/oh-look-catholic-bishops-no...

 

And here is your ally in your anti gay war,  Gays should not be able to have a job becuse they are immoral.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/07/glaad-frcs-sprigg-admits-it...

 

The gays report on every single anti gay words spoken form the lips of Catholic Leaders. Nothing slips by them. The Catholic Bishops are just the WORST! If a State is having hearings on Civil Unions the Catholic Bishops and Preists we be vorifiously against Civil Unions. However in States that have Civil Unions and the gays are trying for marriage, the Catholic Bishops and Priests will with no shame at all, say that Civil Unions are enough that they support Civil Unions not marriage. Here is one memoriable Bishop. It doesn't have to do with Civil Marriage, but his anti Obama militancy is simply astounding. Again I got this from Gay Websites. Talk about militant! This proves to ME that You Catholics are trying to run the country, take over. You don't respect the seperation of Church and State. You do not believe that gay people are Equal Under the Law. To you they are less than, second class, becaue they are gay. Not deserving of the same rights as you.

http://youtu.be/udJFg4RbQ-0

 

This is who you are in bed with. The Vice President of the Family Research Council saying that this divide may lead to ARMED RESISTANCE against our government.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/08/frcs-vp-of-church-ministrie...

Do you see why I am for the gays and against you? You people are terrible.  Look who you align yourself with. Look who you march shoulder to shoulder with. These are your anti gay allies. 

 

Here more of your Evangelical best buddies. Re-Crimialize and ARREST sexual minorities. ARREST THEM.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/08/afas-top-voice-elaborates-c...

LOOK at what is happening in Russia to Gay People, and the movement in Russia is the Orthodox Church. And by the way, in a later article we learn that the boy in the main picture killed himself. Do young people killing themselves make Jesus happy?

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/russians-are-using-social-media-to...

COUNTRY OF GEORGIA

TBILISI, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - Some 30 people were injured when an angry mob led by clergymen broke through police cordons and clashed with gay rights activists in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday, the country's health minister said.

Gay rights activists from the Identoba (Identity) group planned to hold a rally outside the former parliament building on the city’s central Rustaveli Avenue on Friday afternoon, to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Tbilisi authorities had authorized the event.

However, thousands of anti-gay protestors, mostly Christian activists, priests and members of conservative non-governmental organizations, gathered in the designated location before the rally began, forcing gay activists to change the venue. Several dozen gay rights activists who came to take part moved to a small area adjacent to Freedom Square, about two hundred meters away from the initial site.

(Watch the video about in the middle of the article in the right)

http://en.ria.ru/world/20130517/181207800.html

A number of protesters carrying bunches of stinging nettles threatened to use them on gay activists. They insist that homosexuality runs against Georgia's traditional Orthodox Christian values.

Father David, a priest who was one of the organizers of Friday's anti-gay rally, said the parade "insults people's traditions and national sentiments."

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/05/gay-pride-rally-in-georgia-derailed-with-video-of-antigay-violence-in-streets-of-capital.html

And
http://americablog.com/2013/05/georgia-riot-gay-rights-video-violence.html

And
http://dfwatch.net/gay-rights-protesters-driven-out-of-tbilisi-many-injured-15484

Just LOOK at the world wide persecution of gay people lead by Churches. Look! Now with the internet you can watch the videos. You people are terrible, just terrible. Awful. It is NOT about Civil Marriage for you, it is simply Gay HATE. IT IS!! I monitor French Sites also, I didn't even bring those to you. Just about an hour ago I read a Tweet from a Catholic Bishop in France encouraging the Catholic Haters there to keep on protesting.

Africa is TERRIBLE. Just Terrible. Read, READ IT. Go ahead, I dare you.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/saeedjones/76-countries-where-anti-gay-laws-are-...

This is simply a religious war against gay people. This is no way to treat our fellow human beings. It is not. And you all should be ashamed of yourself for perpetrating this. The biggest leader is the CATHOLIC CHURCH.

 

 

I agree with Barbara. I think the article is important and reveals the honesty and goodwill of Mr. Bottum. As well as his grounding in both medieval and modern thought. I majored in Thomistic philosophy at a Catholic college and during most of my long life, have been a seeker, and a long time in the Unitarian Universalist fold. I'd like to raise another issue that came to mind while reading his article. I would like to ask Joseph Bottum if he were a woman, would he so readily characterize pre-Enlightenment thought as framed in an enchanted world? A few years ago I picked up a history of the Masonic order which stated that it was Masons who made up the Royal Society when it formed in England, a society of scientists and engineers and philosophes striving to demonstrate things not take them on faith. As you know, it was pulled together by the restored King of England hoping to unite warring parties -- Cavaliers and Roundheads -- in order to make progress and make inventions that would help in war, among other things. One remarkable effect of this budding scientific effort, I read, was that within 20 years of its founding, they stopped burning 'witches' in England. Up to that time, the carnage was horrible and the belief in its necessity was a big part of the 'enchanted' world everyone lived in. What to do when one's (idealized) Enchantment was partly founded upon subjugation, hatred (and fear) of women? 

Despite Mr. Bottum's attempt to deploy Aquinas, does anyone really believe the Angelic Doctor appreciates his scholarship being used to justify sodomitic relationships?

Kids need a mom and a dad. Denying this ideal by making mothers and fathers optional does harm to our society. This isnt about the desires of adults, much less the "enchantment" of homosexual acts, this is about what marriage is (and isnt) and why it matters.

In his long and meandering essay, Bottum poses four questions which any Catholic should be able to answer clearly and without difficulty:

  1. By what authority do bishops pass moral judgments in political matters? By the infallible authority of Christ and His Church.
  2. Can atheism offer an intellectually coherent scheme for morality? No, it cannot.
  3. Can we know that an action or attitude is evil, a priori? Yes, we can.
  4. How can we ignore peoples desires? We shouldn't necessarily ignore them, but neither can we condone them when they contradict Church teaching.

That these simple Catholic answers elude Bottum is troubling, to say the least.

 

1: By what authority do bishops pass moral judgments in political matters? By the infallible authority of Christ and His Church.

 

"In the context of the deserved contempt that followed [the scandals in the Church], what kind of loony, pie-eyed judgment could lead the bishops to engage in a sex-based public-policy debate they are doomed to lose—feeding mockery of the church while engaged in the expensive process of losing that fight?" (Bottum, The Things We Share)

 

Sadly, almost any kind of "loony, pie-eyed judgement" imaginable could lead the personally fallible bishops to engage in any number of activities; However, only the infallible judgement of the whole Church could, would, and should lead the bishops (and all Christians) to engage in responsible, intelligent and moral public-policy debate:

 

It is a part of the Church's mission "to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances." (CCC2246)

 

Q2: Can atheism offer an intellectually coherent scheme for morality? No, it cannot.

 

"if heterosexual monogamy so lacks the old, enchanted metaphysical foundation that it can end in quick and painless divorce, then what principle allows a refusal of marriage to gays on the grounds of a metaphysical notion like the difference between men and women?...If marriage is nothing more than a licensed sexual playground, without any sense of sin attached to oral sex and anal sex and almost any other act, then under what intellectually coherent scheme can one refuse to others the opportunity for the same behavior?" (Bottum, The Things We Share)

 

Clearly, whoever is not for the "old, enchanted metaphysical foundation of heterosexual monogamy" is against it. Each of us must take a stand, for or against marriage as a divinely instituted Sacrament as defined by Mother Church:

 

The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent. (CCC1625)

 

It is important for Catholics to remember that marriage is not a product of men, much less an invention of the state:

 

"The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.... God himself is the author of marriage." (CCC1603)

 

Q3: Can we know that an action or attitude is evil, a priori? Yes, we can.

 

"How faithful will [same-sex unions] prove? How much infected by the divorce culture of modern America? How spiritual? How mundane? How will they face up to the woe of the quotidian that, as Schopenhauer insisted, marriage forces us to see? How will such unions aid their participants to perceive the joy of creation?" (Bottum, The Things We Share)

 

God only knows. As a Catholic, Bottum must know that God can bring good out of every evil, including same-sex unions:

 

Where sin increases, grace increases all the more...What shall we say, then? Shall we encourage sin so that grace may increase? Of course not! (Romans 5:20-6:2)

 

We Catholics have a responsibility to oppose sin:

 

Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: by participating directly and voluntarily in them; by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; by protecting evil-doers. (CCC1868)

 

Q4: How can we ignore peoples desires? We shouldn't necessarily ignore them, but neither can we condone them when they contradict Church teaching.

 

"…how can we not take same-sex marriage advocates at their word, accepting that they really seek the marriages they say they desire?" (Bottum, The Things We Share)

 

We can and must take them at their word, yes. They really want what they want. They seek power, freedom, security, health, love, acceptance--and what they seek is good. Bottum's role, as a Catholic, however, is to encourage these misguided advocates to seek what they seek--but not where they seek it. It's called tough love for a reason:

 

The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction. (CCC1829)

 

I'm afraid Bottum is getting swept up in the ever-shifting tide of public opinion. God help him.

 

God help us all.

 Went on Mr. Bottum's Facebook page; asked him repeatedly if he saw any Scripture to support his view in favor of homosexual "marriage?" He repeatedly ignored me. Then this exchange occurred after which he blocked me and, of course, never answered my question.

Me: Do you care what God says?

Bottum: Yes, Mr. Lofton, I care what God says. I was about to say that I don't much care for what the remnants of anti-Catholic Protestantism say, but it would be uncharitable--and that's why I'm cutting this off: My fault, not yours, but your multiple notes here are an inducement to my failure of charity.
 

John Lofton, Recovering Republican

Dir., The God And Government Project

Active Facebook Wall

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-God-And-Government-Project/494314250654693?fref=ts

 

JLof@aol.com

In their political opinions, the bishops are not infallible. 

I told you the Gays never miss one single anti gay word from the lips of your Catholic Leadership.

Here today via Pink News out of the UK, your Catholic Bishop from Hawaii

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/26/bishop-of-honolulu-equal-marriage-c...

Below is the link ot the full letter. It is the usual slippery slope arguments, so disgusting. And to answer the Bishop the State will not recognize poly marriages becaue it is against the States Interest to do so. The State regulates Civil Marriage in order to create stable households to more easily govern. A same sex couple of two is the same amount of people as the heterosexual couple of two, and thus matches the current requirements for marriage. Poly marriages make it much more difficult for the State to Govern and thus do not serve the States Interest. All this letter is, is fear mongering. The fear that gay marriage will mean that gay people will be seen and treated by their fellow citizens, to use the Bishops words, as normal. After he fear mongers his congregations about how bad gay people are, so bad that we should see and treat them as abnormal, he, with no shame at all, ends his letter to the flock, "After all God Is Love"

 

I would like to remind you that every single medical and psychological association says that homosexuality is on the NORMAL SCALE of Human Sexuality. It's normal, there are jsut not many of them is all. Yet our fighting Catholics Bishops are fighting hard as they can to fight science and lead people to believe that homosexuality is abnormal. Does this letter stigmitize and marginalize gay people? You bet your *ss it does. I don't mind the Catholic Bishops ministering to thier flock, but when they step down the church steps and into the Public Square to try to force these views via FORCE OF LAW onto non catholics, I MIND.

http://www.catholichawaii.org/media/215983/bishop_same-sex_marriage_refl...

Bottum is a machiavellian thinker, who wrote this:

"Of course, for purely political purposes, the anti-abortion movement and the foreign-policy activists were obviously correct to join forces--given their shared desire to help reelect President Bush and increase the Republicans' hold on Congress. Polls this spring showed some weakness in popular support for the president's administration, but, as the political analyst Michael Barone observed in response, "the hardest numbers in politics are election results." The pro-life and pro-Iraq Republicans won handily in 2004--and along the way, they laid the groundwork for future gains, with eleven Democratic senators facing reelection in states carried overwhelmingly by Bush and only three Republicans in states taken solidly by Kerry. As nearly every commentator has observed, abortion and the war on terror are now linked at some of the most practical levels of partisan political calculation."

I suppose the fundies are out in force here, but being in lovely Salzburg I have not time to read them!

Yesterday the winner of the best video song with the best Social message was

SAME LOVE (Macklemore & Lewis)

Here are the lyrics-

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
'Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k, trippin' "
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don't know

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we're saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference

Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

(I don't know)

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

We press play, don't press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us

We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up... sex

And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change
Even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love
My love
My love
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm
She keeps me warm

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind

(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
(not crying on Sundays)
Love is kind
(I'm not crying on Sundays)
Love is patient
Love is kind

You Catholics do NOT want it to be the Same Love, but after 4 years of learning and participating in the movement for Gay Rights, I knwow that you are wrong. In fact, it IS the SAME LOVE. They Love the same. The desire to pair off, remain faithful to each other and start a family. I have read thousands of comments over 4 years, comments like "I have been with my husband 23 eyars I want the same protections for our family as anybody else" You can try and "other" them and "smear them with abnormality," but you are wrong. They do Love the same.

http://youtu.be/le2H5oBii0w

You Catholics do NOT want it to be the Same Love, but after 4 years of learning and participating in the movement for Gay Rights, I knwow that you are wrong. In fact, it IS the SAME LOVE. -

 

Straight Gramdmother I believe Jesus would tend to greatly disagree with you.  Not only is He LOVE incarnate, but you make a case against your own defense when you (and others), quote Scripture. out of context 

I suggest you finish reading the rest of Corinthians, including what love is not

Lastly, if being a cheerleader for behavior that puts at risk the eternal Kingdom of God, that is a 'love' that certainly needs to be questioned.  By quoting Scripture (out of context and in your defense), you lose the counter argument that God is not the standard, when in fact, he IS Love,  the standard,.and last but not least, the "Catholic Church" (in union with her faithful members).

 Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9–10, NIV).

Let's keep it simple:  Christianity has given way to neo-paganism.  This has passed the tipping point.  Those whose definition of "good" is tied to what minimizes short-run pain and maximizes material goals are dumbfounded by and frustrated with those who for mysterious reasons follow the "capricious whims" of a "medieval" or "iron age" "god." 

As for Mr. Bottom, his "change of heart" exemplifies how even the most intelligent people will come out thinking funny if they swim in mental manure (that exuded by those at the commanding heights of our "culture" these days) long enough.  When we associate with unrepentant sinners long enough, they become our friends, and sooner or later we move past empathy and into agreement. 

Truth?  What is truth? 

You are trying to direct the conversation back into religious doctrin.

The discussion is NOT about Catholic Doctrin or Holy Marriage,  it is about secualr Civil Rights.

Therefore I am not going to read Corinthians.

Bottom makes the case for CIVIL Marriage not HOLY Marriage, kindly stay on topic.

Circle the wagons seems to me to be your plan.

You make no recognition that not everybody IS Catholic.

According to Bottum, "given the premises available to our culture," heterosexual monogamy now "lacks the old enchanted metaphysical foundation" that supported its unique status. Thus, he asks, "what principle allows a refusal of marriage to gays on the grounds of a metaphysical notion like the difference between men and women?" The difference between men and women is only a metaphysical notion? What about the substantial physical difference which makes the male-female pairing the only kind capable of generating a human future? No pairing of two men or two women can do what almost any pairing of male-female can do. That "old enchanted metaphysical foundation" was not detached from a clear physical ground. Perhaps today's culture is a little unhinged; or not as clear-eyed and honest in distinguishing between reality and desire.

     Granny, if you are an atheist, like Obama, or a neo-pagan, like Hefner, we can still consider this from your view (i.e., the view of those who think the universe created itself from nothing):  You're all about freedom of choice, right?  Who are you to tell me what my "orientation" is? 

     "Homosexuality," unlike gender or race, is a choice, i.e., behavior.  (Otherwise how do you explain bisexuality, unisexuality, pansexuality, transexuality, etc? The young person starts by thinking perverted thoughts, solidifies them in the hardwiring of the brain via dopamine-releasing onanism, and—whalla—they have habituated themselves into something none of their ancestors was, i.e., assuming all of their ancestors had children). 

     If we want as a society to abandon the religious foundations of our society, that is a choice, too.  (I imagine you and your ilk consciously choose to teach kids in schools how to engage in sodomy with the least risk of aquiring a STD.   Look at the highschool "health" textbooks.  They devote pages to birth control and only a brief paragraph to chastity.) 

     Ancient Rome made similar choices.  In such a society it is easy to predict steady increases in medical expenses devoted to curing STD and to making children even more of a "choice" than they are now.   Pressure will build for euthanasia (to keep aggregate costs down).  Your ilk is teaching that evil is good.  Oops, I forgot, "good" and "evil" are slippery concepts for atheists and nihilists. 

 

Too many video games.  We confuse virtual reality with true reality. 

Godspeed,

Roberto

The First Things folk have responded with another mad rant-binge: http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/08/the-elite-project-of-gay-marriage

The false prophets (including Mr. Bottum—one finds it hard to resist making a play on the name) have proliferated and have convinced many.  Given that this kind of “protestant” outlook (sliding towards pantheism on the road to nihilism) still exists in the minds of many far-from-retirement priests, and that most Catholics (even ones with orthodox pastors) apparently cannot resist the tidal forces of our “culture,” no matter how clearly against Sacred Tradition, the Church needs to take drastic measures.  As it is, our shepherds are avoiding the issue, confusing the faithful.  (I know Archbishop Cordileone walks a tightrope, but was nevertheless concerned to hear that last month he said, “The Church must be a safe place where [those who consider themselves “gay”] can feel secure and loved in revealing their orientation to others. . .”  Apparently he believes there is such a thing as “orientation.”  The implication is that people are “born that way”—as Hollywood and the atheists at the APA would have us believe, despite the lack of evidence—and that the sin is no different from any other.  There is no mention of the evil of teaching children, who are not yet in any degree fixed in their “orientation,” that this is just one more example of concupiscence, i.e., that it is not one of the sins crying out for vengeance.  There is no mention that we in a sense help God to sculpt our own souls through our free-will acts, that the edifice of habituated perversion is constructed out of the bricks of myriad sins of thought or deed.) 

It may look like the Church is a billion strong, and in a crucial sense is so, but it won’t be for long.  Many, many of the baptized are not introducing the Faith to their (few) children.  It is better to leap than to fall, so as to land on one's feet.  We may be at the dawn of a new schism, but the alternative is worse.  Clarity is called for, and fullness of Truth.  And the sick branches (those who “refuse to serve,” i.e., to assent to the teachings of the Magisterium,) must be pruned (explicitly taken to task) to save the healthy shoots.  

 

Mr. O'Leary, it seems to me that libertines believe X because they want to do Y.  What about you?  I believe A (e.g., sodomy hurts people) because B (e.g., millions died of AIDS, a preventable disease, over tha last few decades, and millions more are forced to remain on deadly chemical cocktails).  Ntural law has something to be said for it. 

 

I quite enjoyed the article. As a 32 year old married, soon to be divorced catholic with one child under the age of 3...I find myself constantly chewing over the disenchantment of marriage...the disenchantment of life.  I never was able to jump aboard the "say no to same sex marriage train" and this article helped clear up and define why.  I agree its here and there is no civil reason it should not stand, no coherent argument that can be won in the courts.  However, I have been moved to focus more on finding that "deep magic" still lingering in the world - a call to be an authentic catholic witness to life. Right now i feel empty and disenchanted, but with Gods grace anything is possible, right?

On a side note: this article seems a good compliment to go Chesterton's Orthodoxy, which I am in the middle of

 

Thank you

Roberto Hill makes a discovery: "apparently there is such a thing as orientation". Sadly, or rather very happily for gays, the anti-gay argumentation since the very beginning of the modern gay movement has been unable to get beyond: "Yuck, sodom, unnatural, perverted", with the result that in every respectable forum (psychological, legal, political, theological, academic) the pro-gay argument has scored massive victories. This is due, of course, to the superior merits of the gay argument, based on human flourishing and human rights (pagan ideas in the eyes of some). The pro-Jewish argument has similarly leapt to victory as millennia of anti-Jewish prejudice has been exposed as what it is: tawdry, hateful, unjust, vicious, cruel, inhuman and dehumanizing, and leading to the most obscene kinds of mass violence.

Frank Wessliing misses what is wrong with Bottum's dismissal of the metaphysical foundation of marriage. Of course marriage has a metaphysical foundation, elaborated in Christian thought. It is based on mutual love and support which are an image of the divine (Genesis 2) and it provides the most humane context for procreation. Gay marriage also has this metaphysics on its side. Marriage equality, contrary to what Mr Wessling things, is not biological equality but moral and legal equality, similar to that between fertile and sterile marriages.

"paganism" and "neo-paganism" are the terms most frequently used in an apotropaic sense by Catholics who are nervous of modernity and modern rationality. This rhetorical has been in circulation since the 19th century, and its poverty is transparent.

Roberto Hill, the man's name is "bottum" not "bottom" -- a minor point, but it shows a lack of respect.

Roberto, someday there will be a cure for AIDS.  What, then, will be your argument?

Also, lesbians have never contracted AIDS through sexual contact.

Roberto, Roman empire was at its zenith when the Romans worshiped their emperor as well as Jupiter, Juno, and all the other gods they borrowed from the Greeks.  It was only AFTER Christianity became the state religion that the Roman empire disintegrated.  

Christianity, sad to say, brought a new kind of intolerance (from Theodosius on), spiraling to monstrous antisemitism and persecution of gays in the medieval period. Angela makes a valid point -- the same one orchestrated with ironic brilliance by Gibbon in his notorious fifteenth chapter. Christianity can be healed and renewed only by fulling facing these unpleasant facts.

Brava, StraightGrandmother.

Mr. Bottom,

To thine ownself be true for you will personally answer to Our Lord Jesus Christ on Judgement Day.

There will be no secular justifications, no excuses, no cloudy fuzzy logic answers just 100% pure truth to answer for ourselves and about ourselves.

Not even the "secular humanistic progressive liberal modernist beast" will help.

How will you answer?

It is NOT too late to immediately change your life now for none know the moment that we pass.

Good Luck

 

 

So apparently this article has been misread. Bottum is NOT saying that sodomitic relationships are ok. He's simply saying that the Church should stop publicly teaching that sodomitic relationships are harmful, immoral, and not to be enshrined in our laws as marriages. Get the difference? Because I dont.

Yeah, and I am ever reminded of how Jesus 'evangelized'...interesting how history always repeats itself. Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners. Look at how corrupt the world was back then; not much difference here  in America. We are just all appalled at how quickly our nation has publicly turned. Kind of like we were asleep at the wheel...at the command of go into the world and preach the gospel. Seems like much of the religious efforts are turning into what might look like liberation theology - taking theology to the political realm, etc., to change things. Things will not change until people's hearts change. We hear talk of love, but where is the real love of a human being to not tell him of God's love for him, loving him so much that He died for him, wanting him to be with him in the eternal life that will follow for us all. Only such deep and true love can  save us all. I mean, read the Bible. We will all be held accountable for our lack of love - seeing our brother in deep spiritual need and turning our backs.....this is what all the problems are all about, in this country and all over the world. I don't know the specific answers and I would not try to publicly meander about them like Mr. Bottum did, but, let's just get back to the basics - read the Gospels and look at our example in Christ. He is the 'Truth' you know; there is no other. We can love each other. We can be Christian  in Politics. We can hold our moral stance and move forward. Carefully examine our own American history and you can see the moral decline from way back, the effects of what other countries have done in their breaks from the one true Church and how we have done the same thing....

It seems easy but not, I guess....history is repeating itself, once again....read the Bible and read history....what do we really need to do? We have our marching orders from our Saviour, who died that all men might be saved....

CMSH

Yeah, and I am ever reminded of how Jesus 'evangelized'...interesting how history always repeats itself. Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners. Look at how corrupt the world was back then; not much difference here in America. We are just all appalled at how quickly our nation has publicly turned. Kind of like we were asleep at the wheel...at the command of go into the world and preach the gospel. Seems like much of the religious efforts are turning into what might look like liberation theology - taking theology to the political realm, etc., to change things. Things will not change until people's hearts change. We hear talk of love, but where is the real love of a human being to not tell him of God's love for him, loving him so much that He died for him, wanting him to be with him in the eternal life that will follow for us all. Only such deep and true love can save us all. I mean, read the Bible. We will all be held accountable for our lack of love - seeing our brother in deep spiritual need and turning our backs.....this is what all the problems are all about, in this country and all over the world. I don't know the specific answers and I would not try to publicly meander about them like Mr. Bottum did, but, let's just get back to the basics - read the Gospels and look at our example in Christ. He is the 'Truth' you know; there is no other. We can love each other. We can be Christian in Politics. We can hold our moral stance and move forward. Carefully examine our own American history and you can see the moral decline from way back, the effects of what other countries have done in their breaks from the one true Church and how we have done the same thing....

It seems easy but not, I guess....history is repeating itself, once again....read the Bible and read history....what do we really need to do? We have our marching orders from our Saviour, who died that all men might be saved....

CMSH

Sodomy is not a family value. Bottom needs to take off his own glasses and put on the Catholic Church glasses as Steve Ray would say. 

As a reminder to everyone. The discussion is about CIVIL Marriage, NOT Holy Marriage.

In New Meico which has nothing at all in thier laws or Constitution one way or the other, Judges County by County are ruling that same gender couples have the right to marry. The reson for the refusal previously was the paper form, becuse the paper form had husband and wife on it. Finally one brave County Clerk aid that the salutation on the form is not what is important to register, what I need to register is the names.

All Happiness is breaking out in New Mexicao, County by county.

 

All of you people who are so dead set against this, I ask you one thing.

Just look at the news report of the people getting married. Just look at them and hear thier stories.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3141670.shtml?cat=500

Remember these are American Citizens. There is no justifiable reason to deny these people, that which we claim only for ourselves.  These couples fit the pourpos and the meaning of why we have the State regulating Civil Marriage. They need protections for their families just like we do. There is no reason if one of them dies that the second one can't collect on their parnters Social Security. These people are a couple, they are families, we need to recognize that, and stop this mean DISCRIMINATION against them. I am not going to deny these gray haired ladies who have been together 40 year the same benifits and protections I receive. Just give in and recognize that not everybody is straight and that is ok. We dont all have to be the same. Love IS Love.

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3141670.shtml?cat=500

To respond to this fellows longwindedness. Does he not recall the parable about the seeds being planted? Some will fall on rocky ground and die? Some will be on firm ground and so on. That is what people are at for their faith and morals. We have a right as Free Speech and Free Religion to speak up about same-sex marriage which it wouldn't be according to the bible whether Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon or Muslim just to equal things out. Why? Because it is in Leviticus Ch. 18 that it is not what God wants us to choose to do as the Pagans did. Another Biblical referrence is Romans Ch. 1. Neither of these have anything spoken about Sodom and Gomorrah. Look in the Book of Revelation and you will find it in there about people following sexual perversion and not to do that. I am paraphrasing by the way. It is not a sin to be gay. The sin lies in the actions. Just like people having premarital sex and sex outside of marriage. People are not supposed to be doing that but they are doing that anyway. There are gay people in the church. We have a right to stand up for our faith and our belief in god. People who don't believe in God cannot quench out the fact that we have those rights. The early Christians didn't give up and I am not going too. As Aarron Tippin Sings; "You've Got to stand for something or you"ll fall for anything. You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string. Never compromise what's right and uphold your family's name." I have had people try to tag me a gay because I am not married. I have dated men and been engaged a couple times. I just chose to not get married to the wrong man. I don't appreciate people telling me what I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be. Hitler tried that and do you see him still here? He was brought up Catholic and do you see that he followed the faith? I think not. Although Hitler would've loved taking people who are homosexual and killing them; because he hated homosexuals just as much as the Jewish people. It also says in the bible not to be willy nilly and stand up for the faith and not let others run you.

Hey Grandma, no one religion "invented" marriage. Marriage is a natural reality which the Church recognizes as being a path to Heaven. But marriage in of itself is not a religious construct. Bad things happen when our law gets marriage wrong. Our laws should get marriage right. I will not give in to redefinition.

NC Woman Charged With Ordering Son To "Beat The Gay" Out Of His Brother

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/08/nc-woman-charged-with-ordering-son-...

RUSSIA

Russian landlords use propaganda law to hound gays in thier own homes

Witch-hunt notice warns tenants to be vigilant - gays 'can look ike you' but are breaching the law by 'living as a homosexual' and may offer you sex

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/russian-landlords-use-propaganda-law-...

 

I am convinced you people have no idea the persecution against gay people. After a couple of murders this summer and NUMEROUS gay beatings, HATE CRIMES, NYC Police Dept is offering free self defence class for gay people. There has been a global surge in this anti gay violence since June 2012. It is REAL. All reports out of Europe show Gay Beatings UP, by high numbers. This IS REAL.

 

The French Catholics at Manif Pour Tous had a protest in Munich Germany not this Saturday but the Saturday before. A featured speaker was German, the National Leader of the Neo Nazi group in Germany. You do not understand how this Catholic lead global fight to deny gay people civil rights is being amplified by the public.  You don't understand how your preaching and constant public advocating against gay people is putting them in harm. But it is. I monitor this.

 

Russian landlords use propaganda law to hound gays in their own homes

 

Witch-hunt notice warns tenants to be vigilant – gays ‘can look like you’ but are breaching the law by ‘living as a homosexual’ and may offer you sex

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/russian-landlords-use-propaganda-law-...

Russian landlords use propaganda law to hound gays in their own homes

 

Witch-hunt notice warns tenants to be vigilant – gays ‘can look like you’ but are breaching the law by ‘living as a homosexual’ and may offer you sex

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/russian-landlords-use-propaganda-law-...

 

TEXAS: Christians Pray Against LGBT Rights At San Antonio City Hall

This is NOT about Civil Marriage. This is simply a demonstration to maintain the law in San Antonio Texas that makes this 100% Legal

"We don't serve Fags here" That is Legal in San Antonio, and the Christians want to keep it that way.

It is simply a religious war against gay people. Didn't you people earn anything after the Holocaust? Didn't you learn about picking on a group of people based on a shared charateristic and then systematically and publically deamonizing them? Don't you see it? Because I see it.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/08/texas-christians-pray-against-lgbt....

and this article you can read the proposed ordinace

http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com/2013/08/rally-for-discrimination-in-san-...

If one is familiar with COURAGE it is the wise teachings of the understanding of one self and one's purpose in life as a child of God and an understanding of "why do I feel this way?".  Marriage; creation; One all powerful, Omnipotent God's plan for the children HE created.  He made them man and woman with the parts that fit and He asked one thing, OBEDIENCE.  A WISE OBEDIENCE to LOVE GOD & ONE ANOTHER AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF!!! Love yourself and you will love your spouse.  THat means SELF SACRIFICE which is UNHEARD OF TODAY!  UNSELFISH LOVE!  I give you LOVE and RESPECT and SERVICE and ViseVersa.  What is LOVE and RESPECT and SERVICE?  Loving one soo much as to NEVER desire to hurt them by INFIDELITY!  Loving one's CHILDREN created in this marriage soo much that one would NEVER break apart NOR ABUSE these children nor eachother.  That said, if the BASE of the marriage and parenting is that of SERVICE & LOVE then the children will NOT WANT FOR ANYTHING more than what has been modeled for them and they have been filled with the LOVE of their parents and of God...in a PERFECT WORLD!  This is the IDEAL, This is the PURPOSE for which we have been created in God's family.  To stray from this is HURTFUL to the FAMILY.  We ALL CRAVE FOR THAT WHICH we DO NOT HAVE, for that EMPTINESS left from the beginning.  Whether it be a missing parent, an abusive parent, a neglectful, alcoholic, workaholic parent, the parent who was NOT there emotionally or was TOO MUCH there emotionally without BALANCE then there WILL BE UNBALANCE!  THis is what Courage explains in so many words.  Why do I feel this way? Get to the root and understand why?  and then realize that our sexual orientation does NOT DEFINE WHO WE ARE it is only a part of who we are and God can and will bring Good out of the circumstances.  Children who have been neglected or sickly at birth and not touched or loved in the beginning stages of life will hunger for the affection of what he/she has lost.  That loss may never be fulfilled but if we realize that we do have a HEAVENLY FATHER who will fulfill all our needs than we don't need to cling to that which is EARTHLY and passing.  We have a purpose, a road to take, a NARROW road in which to enter the KINGDOM of HEAVEN.  God sent his son, Jesus, to show us that route to heaven.  SACRIFICE and SERVICE and LOVE is the ONLY WAY in this VERY SHORT LIFE!  We must recognize our faults, our parents' faults and MOVE ON and we have a responsibility to our children the children of today to teach them and mirror and reflect the LOVING PATH TO ETERNITY not our selfish endeavors!  I accept my mistakes, I acknowlege why I feel the way I do, and I am a celebate and loving parent and will do my best to teach my child to take the path God has chosen for her to achieve everlasting happiness, NOT HERE but for ETERNITY!

A good example of why I never really trusted First Things; overly long-winded, unclear, and ultimately wrong on many accounts. It never ceases to amaze me how Catholics of this stripe will jettison Church teaching in favor of personal experience, how otherwise intelligent people so easily fall into moral relativism.

Dee Cree, "I am a celibate and loving parent"

Why? I thought you were supposed to be fruitful and muliply. Doesn't your husband mind your celibacy? Or are you a widow?

(oh and paragraph breaks are always appreciated)

I am a celebate and loving parent

I am a celebate and loving parent"

Um...I think you are the same guy that claims he caught "gay demons" from doing gay porn - and I mean literal demons through certain sexual act - you weren't being metaphorical.  I say get thee to an exorcist pronto!  http://gawker.com/5972910/ex+gay-former-porn-star-joseph-sciambra-on-why-satan-loves-anal-sex

translation: we don't have any facts or arguments on our side against same sex marriage so we invoke the get of jail free card - a) God (or his Pope) said so!  Or even better - b) natural law (as promulgated by the Catholic Church of course and thus the same as a).

It's circular reasoning and despite the best efforts by Robbie George, Marky Mark Regnerus, and old cranky John Finnis, everyone outside of right wing catholics and their water carriers here at the supposed "liberal" commonweal - find these assertions absurd - even laughable.  It's so juvenile and reductionistic - part a goes in tab b - haven't you guys progressed any since the 12th century.  We can forgive Aquinas - he was working with what he had in the middle ages - but just like we no longer believe that the earth is the center of the universe and blood letting cures disease, no rational person is going to be persuaded by purely sectarian diktats from the last medieval absolute monarch in the World...your beloved Pope.

 

---jimmy 

Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Catholic Church did not oppose the Massachusetts Legislature’s lifting of the ban on the sale of contraceptives.

In a submission to the Legislature in 1965, Richard Cardinal Cushing stated that “I as a Catholic have absolutely no right in my thinking to foist through legislation or through other means, my doctrine of my church upon others. It is important to note that Catholics do not need the support of the civil law to be faithful to their religious convictions.”   

Charles Lacina 02/08/2013  http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=23108&cpage=1#comment-155415

 

A marriage certificate issued by the state does not make a marriage sacramental, and the religious community’s blessing of a faithful, lifelong, monogamous union does not institute a civil marriage. The current consternation in the Catholic circles exists because we have combined and confused the two entities in this country. It would be incomprehensible to churches and citizens throughout most of Europe, where marriage [civil] and matrimony [religious] are separately contracted.

And since the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the civil marriage of its adherents, why should it concern itself with the civil marriages of same-sex couples?

(Rev.) Frank Bergen Tucson, Ariz. Ltr to Editor, 1/4/10

http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=12079

Straight Grandmother reminds us that the current rise in homophobia (reaching quite poisonous proportions among French Catholics not to mention American and Russian fundamentalists) no doubt corresponds to the social need for a scapegoat in times of stress. Race lynchings and pogroms against Jews are no longer respectable, but crackdowns on gays are an ideal substitute for many, who believe, like racists and antisemites of old, that they enjoy biblical authority.

Did Mr. Bottum write the sub-head for his article or was that supplied by the editors?

As it stands, the sub-head says "A Catholic's Case for Same-Sex Marriage"

As I read his article, it would have been more accurate to say:

A Catholic's Case for Not Opposing the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage

Nancy Freeman, "Sodomy is not a family value..."

With all due respect, it is not any of your business Nancy Freeman.

In fact gay sex is not the governments business either. As Americans we have a sphere of privacy that the government may not abridge.  We have the right to Liberty afforded to all of us under the Constitution, meaining we can do whatever we want, absent harm to others. It really is none of your damned business what people do in their bedrooms. And FYI I hear anal sex is not restricted to gays, apparently lots of straight people do it. It's a new thing now I guesss.

It is just a mean demeaning comment meant to denigrate people who are gay.

This is who you are denigrating

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-75-most-unforgettable-moments-from-mi...

Sodomy is not a family value. Bottom needs to take off his own glasses and put on the Catholic Church glasses as Steve Ray would say.  - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#sthash.yqJryoZ1...

StraightGrandmother, Compassion for those with same sex attraction does not require that we redefine marriage. Bigotry is real. Anti-gay violence is real. But redefining marriage is not the answer.

 Interesting findings have developed that proves Holy Mother Church had our best interest in mind when the Church disallowed contraceptives.  Has anyone bothered to notice the increase of homosexuality?  These people can't help their chemical make up.  They were in fact born that way!  When the Birth Control pill was created, long term studies were not accomplished, until now!  Now we are dealing with a conflict that God never intended

The birth control pill also has been shown to increase a woman’s level of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which decreases the amount of testosterone available in her body.[27] This is one reason birth control pills are sometimes prescribed to treat acne. A decrease in free testosterone in a woman’s body may decrease the severity of acne. However, when testosterone is decreased, so is the woman’s sex drive.

Yes, "practical considerations" are important for the bishops to stop fighting legalized same-sex marriage (the Church doesn't have to perform them).  The same "practical considerations" argue against the Church's absolutist position in opposition to all abortions, as well as its opposition to artificial birth control.

Someone just had to drag Obama into this debate.  How do you know Obama is an athiest?  Did he tell you?  How do you know what's in his heart?

Despite Bottum''s voluminous verbiage, he still fails to  explain how a vice can be transformed into a virtue.

Reminder, the discussion is about CIVIL Marriage NOT HOLY Marriage

More Christian Hate on Gays. This one From Australia

Tony Abbott makes campaign pitch at school that calls homosexuality an 'abomination'

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/29/australia-tony-abbott-makes-campaig...

And from the UK

Archbishop of Canterbury tells gathering of Christian Leaders, "We have to be really really repentant for our Homophobia"

http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/the-archbishop-of-canterbury-tells-...

 

It is a Religious War against Gay People. The gays report every single instance of the Christian war against them. Research shows that Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner, Does.Not.Work. In fact, the more people hate the sin, the more they hate the sinner. Research out of a Catholic University.

http://www.uclouvain.be/en-440358.html

-R. Sertorius - Only RELIGION teaches that gay sex is a sin (vice). SCIENCE says homosexuality is on the NORMAL scale of Human sexuality. Thus you prove my point, it is simply a Religious War on gays. You are going against science and while that may work for a while, eventually Religion looses and Sciences wins the hearts and minds.

 

Back to San Antonio Texas where the fight is on to institute a Non Discrimination Ordinace in the city.

You watch this video and imagine if you were gay. Just put yourself in the shoes of a gay person. Just pretend you are gay while you are watching this.

http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2013/08/san-antonio-city-council-holds-meet...

All this to preserve the existing right to say in San Antonio,

"We don't serve Faggots here"

I'm not gay but I cna't imagine what it would do to my psyche to sit there for hours and hours and haours listening to people talk about how vile you are. To listen to people talk about their <i>Religious</i> rights, how based on <i>their religion </i> they should be able to say, "Pick up your check in the office, I just found out you are a Dyke, we don't cotton Dykes working here."  It is perfectly LEGAL in San Antonio Texas to be kicked out of your apartment for being gay. They can write that right into the leases, <i>legally</i> "No homosexual allowed." In fact they can run it in their newspaper ads advertising an apartment for rent,

"2 Bedroom, 900 sq ft, No Homosexual allowed"

That is perfectly Legal.  Does this remind you of anything? Anything?

Anthony J. diStefano:   Of COURSE the President is an atheist. Aren't all Kenyan Socialists atheists?

Joy  Powers:    I’m going to let you in on a well-kept secret (but don’t tell anyone, OK?) Homosexuals were around lonnnnnnnnnng before birth-control pills were invented by that good Catholic doctor (John Rock). Just because you didn’t know anything about it speaks more to your ignorance than to reality. Now don’t tell anyone, puhleeez. You’ll scare the women (particularly cloistered nuns), children and horses.

Is it true that Jim's anger helped persuade the author to change his mind about centuries of Church teaching?  I kept imaging the opposition facing Jesus.   Ought He to have changed His mind about His teachings when He saw the cross, the nails, the whips, the chains, the crown, the anger?  Are we to change our minds when we experience the same?  Jesus said that his words would bring division here on earth. These blogs, the homosexual-marriage issue offer evidence of the truth of His words.      

M Lieberton,

http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/comment/179469#comment-179469

Can't you stay on topic?

Jesus is not mentioned even ONCE in our Civil Laws. Not once.

The discussion is about CIVIL MARRIAGE NOT Holy Marriage.

The history of marriage and the Church is clear enough. For almost the whole of the first 1,000 years of Christian history there is simply no such thing as “Christian” marriage. Christians get married, but they get married according to the laws and traditions of secular culture. There is nothing resembling a Christian marriage service, a liturgy, until at least the eighth century. Even then weddings remained firmly under civil jurisdiction for another 400 years. It is only in the post- Reformation period that, by canon law and custom, it becomes a requirement in both Catholic and Anglican traditions that a priest officiates at a wedding. Always, of course, the actual ministers of the sacrament are the couple themselves and not the priest.

 

Marriage is robustly secular. Although often missed, this is what informs Paul’s teaching on marriage. Getting married is what people do, and that is part of its “worldly” nature. Christians have had to recognize for most of the last 2,000 years that marriage has taken a variety of forms and that these have largely been dictated and developed by secular culture rather than by the Church.

 

The history of marriage and the Church has not been helped by a deep pessimism about sex going back at least to Jerome and Augustine. And while the very positive statements of modern church leaders about marriage and the family are welcome, these have little resonance in the tradition. The lives of the saints illustrate this very well. Few formally canonised saints in the Western Church have been married. When they have, their sanctity has more to do with marriage as a negative experience.

Supporters of Mr. Bottum can spare us all lengthy arguments by answering one simple question:

Is sodomy a vice or a virtue?

As a Catholic educated in the Thomistic tradition of natural law, I have for years, reconciled same sex relationships through the understanding that being gay simply represented  an inversion rather than perversion for the human's object of sexual desire. This understanding is supported in anthropology, and ethology (a substudy within zoology). It occurs naturally and has been observed for decades in more than 250 animal species, including humans. It is part of natural diversity in the animal kingdom. As Thomas' arguments were molded by his understanding of science in his day, I've never understood why it could not expand as our understanding of the science of the nature of things expanded. Thomas was wrongly accused of supporting abortion because of his purported belief that the fetus represented "lower" animal life (because of its tail like structure) during early gestation. I'm not certain of the veracity of this claim, but 13th century science was certainly limited in what it could explain about the developing child. Ensoulment was more the concern than abortion.

So, as we gain in our understanding of what constitutes the full breadth of the human condition, we need to be willing to go where the "natural" sciences take us, espeically over time. That said, it certainly doesn't mean the Church should embrace sacramental unions of any variety. Sacraments are defined and limited, for convention and at this tiime in salvation history to seven in number. The Church has every right to define its sacraments, rites, sacramentals, and devotions. Civil and sacramental unions between a woman and man may be defined as Marriage within the church, blessed by a priest and witnessed by the couple's attendants. If the state or civil society wants to add other unions,so be it. Those additions do not diminish  my solemn vow, taken both legally and spiritually within my community of faith as defined by that faith community and recorded by civil court.. The acceptance in society of commitments by same sex couples to support each other and live together and share in all the benefits that results in committed relationships - especially in an aging society, may be recognized by civil and legal entities but they pose no threat and will not destroy the Sacrament of Matrimony that I share with my spouse.. So for the sake of compassion and our search for Truth let us embrace diversity and stop trying to legislate morality to the masses - especially those who have no intention of ever wanting anything to do with the sacrament. . We all learned a long time ago that Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by CHRIST to give grace. Ain't no "state" mentioned anywhere in that definition.  If the state wants to let my wife and I to seal the deal with a legal document  in addition to sharing in  the Sacrament, then hey, let's take the twofer and let those that want the marriage with a small "m" have it. We already know that kids do better in two parent households simply because there are more resources - human and financial. Divorce is what destroys marriage, not same sex couples wanting to be married. 

The most thorough and cogent reply to Bottum's position I have read so far:

 

http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=993

 

An excerpt follows:

 

Even if Catholics could find a stronger defensive position, what would we use it for? To launch our own offensive? On what issue? What other public battle should we be fighting? From the Catholic perspective, there is no public-policy issue—none—more important than the defense of marriage. Bottum toys with the notion that after conceding on same-sex marriage we might regroup to oppose abortion. Really? In theory homosexuals should have no stake in the abortion issue, but in practice they have made common cause with feminists. (“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”) We will not break up that alliance. More to the point, since the family is the fundamental cell of society, any attack on the family—whether it is abortion or homosexuality—is the equivalent of a cellular disease: potentially fatal. A society that his given its stamp of approval to homosexual alliances is not a society that will protect innocent children, born or unborn.

Bottum theorizes that if Catholic leaders relent in their opposition to same-sex marriage, hostility to the Church will decrease. This too is a fantasy. The avowed enemies of Catholicsm will not be diverted from their purpose. In a revealing piece in the New Republic, Isaac Chotiner heaps scorn on Bottum’s argument because it is, he says, “a calculated attempt to ensure the flourishing of conservative Catholicism.” He might be willing to accept Bottum’s help to ensure full acceptance of same-sex marriage, but if that maneuver would strengthen conservative Catholicism, the deal is off.

Wayne Sheridan, "Bottum theorizes that if Catholic leaders relent in their opposition to same-sex marriage, hostility to the church would decrease"

Bottum is right and I am a perfect example. I had no bone to pick wiht the Catholic Church BEFORE you jumped in so forcefully into the public discrimination laws against sexual minorities. You, you yourself turned me into a hater of Catholic Leadership and all who follow thier lead on the public persuction of sexual minorities. It didn't have to be this way, leadership could have done the exact same thing as Richard Cardinal Cushing did in Massachusetts with the change in law to permit the sale of contraceptives. Cardinal Cushing said that Civil Law does not have to match Canon Law for a good and faithful Catholic, that you can follow Cannon law. 

Trust me gays report on every single anti gay mutting of your lips. They don't miss a one. Every day across multiple gay rights websites I see multiple different stories on what the Christians are doing today to hurt gay people. You don't realize the damage you are doing becuse you only hang out with each other on Catholic websites. Go hang out at the gay websites and your eyes will be opened.

www.JoeMyGod.blogspot.com/search/label/religion

or for strictly Catholic Hate

www.JoeMyGod.blogspot.com/search/label/catholic

www.GoodAsYou.org

www.BoxTurtleBulletin.com

http://Ameriblog.com

I would say you don't even have to endorse same sex marriage, just stop opposing it would go a long way. Just shut up. And stop your lying against gay people, accusing them of being pedophiles, and not capable of monogomus lifelong pairing.  Quit showing up in San Antoinio Texas waving your Bibles around claiming you want the RIGHT to fire gay people simply because they are gay, and not have anything at all to do with what type of employment work they actually do. Just STOP!!

You have not only lost all claim of attracting gay people to your faith, you have lost many of us who ere not in opposition to you prior. What do I read constantly as comments on gay sites, "Why don't they worry about feeding the hungry and clothing the poor, instead of worring about us?" You are picking on gay people, you are being mean to them, and they dind't do anything to deserve it.

 

If you REALLY believe your doctrin is the right way, then make yourself attractive, show God's Love, do good works to help the poor and the suffering, people will become attracted to you and then want to follow your doctrin. Instead what you are doing is forcing your doctrin on all the rest of us who ARE NOT CATHOLIC.  You Catholics need to learn your place in the secular world.

 

And Maximus15 The Supreme Court has already ruled in Lawrence vs Texas (and you can go look that up and do read the court's decision) SCOTUS has ruled that it does not matter if gay sex is a vice or NOT, under civil law people have the Liberty Rights granted them under the Constitution to do whatever they want to, even gay sex if they want. We do NOT live in the United Catholic States of America! Live your life the way you want, if you think gay sex is a sin, well then don't ever do it.  Again Maximus15 our laws are based on our HUMAN RIGHTS not church doctrin so it does NOT MATTER if gay six is a vice or a sin. It.Does.NotMatter. You live in the United STATES of America. We believe in Liberty and Freedom to choose our own morality, not have it forced onto us through force of Civil Law. You want to decide what is moral, and legal for everybody. I don't, as long as people are not harming anybody they are free to make their own decisions for their lives, THIS is called Freedom & Liberty.

 

You Catholics are horrible, jsut horrible the way you treat gay people, and you are hated for it.

Bottum theorizes that if Catholic leaders relent in their opposition to same-sex marriage, hostility to the Church will decrease. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#sthash.cHPIUHRO...

Bottum theorizes that if Catholic leaders relent in their opposition to same-sex marriage, hostility to the Church will decrease. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#sthash.cHPIUHRO...

Okay this time Evangelical CHRISTIAN HATE and LIES. See you can't speak the truth because the truth is on the side of gay people, so you HAVE to LIE.

Focus on the Family president misses point, makes ours

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/08/focus-on-the-family-preside...

You have lost the argument that the fight for gays rights is NOT a Civil Rights struggle similar to what black people fought. If you listened to the speakers this week for the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King March on Washington almost every single one of them cited Gay Rights as part of the greater struggle for equality. MLK's daughter, son, even if I remember right his sister who is quite elderly. ALL of them see the same predjudice and de jure discrimination against gay people TODAY in 2013 that they fought against in the 1960's.

NOM wnated to drive a wedge between black people & gays. It didn't work. Except for the minor following of anti gay black pastors, black people are solidly PRO GAY. And why wouldn't they be? They have seen and felt discrimination and are able to see that in others. Actually Hispanics are the biggest group that supports gay marriage, I forget the percentage but I think it is in the high 60's. 

 

You have lost this Religious War against gay people and all you are doing is making people want to protect and support gay people and to hate you for your hatred, discrimination and predjudice under civil law.

Maximus15:  "Sodomy" is also practiced by married heterosexual couples.  Is THAT a vice?

Wayne Sheridan:  Why should gays have no stake in the abortion issue?  Lesbians do exist, you know--and some of them become pregnant.

All the anti-gay, or at least anti-Bottum, comments I have read here seem to be fixated on sex between males.  Lesbianism doesn't seem to get under anyone's skin to nearly the same degree.

Anglea: Yes!

Everyone else: It is not bigotry to defend traditional marriage or to use precise moral language. A thousand sneers do not make an objection. Find another line of argument for redefining marriage, for changing our laws to teach that mothers and fathers are optional, instead of essential. (For starters, why dont you offer a definition of marriage to start with, clearly you find the traditional legal definition insufficient).

I might add that the traditional understanding of marriage (the one that went unquestioned for 2,000+ years) existed prior to Catholicism, and can be found throughout societies in history, many untouched by Judeo-Christian ideas. In short, no one religion "invented" marriage.

The traditional definition is true, and therefore its Catholic. Not the other way around.

Angela,

The quote is the commentator's, not mine. Yes, lesbians do become pregnant, but, of

course, not by their partner. I think those who are Pro-Life would welcome support to

stop the horror of abortion on demand from anyone who is truly pro-life. So, I hope that

is your position and your support, if so, is blessedly welcome.

 

Wayne

 

 

 

Let's change countries. On my my French Twitter followers tweeted me out a French Bishops letter. In it he says that Catholics SHOULD NOT follow unjust laws. There should be a get out of jail free card for Catholic Mayors who refuse to mayy a couple of the same sex. The French words for this are when he speaks about Freedom of Conscience.

Then he invites everyone to what is called Summer University. That was such an odd phrase I had to ask one of my French Twitter Peeps what that was. Basically the term University is a misnomer, think of it more as a Value Voters Summit type of thing. Notive on the right hand side of page 4 who will be speaking, why what a surprise! (not) the President of Manif Pour Touse which is the main French Catholic Group that puts on all those protests. Manif Pour Tous tries very hard to hide thier Catholic group founding and continuing basis. But trust me is is completely Catholic lead and followed. That is who is protesting in France, Catholics.

 

A newspaper reporter in Paris did a big investigation becasue Manif Pour Tous tried very hard to hide their Catholic assocoations. They got so busted, it was amusing actually. They created all these fake websites to make it look like these jsut generic children's groups were supporting Manif Por Tous. Turns out all the websites were created recently and they were all created by leaders of Catholic organizations. I mean it was so obvious, they did a terrible job at obfuscation. I at least give more respect for Brian Brown at the National Organization for Marriage at least he is up front and honest (unlike the French) about NOM being created and funded by religious organizations. He is very up front about it.

Here is the French Bishops letter and notice President of Manif Pour Tous will be presenting. It is a Global Religious War against Gay People and the Catholics are the Leaders http://t.co/RkGzj0Svjx

Maximus15:  is divorce and remarriage a vice or a virtue?  How about “Catholic divorce” … annulment?

The Catholic Church effectively gives tacit approval to divorce with what has become the charade of annulment.  In their 2002 book, “Catholic Divorce:  The Deception of Annulments”, Joseph Martos and Pierre Hegy state:

“Because the grounds for annulment have become so broad that practically anyone who applies for one can obtain it, many observers now regard annulments as ‘virtual divorces.’  After all, the same grounds for divorce in a civil court have ‘become grounds for the nonexistence of marriage in an ecclesiastical court.’  (Page 23)  To add to the deceit, many couples who receive annulments do so believing that their marriage was, in fact, sacramentally valid – that the marital bond did exist but that, over time, it began to break down.  These couples, understandably, choose not to disclose this part of the story to marriage tribunals so that they can qualify for an annulment.”     http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2586453/posts

In other words, it is the Catholic game of nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

Does that make it virtuous?

But once again … as StraightGrandmother keeps pointing out … Bottum’s argument … and those of so many of the rest of us … is about CIVIL marriage, not any religious rite.  Feel free to put whatever conditions on your religious rites that you want … the more onerous, the better, I gather from you.  However, keep your hands off of the rights, benefits and responsibilities granted to tax-paying citizens by the State in a CIVIL marriage ceremony.

Jim: Stop changing the subject. What ought the CIVIL definition of marriage be? The traditional (conjugal) definition? Or an alternative (which no one, not even Bottum, has articulated explicitly)?

The onus is on you to argue for redefinition. I stand on the tradition.

And it does not follow that abuses of the annulment process necessitate the redefinition of CIVIL or sacramental marriage.

Max15 I will give you what you have been asking for. I think you will REALLY want to read the Testimony of Dr. nancy Cott Professor of Histlry harvard University. Dr. Cott studied Marraige from the States point of view for 10 years before writing the definitive peer reviewed book on it.

She testified in the Prop 8 Trial and actually Judge Walker used her words practically verbatium in his decision. And in the DOMA cases this is also the definition used.

Here it is-

"But I think that the larger understanding of marriage, from the State's point of view, and the larger purpose would put an emphasis on the household formation that marriage founds, and the stability of that household formation, its contribution to the social order, to eceonomic benefit, to governance."

AND

"However, still today, the purpose of the state in liceensing and incentivizing marriage is to create stable households in which the adults who reside there and are committtedd to one another by thier own consents will support one another as well as their dependents."

 

"The institution of marriage has always been at least as much about supporting adults as it has been about supporting minors, children, as the proponents tend to emphasize the child's side"

 

You shoudl read her who testimony it is facinating and saves you from having to read her book. Civil Marriage has changed plenty in our country and the witholding of Civil Marriage Licenses was used OFTEN to punish unfavored groups. You will want to read about the States of Clifornia & Oregon and other western states when there was a great migration of Chinese men whe came there and built the railroads, the States made laws that said prohibited marriage between whites and Chinese, Maylays. etc. And Russians The Congress made a law that said if a woman married a Russian man she would loose her US Citizenship. You already know that slaves were not permitted to marry and of course interacial marriage was struck down in Loving vs Virginia not that long ago.

 

The point is, if you read Dr. Cott's testimony you will see that we often used Civil Marriage laws to punish unfavored groups of people. The final group is now gay people. All these laws changed, when people talk about how marriage has been the same, no it hasn't, we have used Civil Marriage Laws to discriminate against unfavored groups of people.

Here is a link to her full testimony and I think you will find it facinating. She is a Hitorian who studied the State's interest in Marriage for 10 Years. She is THE expert so you can't jsut say, "Well I don't agree with her" She's the expert. Unless you have a bigger badder PhD in History we have to accept her scholarship. Many people have written books on Marriage, but no one wrote it the way Dr. Cott did, form the Stattes Point of View, or I shoudl say the State's Interest in regulating Civil Marriage.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/116836110/History-of-Marriage-Discrimination-i...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/116836110/History-of-Marriage-Discrimination-i...

Apologies for all my typos, I jsut plain have to slow down in my typing, I am typing to fast and making to many typos.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will Officiate at a Same Sex Wedding this week-end. 

See Catholics you lost. Surrender, resistance is futile.

Under CIVIL LAW there is no justifiable reason for allowing old people beyond that age of pro-creation to marry yet deny CIVIL Marriage to gay people. We see it as what it is DISCRIMINATION. The gays are an unfavored group, and this is one way you can discriminate against them, tell them, shove their faces in it, that they are not like privelagged you, and not worthy of the same rights you claim for yourself.

 

When Justices of The Supreme Court start Officiating at Gay Weddings, you lost. And when the movers and shakers of Washington Society show up for the wedding they are telling you that they approve.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ginsburg-to-officiate-same-sex-we...

 

You have lost and you are just making people hate you for keeping up resistance, you are wrecking Catholcism. You are giving Catholocism a bad name because we all see that all you are trying to do is force your religious views into CIVIL MARRIAGE (NOT Holy Marriage) CIVIL MARRIAGE. You are mean bullies trying to throw your weight around and make everybody conform to your Religious views on what CIVIL Marriage should be.

 

Straight Grandmother,

It is not a civil recognition of gay relationships that most people who oppose so-called "gay marriage"  object to, it is the equating ofsuch with real marriage, as defined by nature, by history and by all civilzations to date. If the State wants to grant civic benefits to gay couples, so be it; it may be both advantageous to the State and to the couples. But, to equate such an arrangement with marriage is patently absurd. It is not a religious view to say gay couples cannot be married. It is a common sense, traditional, natural and right view to anyone who looks at it objectively.

 

Wayne Sheridan

 

Wayne Sheridan, to afford sexual minorities the exact same State benefits but to call it by a different name stigmatizes gay people. It is the same as having seperate drinking fountains. If you are all in favor of the State recognizing these unions with the exact same benefits then there is no good reason not to call them marriages, other than predjudice.

 

Here, you would do well to read the testimony of Dr. Ilian Meyer PhD Columbia University Sociomedical Sciences start on the .pdf page 137

http://www.scribd.com/doc/116828561/Perry-Vol-4-1-14-10

 

And the testimony of Helen Zia start at .pdf page number 213

http://www.scribd.com/doc/116828656/Perry-Vol-5-1-15-10

 

 

 

 

Grandma, my generation believes that witnessing to truth is never futile. You may think us naive. Perhaps we are. But we are no more naive than those pro-lifers who rejected the wide consensus that Roe v. Wade "settled" the abortion debate (we now know how shortsighted that was!) They kept witnessing to truth, and so will we.

More later on your definition of marriage (eg, the "consent-based" view) and your comparisons to interracial marriage.

One of the worst enemies of Tradition is traditionalism.  Real tradition lives by changing and dies by simply repeating itself.  Sebastian Moore, OSB, letter to editor, "The Tablet" 29 July 1989.

Theologians have always held that tradition comes in two forms. There's Tradition with a big "T" and there's tradition with a little "t." Big "T" Tradition encompasses the authentic teachings, life and worship of the church handed on through the ages; it's the presence of the Christian mystery revealed in time and space. With a little "t," tradition refers to beliefs, devotions, pious practices, regulations and interpretations of the Gospel that may have impact for a time but are of human origin. Not everything labeled Catholic tradition is necessarily big "T." So how do we tell the difference?

None other than Professor Joseph Ratzinger, then at the University of Tubingen,  regretted that Vatican II had not taken a new examination of tradition. "Not everything that exists in the Church must be for that reason also a legitimate tradition," the future pope wrote. "There is a distorting, as well as a legitimate tradition. ... Consequently, tradition must not be considered only affirmatively but also critically," with Scripture serving at times as a criterion for "this indispensable criticism of tradition."

In 1976, the eminent theologian Karl Rahner discussed John Paul's declaration on ordination: "If the declaration appeals to an uninterrupted tradition, this appeal is not necessarily and justifiably an appeal to an absolutely and definitively binding tradition, an appeal to a tradition which simply transmits a 'divine' revelation in the strict sense, since there is obviously a purely human tradition in the Church which offers no guarantee of truth even if it has been long undisputed and taken for granted."

One of the points that needs to be made over and over again is that what the “Church” teaches isn’t “traditional” marriage in any sense of the word tradition. First, the Church’s own teachings aren’t “traditional” because they have recently and materially changed, and have probably changed throughout two millennia in ways I don’t know.

Second, when one expands marriage to incorporate other cultures, now, and going way, way back, to examine concepts such as pair bonding and monogamy and polygamy it is simply uncertain or doubtful that what the Church teaches at any given time is strictly Traditional.

And so, what one finds simply from the perspective of sociological examination, is that marriage has always been a changing institution, and that changes have taken place primarily for cultural, social and economic reasons. The effort to fix marriage in time, any time, ours or our parents or grandparents, is a mistake because it is far less likely to be able to be flexible enough to offer a practical model for happy and durable marriages in a changing society. This is the major flaw with Humanae Vitae: it makes marriage so hard one might conclude one should give up on either marriage or the Church or maybe even both, if that’s what it really takes to have a “successful” marriage.

Traditional marriage, over time and in different (including various Christian) cultures has been: one man with multiple wives, multiple concubines, wives conquered in war and wives acquired in levirate marriage, possibly including girls under the age of ten, but definitely not including anyone of a different ethnic group, in an arranged marriage with disposition of property as its purpose. That seems very different from “one man, one woman,” does it not?  (See also:  http://www.yawningbread.org/apdx_2004/imp-141.htm; http://ncronline.org/news/spirituality/look-marriage-equality-historical-perspective

Today the legal significance of the word “marriage” -- as describing the place of legal sexual expression, shared property, and, most importantly, core obligations for the care of children -- is once again different from what it once was. Marriage is a changeable idea that today, as in the past, matters politically, legally, culturally, and for individuals as they construct meaning in their lives.

There is no prejudice against gay people by recognizing the profound difference between marriage and gay unions. If gay couples seek benefits from the State for their union and the State grants them, so be it; it may be good for the couple and the State. Their is no need to change the millenia definition and understanding of marriage.

 

"There" rather than "their" in the above; too early to be typing.

 

Wayne, there is no "profound" diffenece between gay couples and their Love and straight couples. You are making that up. It is a declaration on your part not supoorted by facts. Look at these wedding pictures and point me to the "profound" differences.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-75-most-unforgettable-moments-from-mi...

 

Wayne, so did you read the Testimony in the links I provided to you above?

Do the readers here actually read the sources I point you to? Or do you stick your head in the sand and only hang with your Catholic Peeps?

Are you afraid to read them?

Morning CHRISTIAN HATE.

Gays attacked in thier own homes as Jamaica hits 'record levels' of violence

Pastors accused of stiring up mob violence as Christian groups plan second anti LGBT-march.

Jamaica’s LGBT community is facing an ‘unprecedented’ level of mob attack and is appealing to the world to come to their rescue.

Jamaican LGBT advocate Maurice Tomlinson told Gay Star News he believes the violence is being stirred up by anti-gay pastors who are angry at moves to rid the island of its sodomy law.

The last month has seen attacks on people in their own homes, in private cars, and even an assault on a police officer suspected of being gay who had to be saved by fellow cops using teargas.

Meanwhile the murder of 17-year-old cross-dresser Dwayne Long Jones on 22 July made headlines around the world.

The violence has spiraled after the Love March Movement organized protest parades against gay rights around the island on 23 June.

That was two days before the domestic legal challenge to the island’s sodomy law started in court on 25 June.

Tomlinson highlights the following incidents:

  • Dwayne Long Jones was stabbed and shot to death and thrown into bushes at public street-dance near the resort city of Montego Bay on 22 July.
  • A suspected gay police officer was mobbed in downtown Kingston on 1 August. Fellow officers fired gunshots into the air and teargas into the crowd.
  • On the same day the home of two gay men was surrounded by an angry mob trying to get rid of them. The police had to rescue them.
  • On 6 August reggae artiste Queen Ifrica used her performance at a taxpayer funded independence celebration to condemn gays and demand they be removed.
  • A cross-dresser was rescued by police after being attacked by a mob in St Catherine on 10 August.
  • Residents form the parish of Manchester attacked the home of five gay men on 22 August, barricading them inside. The police had to save them.
  • On 26 August the Minister of Education said at a press conference to launch the new Health and Family Life Education Teachers’ manual ‘we are not grooming children into the homosexual lifestyle’ and ‘the only wholesome relationship is between a man and a woman’. Ironically, the Minister has an adult gay son who lives outside of Jamaica.

On the same day, two gay men in the town of Old Harbour were in a car crash. But when onlookers realized they were gay they had to flee and seek shelter in a police station.

Tomlinson said: ‘The public reporting of attacks is completely unprecedented. We would normally expect to hear about an incident a month. It is not just the level of the attacks, but also the severity.’

Now another hate-fuelled Love March is planned for 14 September, with organizers promising it will be even bigger, further heightening tensions.

Tomlinson compares it with a similar march in Haiti which led to spiraling violence with 47 gays beaten with machetes, sticks and cement blocks in one week.

Tomlinson, who is legal advisor for minority groups at AIDS Free World, said: ‘One pastor went on a public platform and said there are religious leaders who are willing to die for this issue.

‘So if they are saying this in public, you can just imagine what they are saying in their churches.’

Tomlinson said people were even scared in their own homes and driving private cars after the thug attacks.

He added: ‘There is a general tension in the [LGBT] community.

‘There are some who are more strident now about demanding their rights because they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

‘Others are more nervous. They are talking about being careful, watching who you go out with and going out in groups.’

He reports the police have improved their response to homophobic incidents, having been instructed by their commissioner that discrimination would not be tolerated.

But he says the government must now act.

Tomlinson told us: ‘The government said they would be calling a parliamentary conscience vote on the sodomy law before the end of the year. But that was three months ago and we have not heard anything since.

‘We are not sure if they will act now or wait until the legal challenge progresses.

‘It is now in the hands of the government to see these attacks stop happening because even a police officer was mobbed in the middle of the city because he was suspected of being gay. Nobody is safe.

‘The longer the sodomy law stays on the books, the longer we will have these attacks and the religious groups will continue to use it as rallying cry.

‘But it is not sufficient to just remove the law. We need the government to make definitive statements to promote the rights of LGBT people.’

Tomlinson says Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has remained silent on the matter, and he wants people to contact her to show ‘the world is watching’.

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gays-attacked-their-own-homes-jamaica...

Gay people are being attacked and MURDERED in Jamaica. READ THE STORY.

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gays-attacked-their-own-homes-jamaica...

THIS IS YOUR CHRISIAN LOVE

And remember every single day the gay press reports the Christian persecution of gay people by Christians. Every.Day You are just a bunch of Haters hiding behind your cloak of religion to justify your maltreatment of gay people.

You are no different than the Southern Baptists who started the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845 in order to maintain slavery. This is a Religious War on Gays and it is Lead by the Catholics.

More to the point, since the family is the fundamental cell of society, any attack on the family—whether it is abortion or homosexuality—is the equivalent of a cellular disease: potentially fatal. A society that his given its stamp of approval to homosexual alliances is not a society that will protect innocent children, born or unborn. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#comment-179556

More to the point, since the family is the fundamental cell of society, any attack on the family—whether it is abortion or homosexuality—is the equivalent of a cellular disease: potentially fatal. A society that his given its stamp of approval to homosexual alliances is not a society that will protect innocent children, born or unborn. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#comment-179556"

Wayne,

More to the point, since the family is the fundamental cell of society, any attack on the family—whether it is abortion or homosexuality—is the equivalent of a cellular disease: potentially fatal. A society that his given its stamp of approval to homosexual alliances is not a society that will protect innocent children, born or unborn. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#commen

I think I may have figured out the copy/paste from this website.

How the heck is homosexuality an "attack" on the family? A gay couple living on your street is NOT an personal attack on you. Mind your own business. You live in America, not Russia. In America we have agreeded to live under the Constitution which says that we are all, all citizens, are to be treated equally by their government. It pointedly does NOT say that heterosexuals are a privelaged class.

And linking gays with abortion is simply a mean tactic to connect TWO unrelated issues. It's ganging up. This is a not so veiled appeal to people opposed to abortion to join you in your fight against people who are gay. In other words, "If you are against abortion you have to be against gay people too."

People who are gay are NOT ATTACKING YOUR FAMILIES. They are living their lives and want you to leave them alone. You are attacking THEM, not the other way around. Gay people are NOT promoting State Constitutional Amendments to dissolve your families. People who are gay anr NOT seeking to pass laws that say that a heterosexual couple may NOT jointly adopt children. No it is the other way around. In 27 States it is ILLEGAL for a gay couple to jointly adopt a child. Gays are not attacking YOUR families trying to pass that same law against heterosexual couples like you did to them.

Using "Attack on the Family" is a psychological play on words make it seem like you are "victims." You are NOT victims, you are the aggressors.  If anybody is being attacked, it is gay people.

"Their is no need to change the millenia definition and understanding of marriage."   Wayne:  I'll repeat it again as you obviously didn't read it:

Traditional marriage, over time and in different (including various Christian) cultures has been: one man with multiple wives, multiple concubines, wives conquered in war and wives acquired in levirate marriage, possibly including girls under the age of ten, but definitely not including anyone of a different ethnic group, in an arranged marriage with disposition of property as its purpose. That seems very different from “one man, one woman,” does it not?

(See also: http://www.yawningbread.org/apdx_2004/imp-141.htm; http://ncronline.org/news/spirituality/look-marriage-equality-historical-perspective -

Which of these definitions and understandings of marriage are you touting as sacrosanct?

All I mean by tradition is that marriage was defined as a man-woman union across cultures, in societies untouched by Judeo-Christian ideas. So marriage isnt a Catholic invention. But just because something has been, doesnt mean that it must continue to be. That is fallacious. Rather than argue from tradition, its better to argue from reason. What is marriage? Give me a cohesive definition that provides a PRINCIPLED basis for excluding "throuples." Why only two? Why must it be permanent? Why must it be exclusive? The "consent-based" view does not answer these questions. The traditional (better term is "conjugal") view DOES answer these questions.

Laws banning interracial marriage were about WHOM to allow to marry. Not about WHAT marriage is. White supremacists thought a black man marrying a white woman was just as possible as a black man drinking from a whites only water fountain. Legalizing same-sex marriage is not about expanding the pool of people eligible to marry, but about what marriage IS.

Grandma, you could spend hours relating horrific stories of violence against people with same-sex attraction. Such acts are despicable. But it does not follow that marriage ought to be redefined because true bigots are commiting acts of violence.

"Wayne, there is no "profound" diffenece between gay couples and their Love and straight couples."

Only one man and one woman can unite bodily in the behavioral portion of the biological process of human reproduction. Two men's acts, or two women's acts, form NO part of this process. Their unions, however tender and emotionally bonding, are not true bodily unions. Bodily union = marital act. Where marital acts are impossible in principle, marriage is impossible in principle.

...in other words, there is a PROFOUND difference

Max15 you asked for a definition of marriage and I gave you one. Now you ask how I can defend that position against polygamist marriage, okay I'll defend it. The States interest in regulationg CIVIL Marriage is primarily to create stable households to more easily govern the amorphous. Note the words, "To More Easily Govern" The reason we can have same gender Civil Marriage and NOT polygamist marriages are that multiple partner marriages make it to hard for the State to govern, it is contrary to the State's interest.

Just think of a State employee, say it is a man, he pays into the State Pension system as ONE MAN. He dies, at payout to surviving spouses the State now has to pay out to 5 widows. Plural marriages put the State at an ecconomic disadvantage therefore we will never have polygamist marriages.

 

So you never commented about the definitive History of the State's interest in regulating Civil Marriage, Dr. Nancy Cott's testimony. Why is that?

You are trying to obliterate a part of a persons core identity when you use the term same-sex-attraction. Is that ALL YOUR heterosexuality is to you? Opposit sex attraction? Or is your heterosexuality a large part of your personhood? It is just another tactic to demean and devalue people who are gay. To reduce their sexual orientation to merely "attractions."

 

And YES you contribute to all this violence against people who are gay when you protest their Equal Civil Rights. Becasue you are telling the world that gay people are "less than." People hear your message Max15, and they act on it.  So keep it up, keep calling people :sodomites" keep denigrating people who are gay, accept your part in the resultant beatings, torture and murder.  You have blood on your hands.

 

 

The State has an interest in children. Why else would we have civil marriage? The State has no interest in regulating my love life. The State DOES have an interest in incentivizing mothers and fathers to stay united for the sake of any children their union produces.This isnt about the desires of adults, but about the needs of children. Kids need a mom and a dad. President Obama agrees, especially when it comes to fathers abandoning their families. But it's very hard to argue that fathers are ESSENTIAL when our laws teaches that fathers are OPTIONAL.

Sodomy is a precise term that describes a particular act that is, in principle, not marital. This is the truth. I will witnesd to it. Another truth is that my brothers and sisters with SSA are just that, my brothers and sisters, deserving of my love and compassion. But as Ive stated before, compassion for SSA persons does NOT require that we redefine marriage.

If the state has "an interest in incentivizing mothers and fathers to stay united for the sake of any children," divorce would be much harder to obtain.  For that matter, I remember when it was so difficult to obtain a Catholic annulment, engaged couples would write each other letters "confirming" their agreement not to have children, thus insuring that in case their marriages failed, they'd have written, though bogus, proof of one of the few grounds for annulment.  

Straight Grandmother has been right all along: Bottum is talking about civil marriage, not sacramental marriage.

What does Max15 do? Does he discuss the testimony of our Nations Leading Historian who spent ten years researching the State's interest in regulating Civil Marriage, Dr. Nancy Cott Professor of History Harvard University? Does he do that? Why doesn't he discuss her testimony under oath, and she was NOT contridicted by any witnessess for the defense, her testimony that the State's interest in regulating Civil Marriage was to create stable homes for the economic benifit of the State, in order for the State to more easily govern? AND that the State has always focused on the Couple, not simply for the benefit of Children. Here let me get that quote for you,

Q. - Now, here Professor Cott, I'll read this for the record. Mr. Cooper said that: "Across History and customs marriage is fundamentally a pro-child institution between a man and a woman. Marriage aims to mee the child's need to be emotionally, morally practically and legally affiliated with the woman and man whose sexual union brought the child into the world." In your view, from a historical perspective, is that acorrect and complete description of the purposes of marriage?

A.- No, I think it's a very partial description.

Q.- And why is it only a partial description?

A.- Well, as I look at the history, I see very little evidence that the State atuthorities considered marriage from the point of view of it's pro-biological-child advantages. It's not that those advantages were absent. Not at all, But, rather that the purpose of the state, as I began to say before, and the incentives given to marriage were much broader than this, in the aim to create stable and enduring unions between couples, and so that they would support one another, whether on not thy had children, and that they would support the broad range of thier dependents. Biological children but others (*Note from SGM, "others" included slaves, parents, orphaned nieces & nephew, etc.)

 

AND

A.- Looking at this historically, what I am emphasizing here in using that word is the regulatory purpose of marriage from the State's point of view. And long ago marriage had an importnat political governance purpose. It set men up as heads of households who would be responsible economically for thier spouses and for any of thier dependents, whether those were biological children, adopted children, step children, slaves, apprentices, etcetera. But the point of establishing marriage and giving certain benefits to it was to ensure that the sovereign would be able to govern the large amorophous, large, variable population in smaller subunits which were households. Now, that political governance purpose of marriage today is -- has shifter rather dramatically, becuase we no longer assume that a single head of household governs everyone below it. We have a much more individualized distribution of political power in our population, particularly since 1920 when women got the right to vote. However, still today, the purpose of the state licensing and incentivizing marriage is to creates stable households in which the adults who reside there and are committed to one another by thier own consents will support one another as well as thier dependents. The institution of marriage has always been at least as much about supporting adults as it has been about supporting minors, children, as the proponents tend to emphasize the child's side.

 

But what does Max15 do? Instead of talking about the evidence he runs from that and resorts back to hectoring his point of view with nothing to back that up. Ignoring the truth testified to, and never refuted by the defense, will NOT have you winning any arguments. 

 

Sexual Minorities are jsut as capable of creating stable homes as straight couples and they DO FIT THE HISTORICAL and PRESENT DAY purpose of the State's interest in having them married.

 

You can hector all you want all over the itnernet but in Court where rights are won, it is evidence that Judges rule on. Your hectoring of your opinion is NOT evidence. I'm bringing you the evidence here, which you are pointedly not discussing.

 

Next, our Moring CHRISTIAN Anti Gay HATE

(I told you the gays report every single instance of Christian HATE against them)

Australian anti-gay protestors face off at marriage equality rally

Christian group attempted to crash pro-gay rally, but were shouted down.

Christian anti-gay groups interrupted a rally for equal marriage on the teps of Sydney's town hall today (01 September)

 

Pro gay activists from Community Action Against Homophobia gathered for a demonstration in support of marriage equality six days before Australia's federal elections.

 

The day began with speeches outside Sydney town hall, followed by a march through the streeets.

 

The rally was quickly interrupted by anti-marriage equality campaigners, who countered the protest with anti-gay rhetoric.

A man with a loudspeaker was joined by Christian activists waiving anti-gay banners warning homosexuals about 'judgement day'.

 

The banners included the messages, 'Do you love your sin enough to burn in Hell forever?' and 'Hell is horrible, no warning is too strong!'

 

Joining the Christian protestors were members of Adelaide's controversial Rundle Mall street preachers, known for their homophobic views and attempts to charash Adelaid's gay pride parades.

See rest of article here - http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/australian-anti-gay-protestors-face-m...

Australian anti-gay protestors face off at marriage equality rally

 

Christian group attempted to crash pro-gay rally, but were shouted down

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/australian-anti-gay-protestors-face-m...

Australian anti-gay protestors face off at marriage equality rally

 

Christian group attempted to crash pro-gay rally, but were shouted down

- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/australian-anti-gay-protestors-face-m...

This is a global Religious War against people who are Gay and it IS Lead by the Catholics. Shame on you, shame on all of you. You are so unlike Christ.

Id give Professor Cott the same response I gave you. Why is the state interested in regulating my love life? True equality forbids arbitrary line-drawing, but you do just that when you espouse a definition of marriage based on mutual consent and shared experience AND refuse to extend marriage benefits to "throuples." Tell that to polyamorous persons, "you cant have marriage because it would be alot more paperwork." Your revisionist view reduces marriage to the level of ordinary friendship. In other words, "marriage" simply offers the most of what makes any ordinary friendship valuable: emotional union. If this view prevails, our marriage law will be reduced to a government registry of friendships. I see little reason why Prof. Cott, or anyone, wants that to happen...but that is precisely where the argument goes.

Angela, you make a great point. "No-fault" divorce harms a healthy marriage culture by teaching that marriage can end for any reason, or no reason. The traditional reasons for civil divorce were adultery, abandonment, and abuse. We are talking about civil law only. Our law taught that marriage ought to be permanent and lasting, and in terrible circumstances, could be legally dissolved. But that is no longer the case. A culture of no-fault divorce teaches that marriage need not last longer than the love lasts. And this harmed our culture.

Max15 I Defended my definition of CIVIL MARRIAGE, the State's interest in regulating CIVIL MARRIAGE and I defended why the STATE is not obligated to issue marriage licenses to polygamist marriages using not MY definition but the definition provided by Dr. Nancy Cott. http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=2#comment-179627

 

Your follow up "opion" does not trump the expert 10 year peer reviewed scholarship testimony of Dr. Cott. Do you have a bigger badder PhD in History than Dr. Cott? You can't wish it away and opinion that this isn't the History of the State's Interest in regualting Civil Marriage. It is not my opinion or definition, it is the Historical Facts of the State's Interest in Civil Marraige.

 

August 31, 2013 - 6:01pm

I suspect Prof. Cott would be the first to say that an argument ought to be evaluated on its merits, not on the academic degree of the advocate. I find Prof. Cotts arguments unconvincing. Instead I find the arguments of Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George far more compelling (see their book "What is Marriage?" for a serious non-religious defense of the conjugal view. They rely on reason, not their academic prestige, to make their case. (Though prestige they have aplenty...Girgis is a Rhodes Scholar at Yale Law School, Anderson is a Fellow at Heritage, and George is Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom).

In short, neither you or Prof. Cott (or Joseph Bottum for that matter) counter these objections to redefining marriage.

If true equality forbids arbitrary line drawing, how can you deny "marriage" to a polyamorous union when the definition of marriage rests on mutual consent and emotional union (but not sexual complementarity as described in a previous comment)? Theres no reason of principle why three people cant agree to share assets, live together till death do them part, agree to hospital visitation rights, file taxes, etc. Why does it even need to be sexual at all? This definition collapses marriage into ordinary friendship, which is my point.

Max15, you have not refuted anything. I am done with you. Keep on Hectoring your unjustified "opinion"

It doens't matter what Robby George et al, posit about (Catholic) Natural Law. What matters is CIVIL LAW and our CIVIL American History. And on this point Dr. Cott is the expert. We are not making Greek, or Roman Law, we are in the United States of America, talking about OUR AMERICAN History and what the State's interest has been. We are also talking about the longstanding history of DISCRIMINATION that Americans have used via Civil Marriage Laws to punish disfavored groups.

I am done with you. Your generic hectoring of your "opinion" is not based on any historical facts.

But it is based on reason and human nature (no one religion invented those things either!) You have not responded to my questions, which is a shame. If you cant answer the most standard objections to your position, why are you in this debate?

I hope you reconsider your support of the redefinition of marriage. With marriage goes the culture. May that disaster be averted.

Mr. Bottum, thank you for this thoughtful piece.  As a bisexual woman who, just two weeks ago, legally married my same-sex partner (now wife!) of over 8 years, and as someone raised in a conservative Christian (non-Catholic) church, it brings me great joy  to read about your journey towards a deeper understanding of fairness, equality, AND the true purposes of the Church, which do not include fighting against equal treatment under the law for all people.

Given that I am bisexual (and was born this way, thank you very much), I have experienced two great loves in my life.  The first was a man and the father of my first child.  We were teenagers when we became parents, and the difficulties of that reality proved too much for our relationship.  Although we gave it a valiant try, we eventually accepted that the best thing for our daughter and for each other was to separate.  I am proud to say that we still successfully raised our daughter to adulthood without the need for court intervention.

The second great love of my life is the woman I married, and she is the other loving mother to our adopted child--a child who is also my biological niece, but is truly our daughter, as we have raised her since she was three days old.  A child who was born to a drug dealer father and a drug addict mother, neither one able and/or willing to parent the little girl that they had created.  In fact, he has never met her or even wanted to, and he could not wait to sign away his parental rights when we adopted her, so that he would no longer be responsible for paying child support.

We have provided a loving, stable, and happy home for our daughter, which is something that would not have happened for her if she had been raised by her biological parents.  We are the only parents she has ever known, and we love her fiercely.

Having the unique experience of these two great loves of different sexes (and NO, not at the same time, as the myths about bisexuality might suggest), I can attest to the truth that there is no meaningful difference in the way people in straight relationships love each other and the way people in gay relationships love each other.  There is also no part of being a good parent and raising healthy and happy children that is dependent upon the sex, gender, or sexual orientation of the parents.  A child needs parents who love, nurture, educate, sacrifice, discipline, role model, and provide a safe and secure home.  And I dare anyone who believes that our daughter is harmed by having two loving mothers instead of a mother and father to come into our home, meet our smart, funny, amazing child and see how mistaken such a belief truly is.

Those who claim to favor the so-called "conjugal" understanding of marriage demean the institution by reducing it to the penis-in-vagina sex act.  Marriage is so very much more than that.  When I married my wife two weeks ago, it was because I love and know her in a way that no one else does.  It was because I chose to pledge my life and my fidelity to her, to support her and care for her, to honor her above all others, to share in all of life's joys and sorrows, to vow before God, my family, and friends that I would love and protect her for as long I live and breathe.  Although I was committed to her and would be with her for life regardless of whether we could legally marry, being able to do so serves to strengthen our bond and our family in ways that being together without marriage could not.  And as an attorney, it is immensely gratifying to lay claim to the equal protection of the laws and the liberty promised to all citizens by our Constitution.

I am familiar with all of the arguments and catchy talking points of those who would deny our freedom, our equality, our family, our marriage.  They claim that state recognition of our right to marry will destroy society, damage children, and erode freedom.  They claim that there is no public purpose to including same-sex couples in marriage, and that marriage will become nothing more than "a registry of friendships," as if fairness, equality, stability for our families and our children are somehow invalid public purposes, and as if our loving and committed romantic relationships are indistinguishable from mere friendship.  Yes, my wife is indeed my best friend, but  she is so very much more than a friend.  She is my closest companion, my lover, mother to one of my children and stepmother to the second, the glue that holds our family together, my muse, my biggest cheerleader, my rock, and the one person in this world who can see through to and touch the depths of my heart and my soul.  To degrade and demean our love by assuming we are without "complementarity" simply because we are of the same sex, by believing that we should be treated as legal strangers by our government, by referring to us as mere friends or roommates when we are a family, by accusing us of destroying society or hurting children when we are excellent parents who participate in our community and support each other and our friends and family, by using the Bible as a weapon against us when we were both raised in the church and are motivated by our faith to be kind, compassionate, humble, responsible and respectful human beings--all of this fundamentally wrong, unChristian, and anti-American.

Apologists for depriving us of our equality and our dignity rely often on logical fallacies, half-truths, gender stereotypes, and other invalid and ill-informed arguments to make their case.  They reduce marriage to a sex act and to procreation.  Indeed, they even claim--without the slightest bit of intellectual honesty--that sexual orientation is a choice (or they try to make a false distinction between who a person is romantically attracted to, and falls in love with, and how that attraction and love is physically expressed.  They claim that same-sex couples cannot enjoy the oneness and bodily union that men and women enjoy in marriage, as though such a bond and a union is possible only by procreative intercourse (or, in the case of infertile straight couples, a participation in the procreative sex act but without the actual procreation).  Those who make such claims are either willfully ignorant or purposefully calculating and cruel.  I prefer to believe that they just do not get it, instead of believing that their great harm done to LGBT persons is fueled by hate, although I know that many do just hate us.

But I am still astonished by the great lengths some will go to, the intellectual dishonesty they employ, the animosity they will spread, the ease with which they engage in moral condemnation of us, the mischaracterization of our lives and of our motivations for marriage, the refusal to respect our families, and the failure to understand the simple truth of the universality of love, commitment, and yearning for marriage to the one person in life who chooses you and who you choose to walk beside along the uncertain and unfolding of life's journey.  

At the end of the day, I know the tide is finally turning in our favor.  And so I am able to just shake my head in exasperation at those who would deprive us of our place at the marriage table.  "Tradional" or "natural"marriage is not diminished or destroyed by allowing us to marry.  It does not neef "defending." The sky is not falling!  Heterosexuals will still fall in love, get married, and have and raise children.  Not one single same -sex  marriage will prevent heterosexuals from doing these things.  In fact, the only thing that will change is that more people will be fulfilled through legal marriage.  I know I am.

"Redefining marriage is not the answer" -- so what is the answer? And I don't think we are talking about redefining marriage, just welcoming more people into it.

Maximus 15 talks about "my generation" and presumes to speak on its behalf. Does he mean a generation of 90 year olds? 

 

All this song and dance about "sodomy" is absurd -- it's just a sexual act, like many another -- and like all sexual acts it can be an act of tenderness and unitive love. Sorry if that freaks you out, Max, must be a generational thing.

HJH's comments of yesterday are the best comments on the topic. You keep fighting fiercely for your daugher HJH.

I, as a straight person will fight along side you. The first gay webstie I ever read was in January of 2010, the start of the Pop 8 Trial. Since that time I have become aware and educated. I accept the fact that there is a minority of our population is not 100% straight. And that this fact, does NOT remove them from having the same exact Civil Rights as we straight people. I have read perhaps thousands of comments similar to HJH's. Sexual Minorities are just as capable of forming lifelong monogomous love relationships as we straight people. And they by virtute of being an American Citizen deserve the exact same Civil Rights as the rest of us.

 

Since 2010 when I started investigating and following this issue because of the Prop 8 Trial, I have followed the same path as Mr. Bottum's friend Jim. I never had a bone to pick with the Catholic Church, their leaders or their followers. But all that has changed. My eyes have been opened. It is a Religious War against Sexual Minorities and it is Catholic Lead. Instead of saying the word Catholic, I now spit the word Catholic. That is what you have done to me, a mild mannored grandmother. You people are horrible oppressors, no different than the Southern Baptist Convention which was created in 1845 in order to preserve slavery. You oppress people who are gay, denying them full civil rights, similar to 3/5ths of a man. You are YOU ARE THE SAME.

Thank you SG!  As a member of the LGBT community, I want to express gratitude for all of our straight allies like you.  My state approved our right to marry by popular vote, so my family owes our legally wedded bliss to people just like you who were (and are) willing to stand up for our equality, our dignity, and our happiness.  People like you were able to see that we have the same dreams, the same goals, and the same desire to love and be loved and to be recognized and protected as a family.  The vast majority of people who attended our wedding are straight.  And yet they all wanted to celebrate our joy and our legal union, just as we celebrated at their weddings.  Every minority group's struggle for equal civil rights has depended on a critical mass of support from  the majority--whites who fought segregation with their African-American brothers and sisters, men who understood and supported women's quest for equality, etc.  And the huge advances made in ensuring equal treatment under the law for LGBT people have been because our straight allies, friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors have stood alongside us in our struggle.  We still have a long way to go before anti-gay discrimination and hatred are part of our distant past instead of our daily existence, but we ARE moving ever closer to that day.  Every person like you who makes the effort to get informed, to get to know us, to refute the lies told about us, and to refuse to tolerate discrimination,  hatred, oppression, and even violence done in the name of God and a misguided understanding of religious freedom, helps us move closer and closer to the day when the words "liberty and justice for all" will truly apply to all of us.

minimus15 said:  "With marriage goes the culture. "   And a positive, more-expansive understanding of the many kinds of marriage that have existed, do exist and will exist in the future can only lead to a more open, tolerant and expansive kind of culture in which people are valued in all of their diversity and contributions.

StraightGrandmother, I admire your support for, and many cogent arguments in favor of, marriage equality under the law.  It saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike.  That was one of the most important understandings of the Second Vatican Council.  As Jerry Ryan wrote in a recent essay in Commonweal, "the church, individually and collectively, is forever docens et discens, teaching and learning."  Recent polls have shown that a majority of American Catholics favor marriage equality for gay couples.  Indeed, American Catholics favor marriage equality more than Americans as a whole.  Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in the Windsor case and Mr. Bottum's essay are only two important examples.  I urge you not to close your ears, heart and mind to the Church.  You will continue to hear Catholic voices speak out for the rejection of discrimination, full recognition of the human dignity of all people, and equal protection under the law.  http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=1863  

Jim, thanks for your tolerance and hopeful enthusiasm for a "more expansive" culture. And thanks for your honesty (at least you admit you're ok with legalizing polyamory). Can't wait to see how marriage is redefined next!

Granny, still waiting on responses to the conjugal understanding of marriage. You can cite examples of horrific, bigoted violence until you're blue in the face. But redefining marriage is not the solution (if it is, provide principled reasons why). Teaching the truth--both about marriage and respect for the dignity of human persons---is the answer.

Charles, enjoy your Catholic Lite. "Adhering to old prejudices" is your euphemism for doctrinal clarity and continuity. The last time I checked, the dictates of natural law were not determined by opinion polls (see Wikipedia Entries for “Dred Scott” and “Emancipation Proclamation”).

HJH, "as if our loving and committed romantic relationships are indistinguishable from mere friendship" I realize you consider your relationship to be far more tender and committed than an ordinary friendship. But this debate isn't about adults’ perceptions, much less about adults’ desires. This debate is about the civil definition of marriage, what it is and why the State cares. If degree of emotional tenderness, or level of commitment, is all that distinguishes your relationship from ordinary friendship (presumably less tender and committed, but that’s quite a judgmental presumption), how is the law supposed to make a distinction? And why can't three people be tender or committed with each other? In fact, why should the state care about tenderness at all? The State cares about children, acknowledging that the act that unites man and woman as husband and wife is the same act that makes them father and mother to any children their union produces. Mothers and fathers are NOT optional, they are essential. Kids deserve a mom and a dad. To hold this up as an ideal is not bigotry, but wisdom.

Joseph, I'm 25 actually. Too young to have lived through the 60's but old enough to recognize the damage it caused (this comment thread being but one painful example).

Max:

The difference between “polyamory” and the serial (alleged) monogamy that passes for “natural” marriage in this country is virtually non-existent.  Sounds to me like a heterosexual problem.

What kids deserve … and need … are two loving, supportive, caring parents.  It is often asserted that kids need dual gender role models in order to grow up well adjusted and grounded.  That is not the same as need a two-gender parental group.

One of the arguments against permitting same-sex couples to raise, adopt or foster children is that allowing them to become parents would be detrimental to the psychological and social well-being of the children. Social science research, however, challenges this theory. Data suggests that children raised by same-sex couples are equivalent to children of heterosexual couples in their psychological adjustment, cognitive abilities, and social relationships with peers and adults. (http://www.freedomtomarry.org/page/-/files/pdfs/SPSSIPsychologicalSocialOutcomesforChildren.pdf)

See also:  The Effects of Marriage, Civil Union, and Domestic Partnership Laws on the Health and Well-being of Children (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/1/349.full.pdf+html)

 

(snip)  “There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.”

 

 

Why can't this website accomplish a simply copy/paste feature? 99% of the time Control+V (mac) does not work.

Why don't you simply have a paste button on your commenting toolbar if you are such control freaks? I have never experienced such a clumsy site as this for a copy/paste action. Whatever your reasons are for stopping a paste action know that they are counterproductive. I want to copy parts of charles lacina's comments and paste them so that I can repond to them. Not.Able.To.Do.That.  You force me to scroll up, memorize what he wrote, scroll down, type as much as I can remember, scroll up read and memorize some more, scroll down laborously type it out all over again.

It saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC...

It saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC...

It saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC...

It saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC...

t saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC... - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#comment-179781
vIt saddens me that you have such negative feelings towards the Roman Catholic Church.  I can understand the reasons that you have unfavorable views about the Church given the leadership's insistence on adhering to old prejudices against LGBT people and, more importantly, having the civil law enforce those prejudices.  Please know, however, that the Catholic Church is comprised of all its members, clergy and laity alike. - See more at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/things-we-share?page=3#sthash.f4kHd5UC...

charles, well more Catholic HATE ON THE GAYS AGAIN TODAY I am afraid. This time the Archbishop of Minneapolis.

"Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life. Sodomy (I swear this is the MOST Favorite word in Catholicdom- SODOMY), abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are jsut some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is non other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God's work on earth"

Your Archbishop has just said that gay people follow SATAN. I condemn you Charles, and ALL Catholics who show up in the pews on Sunday dutifully putting your envelope in the collection plate, because YOU, Charles YOU ARE SUPPORTING THIS.  If you do NOT believe that Gay People are under the influence of SATAN, than you should walk away form this evil church. I condemn you and the laity for sitting in the pews Sunday after Sunday silently disagreeing YET putting in your offereing envelope.  You are a member of a horrible MEAN CHURCH!

The Gays report everything, no Christian Anti Gay utterance is missed. And I am appreciative that they do, because it is only by reading these articles over and over and over and over and over and over again, that this  the truth is undeniable to me. I can't deny it, the Catholic Church, and everyone who attends and continnues to support them, is HORRIBLE. And I never felt this way before 2010, when I started investigation this isssue because of the Prop 8 Trial.

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/09/minneapolis-archbishop-sata...

Jim, You don't get max15. I do. He is the kind of guy who will NOT QUIT until he takes that percious last word.

Because he believes if he takes that percious "Last Word" he then has won the argument. (Shallow I know)

I have multiple times given him the Civil Defininition (State's Interest) of CIVIL Marriage AND I defended how polygamy does not fit into the State's interest. He has only ignored me, never refuted me.

Therefore he will simply keep repeating ad nausum what he has already stated,never responding to points raised by others, just hoping it will be the Last Word and everybody else will give up.

Ok, let's try something else. I'll "ignore" you by quoting you.

 

"But I think that the larger understanding of marriage, from the State's point of view, and the larger purpose would put an emphasis on the household formation that marriage founds, and the stability of that household formation, its contribution to the social order, to eceonomic benefit, to governance."

"However, still today, the purpose of the state in liceensing and incentivizing marriage is to create stable households in which the adults who reside there and are committtedd to one another by thier own consents will support one another as well as their dependents."

"The institution of marriage has always been at least as much about supporting adults as it has been about supporting minors, children, as the proponents tend to emphasize the child's side"

 

Summary of Granny's Definition: Marriage is a union of the heart and mind of adults who commit, through an act of consent, to share resources and provide financial support to each other and to their legal dependents. This union last as long as the spouses wish and is enhanced by whatever physical intimacy the spouses find agreeable. (Justice Alito calls this the "consent-based view.")

 

My objection: This definition collapses marriage into ordinary friendship and provides no reason of principle why polyamorous or polygamist unions cannot be marriages. The "consent-based" definition makes an arbitrary decision to limit marriage to the number two, because, Granny argues, this is more convenient for the state (by that, I presume less paperwork, simpler tax policies, less social burden, etc). But if this debate is about "marriage equality" we CANNOT draw arbitrary lines. Equality under the law FORBIDS arbitrary line drawing. Instead, you must give a principled, intrinsic reason why marriage MUST BE and CAN ONLY BE a two person union. Otherwise the State discriminates against polyamourous and polygamist unions by arbitrarily writing them out of of its marriage policy. Where your "consent-based view" fails, the "conjugal" definition succeeds. It DOES provide an instrinsic, non-arbitrary reason for "two", by claiming that marriage is a comprehensive union of persons (heart, mind, AND body).

 

If this sounds familiar, this is because I've objected to your definition of marriage mutiple times. All I've gotten back is crickets. I'm starting to believe you dont have an answer (again, if you can't respond to common objections, what qualifies you to argue for redefinition?). 

 

As for not responding to commenters, see my last post (where I responded to FIVE people...all in one post too).

Max:  you are entitled to hold whatever exclusive definition of marriage that you like.  However, you are not writing law, but the states are.  As of August 2013, thirteen states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington), the District of Columbia, several counties in New Mexico, and five Native American tribes have legalized the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses.

These jurisdictions obviously do not accept your definition, nor that of religious groups that want to restrict CIVIL marriage to a man and a woman.  Most religious groups have also failed to persuade their adherents of their definition.  As of 2012 this report (http://www.pewforum.org/2012/07/31/two-thirds-of-democrats-now-support-gay-marriage-long-term-views-gay-marriage-adoption/) revealed the following:

“Just 22% of white evangelical Protestants favor gay marriage while 73% oppose it. By comparison, there is more support (50%) than opposition (40%) among white mainline Protestants. Nearly six-in-ten white non-Hispanic Catholics (59%) favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry, as do 57% of Hispanic Catholics.”

Your age cohort has not been convinced:  “Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Millennials (age 18-29) support same-sex marriage, compared to only one-third (33%) of seniors.” (http://publicreligion.org/research/2012/05/research-note-evolution-of-american-opinion-on-same-sex-marriage/)

A March 3, 2011 Pew Research Center survey (conducted during the last week of February) shows: 45 percent of Americans say gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry, up from 37 percent in 2009 (and just 27 percent in 1996) while 46 percent oppose same-sex marriage, down from 54 percent two years ago and down from a 65 percent disapproval rate in 1996.

Catholicism and other religions would lose nothing of their role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that they find in keeping with their beliefs. For nonbelievers and those who find the sacramental nature of marriage less or unimportant, the civil license issued by the state would be all they needed to unlock the benefits reserved in most states and in federal law for married couples. That has been done in most of Europe for many years with the full complicity of the Catholic Church and life as we know it has not ended.

This precedent already exists in the U.S. with divorce laws as well as differing laws within states regarding at what age a person is eligible to enter into a state-sanctioned marriage.

What is telling is that Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Focus on the Family that “it’s clear that something like same-sex marriage — indeed, almost exactly what we would envision by that — is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture. . . . It’s time for Christians to start thinking about how we’re going to deal with that.”

It is time for Catholic Bishop other Catholics to also start thinking about how THEY are going to deal with that.

Maximus15 wrote:

"But if this debate is about "marriage equality" we CANNOT draw arbitrary lines. Equality under the law FORBIDS arbitrary line drawing. Instead, you must give a principled, intrinsic reason why marriage MUST BE and CAN ONLY BE a two person union."

You err rationally and legally. We can draw arbitrary lines, but not discriminitory ones. Since I and my wife have access to civil marriage, denying it to others on the basis of gender is discriminitory. That particular arbitrary line, and no other, is at dispute here. SSM advocates face no requirement that they prove to you why polygamy and polyandry should or should not be legalized.

If you wish to advocate for or against the issue of polygamy and polyandry, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Catholic teaching on that subject, as well as social science research pertaining to it.

Intentional obfuscation is a sin, Maximius.

Max15 you are the equivelent of a holocaust denier.  You are denying our TRUE HISTORY as a Nation, wishing it away as if it didn't exist, simply by saying, "Well I do't agree with that." The definition of Marriage & the States interest in Marriage is not my creation, although I support it.

It is a fact this IS Historically since we started as a country, since were were colonies, THAT IS the States Interest or Defninition of Civil Marriage. Dr. Nancy Cott, Professor of American History, Harvard University researched Marriage in America from the States point of view. She researched it for ten years and wrote the definitive peer reviewed book on it.

You can't revise our History Max15, our history is our history. You can put forward your arguments for today and say "Well going forward I wish to change what marriage is, and instead of making it Couple Centic which has Historically been the States Primary Interest, instead of making it couple centric I want to change that and make it child centric, and then draw a line and say that only straight people can have a State Civil Marriage."

You have to understand Max that you are proposing changes to Marriage from what it has Historically been, from the State's point of view. I am in favor of keeping it the same. Keeping it the same keeps it to two persons (not 3) who fulfill the States Interest which both gay and straight couples do.

You cannot be a History denier, to have an honest discussion you have to agree to the facts as they are, not as you wish them to be.

 

Jacques Derrida, in a final interview, said that marriage should be abolished and replaced with a Pacs system, allowing people to form civil unions with whoever they liked and as many people as they liked. I suppose he would leave marriage for religious enclaves. The church has always watched vigilantly over the state's stewardship of marriage, for instance in impassioned battles against Divorce in Ireland, Italy, etc. Let's not be too quick to write the hierarchy off as mere bigots. I believe a sane and reasonable case can be made for church acceptance of state recognition of civil unions, and I would also argue for the extension of the church sacrament of marriage to gay couples -- but of course I recognize that this argument will take a long time to be heard, discussed, and possibly -- a long, long time away no doubt -- accepted.

Jim, I'm well aware that the conjugal understanding of marriage is losing right now. But let's be reasonable, do opinion polls answer the question "What is Marriage?" anymore than they answer the question "Are blacks 3/5 of a human person?" or "What is a triangle?" Of course not. Opinion poll results are no substitute for reasoned arguments.
 

Also Jim, "parenting" does not exist in the abstract. There is "mothering" and "fathering," two complementary, but distinct activities. Social science is replete with studies confirming that children do BEST with their biological parents, on every social science indicator. Consider the findings of Child Trends, a left-leaning research group:

"[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabitating relationships face higher risks of poor outcome[...]There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents[...]it is not simply the presence of two parents,[...]but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support the children's development." (Source: http://factn.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ChildTrendsMarriage-and-Children.pdf)

I could make it rain more examples. The point is, mothers and fathers are important. Our law should not deny their importance by making them optional.

-----
 
Bert, I'm not the one obfuscating here. What is discrimination but the arbitrary denial of a basic human right? If the core of marriage is emotional union, then you discriminate against those who want their polyamorous and polygamist unions recognized by civil law as marriages. They look at same-sex couples getting married and ask "if marriage has nothing to do with sexual complementarity, what's the basis for monogamy?"
 
Bert, your argument is also fallacious:
 
a) IF marriage is a civil right

b) AND U.S. citizens cannot have their rights infringed

c) THEN it must follow that all U.S. citizens have a right to marriage

 

Your appeal to equality assumes what needs to proven: what is marriage?

 

I'm not against principled line-drawing. I'm against arbitrary line-drawing. Every marriage policy draw some lines (this is marriage, that isn't marriage). SSM advocates DO face a requirement to prove that redefining marriage draws principled, not arbitrary, lines. But you can't figure out which lines are arbitrary without first answering what marriage is and why it matters for policy.

-----
 

Joseph, at least Derrida followed the argument to its logical end: the abolition of marriage. This is precisely the goal of many prominent advocates for same-sex marriage. Like Victoria Brownworth, who said redefining marriage will "almost certainly will weaken the institution of marriage." She thinks that's a positive development. I disagree.

And you're not alone: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/04/legalize_polygamy_marriage_equality_for_all.html

-----
 

Granny, instead of equating your opponents to Holocaust Deniers, you should listen to President Obama, who said that defenders of conjugal marriage "are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective...They're coming at it because they care about families...a bunch of 'em are friends of mine… you know, people who I deeply respect." http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2013/7/civility-bullying-and-same-sex-marriage

 

I posted a short comment pointing out that a majority of American Catholics favor SSM under the law and that I am part of that majority.  In response, without disputing any of the facts in my comment, StraightGrandmother attacked me for being too Catholic while Maximus15 attacked me for not being Catholic enough.  These responses obviously say more about their authors than they do about anything I wrote.  What an interesting world we live in today.

Maximis15 wrote:

"What is discrimination but the arbitrary denial of a basic human right? If the core of marriage is emotional union, then you discriminate against those who want their polyamorous and polygamist unions recognized by civil law as marriages. They look at same-sex couples getting married and ask "if marriage has nothing to do with sexual complementarity, what's the basis for monogamy?""

You are confused about the law, but I will deal with that in a moment. You are also confused about sexuality. Do you deny the fact that some people are, in truth, gay? Because if gay people exist (and  our Catholic committments demand that we acknowledge truth) you must then deal with the fact that gay human beings have no hope of finding a sexually complementary partner in any other relationship other than an same sex relationship. So, it follows that there exist sexually complementary partners for gay people, I.e. other gay people. So there is no requirement to abandon the principle of sexual complementarity.

Now, untangling your legal confusion. Maximis15 wrote:

"Bert, your argument is also fallacious:
 
a) IF marriage is a civil right

b) AND U.S. citizens cannot have their rights infringed

c) THEN it must follow that all U.S. citizens have a right to marriage"

Marriage doesn't have to be a civil right (I hold that it is, but that is not required). Marriage is an estate recognized in civil law. As such, the principle of civil rights that all citizens are equal under the law is sufficient to handle outlawing discrimination in the civic administration of civil marriage.

Maximis15 wrote:

"Your appeal to equality assumes what needs to proven: what is marriage?"

Do you want me to define civil marriage, or Catholic marriage? Because I cannot provide a single definition for fundamentally different magisteria.

Finally, Maximis15 wrote:

"I'm not against principled line-drawing. I'm against arbitrary line-drawing. Every marriage policy draw some lines (this is marriage, that isn't marriage). SSM advocates DO face a requirement to prove that redefining marriage draws principled, not arbitrary, lines."

The Church certainly should uphold a principled line on this issue. I disagree with the hierarchs as to the principles that that pertain. It is the word of God in my heart that Christ disagrees with them as well, but that is a matter for God to sort out.

However, civil marriage simply has no basis to discriminate against gay men and women in marriage. Since they are not applying to engage in plural marriage, same sex marriage applicants face no burden to prove to you anything about the validity of plural marriage. It is simply a dishonest obfuscatory tactic by SSM opponents to assert that they do.

Oops it looks like I misspelled your username Maximus15. Apologies.

This HAS to be one of the longest threads for any article in Commonweal for a long, long time.

Jim, it is long indeed. But I think we all can agree that it's an important conversation to have!

And it continues...

Bert, you don't seem to understand human anthropology. How on earth are two men's acts, or two women's acts, sexually complementary? If you agree that marriage is a comprehensive union of persons, then marriage must include bodily union. (Persons have bodies). Only in coitus can two persons unite bodily for a biological end (reproduction) of the whole they compose as a couple. Put differently, only in coitus do two people engage in an intrinsic part of an inherently coordinated bodily process. Two men's acts, or two women's acts, form NO part of this process. Their acts (however emotionally bonding) are not true bodily unions, and are thus not marital.

I agree that our Catholic commitments demand that we acknowledge truth, including the truth about the origins of same-sex attraction AND the truth about the nature of marriage. You offered, so I'll take you up on it. How should our civil law define marriage? Should it reflect nature? Or should it reflect opinion polls?

When SSM advocates stand before judges and claim that enshrining the consent-based view in our civil law will do nothing to harm the institution of marriage, they obfuscate the truth. If SSM advocates agree that marriage ought to be monogamous, wouldn't they agree that unhinging the norm of monogamy from a principled understanding of marriage would harm an important civil institution? Therefore, they must provide a rational basis for defining civil marriage as a two-person union. Perhaps some SSM advocates think monogamy is an outdated marital norm. If that's the case, they ought to be intellectually honest about their efforts to fundamentally dilute the institution formerly known as marriage.

Maximus15, the applicants for marriage licenses don't have to take any position on plural marriage for the very simple and obvious reason that they aren't applying for a piural marriage license. You can try to conflate the two, and have been warned that it is dishonest of you to continue to do so, but from here on out I am going to leave that sin to you and your confessor to deal with.

The only thing that a SSM couple who wishes to marry has to "prove" is that the expansion of the definintion of marriage to include same sex couples does not include a concomitant expansion of harm. And I don't know if you have been keeping up, but the social science on this topic has been presented in court. It has been exhaustively shown, both to the court's satisfaction and that of the lay public, that allowing men to marry men, and women to marry women, entails no harm to them, nor to the children they raise, and thus not to society in general.

When I applied for a marriage license, nobody asked me to prove that my marriage wouldn't cause plural marriage to spontaneously generate throughout society. Despite your abstract fear-mongering, it is not incumbent upon same sex couples to do so either.

Lastly Maximus15, I am not an anthropologist. But amusingly, my wife is. I will speak to her tonight about the matter, and update you, but here is my response to this:

Maximus15 wrote:

"Bert, you don't seem to understand human anthropology. How on earth are two men's acts, or two women's acts, sexually complementary? If you agree that marriage is a comprehensive union of persons, then marriage must include bodily union. (Persons have bodies). Only in coitus can two persons unite bodily for a biological end (reproduction) of the whole they compose as a couple. Put differently, only in coitus do two people engage in an intrinsic part of an inherently coordinated bodily process. Two men's acts, or two women's acts, form NO part of this process. Their acts (however emotionally bonding) are not true bodily unions, and are thus not marital."

My response to you I defer to Wittgenstein, Tractatus 7:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof must one be silent."

Maximus15, your pride and hubris is shameful. You pretend to know things you cannot know about the bodily union of others. Aside from the fact that such unions are not directly reproductively fertile, you know exactly nothing of such unions. May God forgive you for falsely presenting your ignorance as knowledge.

Charles lacina, "StraightGrandmother attacked me for being to Catholic while Maximus 15 attacked me for not being Catholic enough"

Well Charles since you put it that way it is pretty humerous ;p

Oops, I meant to reply to this as well (sorry about the omission):

Maximus15 wrote:

"How should our civil law define marriage? Should it reflect nature? Or should it reflect opinion polls?"

I'll take a stab at it. Here is the original California code:

"300.  a. Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two a man and a woman, to which consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization as authorized by this division..."

 

It goes on for quite a bit, defining who can and who can't consent, dissolution conditions, and other such items. But the part pertinent to this discussion is quoted. How would I define it? I would amend the first sentence something like this:

"Marriage is a personal relations arising out of a civil contract between two human parties, to which consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization as authorized by this division..."

To answer your other questions: of course marriage should reflect nature, and society must have some kind of consensus on what constitutes marriage. I hold that SSM is compatible with both aims. The state of nature is clear: gay humans exist, and it is their nature to have sexual relations with each other. Society has an interest that those relations be the source of social stability, and the best way to accomplish that is to include gay folks in an existing institution (marriage) which can solemnize those relations and give stability to the lives of gay folks, as it does for heterosexuals.

Opinion polls are not my first choice for policy making, but republican democracy is a good way of channeling public opinion into policy, while stabilizing against the rapid changes of public opinion. As best I can tell, this is occuring with same sex marriage.

Bert, we're not talking about same-sex marriage applicants. We're talking about advocates for redefining marriage. They MUST argue why redefinition does not put us on a slippery slope to polygamy and polyamory. I'm not alone in this debate. See here and here.

Also see piece from the American Prospect, a liberal publication:

"You know those opponents of marriage equality who said government approval of same-sex marriage might erode bans on polygamous and incestuous marriages? They’re right. As a matter of constitutional rationale, there is indeed a slippery slope between recognizing same-sex marriages and allowing marriages among more than two people and between consenting adults who are related. If we don’t want to go there, we need to come up with distinctions that we have not yet articulated well." (Source: http://prospect.org/article/slippery-slope-polygamy-and-incest)

Bert writes: "The only thing that a SSM couple who wishes to marry has to "prove" is that the expansion of the definintion of marriage to include same sex couples does not include a concomitant expansion of harm."

It is premature to call that debate over. Too few social scientists have the guts to conduct proper sociology on this (just look at what happened to Mark Regnerus. The message is clear...present findings in favor of conjugal marriage = career suicide)

More from Bert: "Maximus15, your pride and hubris is shameful. You pretend to know things you cannot know about the bodily union of others. Aside from the fact that such unions are not directly reproductively fertile, you know exactly nothing of such unions."

That "fact" is sexual complementarity, without which marriage cannot exist. As for lacking experience with the bonding power of homosexual intimacy, you are quite correct. Otherwise, I'd actually have something to tell my confessor...

Maximus15 wrote:

"Bert, we're not talking about same-sex marriage applicants. We're talking about advocates for redefining marriage. They MUST argue why redefinition does not put us on a slippery slope to polygamy and polyamory."

You should understand the law. Same-sex marriage advocates can be called as witnesses in court, but only Same-Sex Marriage applicants have standing to bring cases, and then only when their applications for marriage licenses are denied. The grounds on which the cases are decided must be on the basis of actual harm to real people, not hypothetical harm to abstracts.

Maximus15 wrote:

"It is premature to call that debate over. Too few social scientists have the guts to conduct proper sociology on this (just look at what happened to Mark Regnerus. The message is clear...present findings in favor of conjugal marriage = career suicide)"

Ah, a conspiracy theory! I was wondering when you would trot out that hoary and dishonest rhetorical device. More fear mongering. Tell me, is the judiciary in on this conspiracy to supress research that proves that same sex couples harm children?

I forgot to deal with this one, Maximus15 wrote:

"That "fact" is sexual complementarity, without which marriage cannot exist"

So post menopausal women cannot marry, and a fertility test should be required before a marriage license is issued?

Max:  without going into graphic detail, rest assured that my partner of 41 years and I were very capable of bodily union!  Now, at my age and after so very long, I value a warm cuddle and then good night's sleep.

Ok, I'll concede that same-sex applicants and redefinition advocates can be the same. That doesn't change the argument. When two men, or two women, ask the legislature or judiciary recognize their same-sex union as a marriage, the legislature or judiciary has a duty to refuse, unless the legal definition of marriage authorizes such recognition. The only solution is to propose a NEW definition of marriage. The legislature or state has a duty to weigh pro/con arguments for redefinition. It is eminently reasonable for a lawmaker or judge to ask: "your definition uses the number two, what's so special about the number two?"

Since when was it a conspiracy theory to suggest that liberal ideologues dominate academia? Most of my liberal friends readily concede that (with glee sometimes). It's not fear-mongering. Again, look at Regnerus. He dared to conduct and publish a gold-standard study on new family structures. Because his findings possibly suggested that children of same-sex couple fare less well than biological parents, he received nationwide ridicule and a formal inquiry from his employer.

Bert, the sterility argument is a common objection to the conjugal view. It's a good question, with a good answer. But the answer requires that you understand what comprehensive union is. Pregnancy is not a requirement for marriage; true bodily union is the sine qua non. Coitus remains an intrinsic stage of the coordinated process of reproduction even when external or accidental conditions (i.e. sterility) keep the process from reaching its end. In short, sterile couples can still unite bodily, and thus maritally. Two men's acts, however, form no part of this process.

 

Thus far, I've avoided appeals to religious doctrine. I don't believe they're necessary to defend the conjugal definition of civil marriage or explain why redefining marriage is harmful to society.

That being said, as this is a Catholic website, it seems appropriate to point out a few facts for Catholics. (Super lame, I know)

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
 

From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case. (Source: http://gaymarriage.procon.org/sourcefiles/vatican-considerations-regarding-proposals-to-give-legal-recogntion-to-unions-between-homosexual-persons.pdf)

Max15 can't you STAY ON TOPIC? The discussion is about CIVIL MARRIAGE.

Therefore I don't want to read about the Catacism of the Catholic Church, nor the Book of Mormon either.

YOU are the one re-defining Civil Marriage since throught the History of our country the States' intrest in Civil Marriage has always been first and foremost about the couple and the stabelizing effects houshold formation has in making it easier for the State to Govern. There is NO re-definition, ther is an expansion but it is not a fundamental redefintion from what it always has been.

Now for our Christian Hating on Gays for Today.

Today brought to you by the Catholic Bishop of Honolulu.

The Bishop advises his Catholic Flock that it is IMPERATIVE that we maintain sexual minorities as inferior to heterosexuals. He does not care that every Health organization in the Western World declares homosexuality to be on the NORMAL SCALE of Human Sexuality. Nope! Not good enough for the Bishop! Got keep telling gay people, contra all scinece, that they are not nornmal and enlist the congregations so that gay people really get the message.

Here then read your Christian HATE OF THE DAY

http://www.slideshare.net/civilbeat/same-sex-marriage-reflections-final-...

 

Max15 - One more thing before I forget. Max15 your ChildTrends article. Check your copy the bottom of the article. Dr. Kristin Moor, lead researcher wrote to me today and told me where she put the disclaimer that children raised by gay couples were not included in the study, therefore you are to make no inferences that mommy+daddy is superior to mommy+momy or daddy+daddy. Thought you would want to know.

Children, do not matter to this discussion anyway, which is about Civil Marriages for adult same sex couples. I don't have to debate Children as the State makes no inquiries if the betrothed is planning on having children. It is not an item on the wedding license. If you don't want children to have gay parents you will have to fight that in adoption laws or fertility asistance laws, NOT Civil Marriage Laws.

I find it hard to believe that the the lead researcher is disowning the following quotation in HER own study: "An extensive body of research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.... Thus, it is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seem to support child development."

Here's another tidbit from the liberal Center for Law and Democracy (wouldn't be surprised if they've backtracked too under pressure, but this is what they published):

"[C]hildren raised by same-sex parents are no more likely to exhibit poor outcomes than children raised by divorced heterosexual parents. Since many children raised by gay or lesbian parents have undergone the divorce of their parents, researchers have considered the most appropriate comparison group to be children of heterosexual divorced parents. Children of gay or lesbian parentsdo not look different from their counterparts raised in heterosexual divorced families regarding school performance, behavior problems,emotional problems, early pregnancy, or difficulties finding employment [...] Research indicates that, on average,children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single, step-or cohabiting-parent households. Compared to children who are raised by their married parents, children in other family types are more likely to achieve lower levels of education, to become teen parents, and to experience health, behavior, and mental health problems. And children in single and cohabiting parent families are more likely to be poor." (Source: http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications_archive/files/0128.pdf)

And go Bishop Silva!

 

Maximus15 wrote:

Ok, I'll concede that same-sex applicants and redefinition advocates can be the same. That doesn't change the argument. When two men, or two women, ask the legislature or judiciary recognize their same-sex union as a marriage, the legislature or judiciary has a duty to refuse, unless the legal definition of marriage authorizes such recognition. The only solution is to propose a NEW definition of marriage. The legislature or state has a duty to weigh pro/con arguments for redefinition. It is eminently reasonable for a lawmaker or judge to ask: "your definition uses the number two, what's so special about the number two?"

It is "eminently reasonable"? Again I warn you against dishonesty, your soul is in peril. This is a dishonest rhetorical device, used as a scare tactic. In essence, you are willing to hold the entire edifice of marriage hostage, and threaten the faithful that you will burn it to the ground unless your narrow view prevails.

Maximus15, If you wish to advocate for plural marriage, then say so honestly. But quit dishonestly claiming that committed, loving same sex couples who want to marry are advocating for it.

Maximus15 wrote:

"Since when was it a conspiracy theory to suggest that liberal ideologues dominate academia? Most of my liberal friends readily concede that (with glee sometimes). It's not fear-mongering. Again, look at Regnerus. He dared to conduct and publish a gold-standard study on new family structures. Because his findings possibly suggested that children of same-sex couple fare less well than biological parents, he received nationwide ridicule and a formal inquiry from his employer."

Regnerus' study was no "gold standard." His sample size of intact same sex couples was 1. Read that again: n=1. His study deserved the scorn heaped upon it by responsible researchers. But go ahead with your conspiracy mongering, blame "liberal academia" because it has minimum statistical standards for truth-claims, which Regnerus' study failed to meet.

And you still haven't answered the question of whether the judiciary is in on the conspiracy.

Maximus15 wrote:

"Bert, the sterility argument is a common objection to the conjugal view. It's a good question, with a good answer. But the answer requires that you understand what comprehensive union is. Pregnancy is not a requirement for marriage; true bodily union is the sine qua non. Coitus remains an intrinsic stage of the coordinated process of reproduction even when external or accidental conditions (i.e. sterility) keep the process from reaching its end. In short, sterile couples can still unite bodily, and thus maritally. Two men's acts, however, form no part of this process."

That is just an absurd sophistical word salad. You try to hide the ad hoc nature of your argument via  contorted fog of words, but that doesn't change the fact that you are arguing ad hoc. Your argument, when we remove the obscuring jumble of words in which you hide it is this: "Same sex couples cannot form unions. I deduce this on the logical grounds that it follows from the assumption that same sex couples cannot form unions."

Christian GAY HATE OF THE DAY

Should I do the Vatican story of recalling their Cardinal from the Domincan Republic over sexual abuse charges? The Cardinal who in July called Obam's openly gay nominee to be Ambassador to the Domincan Republic a "FAGGOT" on National television?

I think I will do instead, in keeping with the discussion.

Christian Radio Host tells listeners that Gay Couples should DIE on thier Wedding day. (I guess it is Death To Faggots radio)

You can listen to it yourself.

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/swanson-tell-gay-couples-die-their...

C'mon Catholics keep telling the public how gays are abnormal, disordered, against nature. Your message is successfully being deployed globally.

Max15, Yeah I would back away from Regnerus if I were you, he is about to get RETRACTED (smile)

http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/08/02/controversy-continue...

 

Max15 - Yes Dr. Kristian More did respond to me via e-mail yesterday and confirmed what I stated. Her study is not to be used as a weapon against gay parenting because they never studied that. It is right in her research paper found on the ChildTrends Website.

 

Anyway, I will not have the discusion diverted to gay parenting. The discussion is about Civil Marriage and no State EVER in the HISTORY of our Country, no State has ever had an inquiry or requirement of the applicants ability or intention to produce children as part of the application for a Civil marriage License. This is testified to by the Harvard Historian who reasearched Civil Marriage in America, the State's Point of View for 10 years before publishing the definitive book on it, Dr. nancy Cott.

 

If you think the State has an interest in preventing gay people from forming families through adoption or surrogecy or sperm donation, you will have to fight for that by putting forward laws that prevent that. Civil Marriage is not a proxy fight to prevent same sex parenting. You wnat it to be, it is a huge tactic to tie gay parenting into the issue of same sex CIVIL marriage, but in fact they are two different issues.

 

Bert writes, "It is "eminently reasonable"? Again I warn you against dishonesty, your soul is in peril. This is a dishonest rhetorical device, used as a scare tactic. In essence, you are willing to hold the entire edifice of marriage hostage, and threaten the faithful that you will burn it to the ground unless your narrow view prevails."

 

Yes. It is "eminently reasonable" for lawmakers to question whether proposed legal statutes are internally consistent. I'm glad you recognize that the entire "edifice of marriage" rises or falls on the issue of sexual complementarity. Couldn't agree more.

 

Re: Regnerus

 

A little reported fact. After having his work computers confiscated and after an official investigation (i.e. an academic witch hunt), Regenerus was exonerated of scientific misconduct.

 

The University of Texas “carefully reviewed all available data, materials, and information associated with this matter in the context of the University’s distinctions as to what does and does constitute scientific misconduct.” The University concluded that “Professor Regnerus did not commit scientific misconduct when designing, executing, and reporting the research published in the Social Science Research article. None of the allegations of scientific misconduct put forth by Mr. Ross were substatinated either by physical data, written materials, or by information provided during the interviews…In brief, Mr. Ross believed that the Regnerus research was seriously flawed and inferred that there must be scientific misconduct. However, this is no evidence to support that inference.”(Source: http://www.utexas.edu/opa/wordpress/news/files/Regnerus-Inquiry-Report.pdf)

 

Re: judicial liberal circus

 

Don't take my word for it. See this.

 

And finally this gem, "That is just an absurd sophistical word salad."

 

Bert, eat your vegetables.

The faithful are not going to allow you to destroy marriage in order to force it into your narrow view, Maximus15. If you want to legalize plural marriage, I suggest you advocate for it honestly. But stop saying that same sex couples are doing so. It is a lie.

And again you fail to address substance, Maximus15. The sample size of intact same sex families Regnerus used was n=1. No reasonable conclusions can be drawn from it.

I see that you don't even try to defend the absurdity of your "conjugal view." Good call. Arguing that Marriage=Coitus is neither rationally coherent or morally defensible.

 

Where did I say that marriage = coitus? I said that marriage = comprehensive union of persons. Persons have bodies, so bodily union (coitus) must be an integral part.  I've already explained that argument in a previous post, calling it "word salad" isn't an objection.

Re-read my comment from September 5, 2013 - 3:47pm. And then provide a real objection, if you wish.

StraightGrandmother - you may be interested in learning about a new alliance called NALT Christians.  NALT is an acronym for Not All Like That.  NALT is an alliance of Christians who are speaking out in opposition to the hateful things said by anti-LGBT Christians (which you have often cited).  You can read about the NALT project in the Washington Post and find their many videos already posted on YouTube.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/nalt-alliance-says-not-all-christians-are-like-that-on-homosexuality/2013/09/05/c5268d3e-166b-11e3-961c-f22d3aaf19ab_story.html

Maximus15 wrote:

Where did I say that marriage = coitus? I said that marriage = comprehensive union of persons. Persons have bodies, so bodily union (coitus) must be an integral part.  I've already explained that argument in a previous post, calling it "word salad" isn't an objection.

I object to an obscure and tortured blob of words that boil down to: "You can't have a marriage without coitus", which is what you were asserting. As a layperson, I am disqualified to object to coitus being a necessary part of Catholic Marriage (as a matter of fact, I celebrate it as much as I can). But I do object to it forming a basis of civil marriage, especially when used to disqualify loving same sex couples from forming the stable unions for which God has designed them.

Ok. Explaining why you can't have marriage without coitus requires some philosophical nuance. I didn't want to make a claim without making an argument for it. But you are correct, that is the claim: coitus is a sine qua non for marriage (remember, "marriage" isn't a Catholic invention anymore than "gravity" or "fatherhood" or "circles"). You seemed like the type of person open to a nuanced discussion. Perhaps I was mistaken. In any event, you have discounted my claim without addressing my arguments.

If you read nothing else I've linked, read this entire article: "Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father."

With that, I bow out. Thanks for the spirited discussion. I hope you reconsider your support of redefining marriage. And if you happen to be Catholic, I hope you embrace the Church's teaching on this topic too.

Thank you as well for your responses, Maximus15.

As for your link and quote, I neither agree nor disagree with it. Personally, I would not be so arrogant as to begin any sentence this way: "Marriage exists to..." 

For myself, I will leave it to God to explain the purpose of my marriage and to judge its rightness. I strongly suggest that you leave to God the revealing of purposes and judgement of the rightness of marriages of same sex couples.

Charles Lacine, thank you. In fact I was one of the first people to visit the NALT website, when there were only 14 videos posted.

It is inspiring. I hope many hundreds of thousands of Christians post videos there. It can only help and I don't see any downside.

The problem IS Charles, we will not see any Catholic priests, Bishops, or Cardinals on this website. And THEY are the ones leading the figght angainst gay people. And they are doing it globally. The NALTS never do ANYTHING to refute or condemn other Christians who are the Gay Oppressors. Look at that Radio show I just posted today in my Daily Christian GAY HATE comment. Where are all the NALTS, condemning that? crickets, crickets.

It is NOT ENOUGH for Archbishop of Cantebury to make a public statement, "We need to Repent of our homophobia" and then he washes his hands and thinks that is enough. The Gay Hate needs to be reputed utterance by utterance, and it isn't. Words ≠ Actions.

Words ≠ Actions. Where were all the Christians protesting glabally in front of Russian Embassy's this last week? ABSENT. It is only the gays out there by themselves who fight for thier rights. There is very very little organized church support of Gay People. The best ones that I cna see are the Unitarians. You see the local Unitarians march in Gay Pride Parades, and they show up when it matters. Silently disagreeing with your Priest or Bishop from the pews, while you drop in your offereing envelope and support that church is wrong. At the very LEAST Catholics should be organizing and telling thier leadership that they are cutting thier contributions in HALF and sending the other half of what they would normally contribute to Pro Gay Organizations. You don't see Catholics doing that.  All the Catholics who silently disagree with thier church while at the same time supporting her financially are just plain wrong. 

 

I would LOVE to SEE NALT Videos by Catholics saying that they have cut thier donations to Mother Church by 50% and are instead sending it to local pro gay groups until the Church stops meddling into Civil Law. Now THERE are videos I would love to see.  There is NOTHING wrong with you supporting Civil Marriage while mainting for yourself your Catholic way of life.  You are not just Catholic, you are Catholic-American.

At 80 years of age I cannot easily surrender the "moral" fiber I've been indoctrinated with through the years.  I came to believe that sexual contact is "normal" when it is between and man and a woman and "abnormal" if it is between two people of the same sex.  Having recognized change in the mentality of people when it comes to sex, I have accepted there can be sexual play betwen people of the same sex.  Yet, it remains within my soul that there is something immoral, ugly, wrong and sick when one has sexual attraction to a person of the same sex.  Somehow we are making this "normal" or "not abnormal".  Trying to be objective I find it terribly offensive to watch two men holding hands, kissing and demonstrating female movements and behavior.  This tends toward being a sick mind.  When a man begins acting like a woman, that's sick.  When a woman acts like a man, that's sick.  Couple all this with the need of these people to make their sexual feeling known and not kept private leads me to believe more and more that these people have lost themselves in the deviate.  Sadly, they should at least keep their ideas, thoughts and feelings private.  Why do they have to advertise themselves? They should begin to consider that they are sick and that their sexuality is a mental illness.  It is not abnormal to have a sexual feeling, but it is abnormal to allow sexual feelings to twist the mind where the individual begsin to believe he or she is something he or she is not.  Yes, these people allow themselves to be controlled by their twisted sexuality through their minds which have become twisted. 

Emmanuel K, if I memory serves Emmanuel means "God with us".

Emmanuel I think I cna undertand how hard it is for a man of oyur age to change. But change you msut. It was very very hard for racists of your same generation to change, to stop thinking of black people as inferior. You were probably 30 years old when Marticn Luther King Jr was murdered. Even if you lived in a recially segregated all white area you grew up in an era of extreem predjudice ant hatred towards black people, even if you never were that way yourself or participated, you at least saw it in your country.

People of your generation had to change, they had to drop thier racist feelings and learn to judge people by the content of thier charachter rather than the color of thier skin. This then the fight for Gay Rights is another situation of Social Change where a Maligned Group stands up for themselves and demands Equal Treatment. Ask yourself this, when people at work talk about what they did over the week-end and a straight woman talks about what a nice date she had with a new boyfriend, is that shoving it in your face? Is she shoving her heterosexuality in your face? If a gay man does the same thing and talks about what a nice date he had with his new boyfriend, is that shoving it into your face? Tell me what is the difference?

 

Are young heterosexual couples in love, walking down the sidewalk holding and swinging hands together, are they shoving it in your face? Why is it shoving it in your face when a gay couple does that? What you have Emmanuel is a double standard. You have one standard for straight people and a different standard for gay people. This is called inequaility. People who are predjudiced pratice inequality Emmanuel.

You can start to understand them if you will let your guard down and listen to them. I would ask you to please click on this link and look at the pictures. All the pictures. Love is Love Emmanuel, and for most of us, myself inclded it is man/woman. But for a few people it is not. <i>They are just wired different</i> and they are attracted to people fo their same gender, it's natural for them. And if you really think deeply about it, there is nothing wrong with it, Love is Love and these pictures will show you that. You will see LOVE in these pictures, and Emmanuel we need more, not lesss, of Love in this world. Although it may not work for you, it works for them, we don't all have to be the same.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-75-most-unforgettable-moments-from-mi...

 

 

Emmanuel:  there is a difference in not being able to change and not wanting to change.  The telling word in your commentary above is "indoctrinated."

indoctrination begins with straightforward memory work. See, for example, the Catholic catechism, which presupposes that the bishops responsible for putting the catechism know the right questions that everybody else needs to know and that the bishops also know the right answers that everybody else needs to know. Indoctrination begins with memory work.

Now, is it possible for paragons of Catholic indoctrination (i.e., properly indoctrinated Catholics) such as the Catholic bishops ever to become de-indoctrinated about, say, the church’s teachings regarding sexual morality?

We might also wonder if the Catholic bishops could stop trying to indoctrinate everybody else to think the way they think and start trying to persuade people instead. Or would it endanger their self-concept as the supposed successors of the apostles for them to stop trying to indoctrinate everybody else and start trying to persuade people instead?

 

For the Catholic bishops, debate among equals is acceptable for Catholic bishops to engage in with other Catholic bishops. So if in principle the Catholic bishops can allow other Catholic bishops to engage in debate with them, then perhaps they could use this admittedly limited experience of debate among bishops as a model that they could follow in engaging in debate with non-bishops, or at least in attempting to engage in debate with non-bishops.

 

 

More re:  NALT:

 

Andrew Sullivan (http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/05/nalt-christians-come-out/) links to an article by Gabriel Arana in The American Prospect (http://prospect.org/article/christianity-not-just-haters-anymore) in which Arana views NALT as "a call to arms for Christians who want to take back their faith from the religious right." Arana also notes that, though a majority of U.S. Catholics and mainline Protestants support gay rights, the naysayers of the religious right have been so noisy about their opposition that they have won the media war and have succeeded in representing their opposition as "the" Christian stance on homosexuality.

 

NALT is, therefore, pushback by the many Christians in the U.S. who are convinced that Christianity has something else of importance to say to us about the issue of homosexuality and many other moral issues.

See also:  http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/petermontgomery/7289/pro_gay_christians_breaking_out/

CHRISTIAN (Catholic) GAY HATE of the Day

Today's Gay Hate comes to you from France. When the French Catholics started thier massive protesting in France I started following some French Gay activists on Twitter. As globally, the opponents to Equal Civil Rights for Sexual Minorities in France, are Religionists, in France that is Catholics. Vincent in France Tweeted out this article from a French Catholic website. Using Google translate in it we see Catholic Jeanne Smits stating,

Now that the snowball of "Gay Marriage" has started, the promoters of the ideology have only some cleaning to do. The pressure has already exploded to expand the definition of marriage in order to include multiple male and female partners and to accept an legalize pedophelia - as an expression of "rights" of children.

She also calls all of us who fight for Gay Rights Marxists. She is quite focused with smearing us all with a Marxism label.

THIS WAS PUBLISHED IN A PROMINATE CATHOLIC WEBSITE IN FRANCE, BY A PROMINANT CATHOLIC WRITER

http://www.riposte-catholique.fr/riposte-catholique-blog/points-non-nego...

(Use Google Translate)

It is disgusting and revolting the continued beating with the anti gay sledgehammer of Christians, to smear and debase particularly gay men, with the accusations that they support and are fighting for the right to have sex with children. My.God. To write that, is the very definition of HATE.

I will never accept the CHRISTIAN HATRED towards sexual minorities and your LIES and DIRTY TRICKS REVOLT ME.

Ladies, Gentlemen and the rest of you:  I think we have beaten this horse to death.

It was a great run, but time to get back a real life.

Bye, bye now!

Christian Gay Hate of the Day

And here is what you did in Uganda you Christian American Missionaries

STOLEN Government documents show the depth of FAKED anti Gay imagry being used to pass the DEATH PENALTY for homosexuality in Uganda. YOU did this Christians. This is ON YOU. Let's see an article on Commonweal condemning this? Nope as always you sit silent. Silence = Concent

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/09/04/stolen-document-highlights-hom...

Bottum's philosophical argument is no more than a carefully explained capitulation on the basis of treating a tarnished legal accommodation for a minority as the 'lowest common denominator' precedent.

In fact, 'no-fault' divorce is not the lowest common denominator of all marriage, yet he asks rhetorically:

'And if heterosexual monogamy so lacks the old, enchanted metaphysical foundation that it can end in quick and painless divorce, then what principle allows a refusal of marriage to gays on the grounds of a metaphysical notion like the difference between men and women.'

And again: 'If marriage is nothing more than a licensed sexual playground, without any sense of sin attached to oral sex and anal sex and almost any other act, then under what intellectually coherent scheme can one refuse to others the opportunity for the same behavior?'

In other words, if a society can accept that such a dismal uninspiring loss of values is permissible, on what basis can an ideal, prohibitive of any further abandonment of values, be reasonably held forth.

Well, let's not stop there, by the same reasoning a euthanasia advocate might well shore up his argument as Bottum does, saying: 'if, based on human consideration, a potential human life can now be legally aborted, what principle allows us to reject the request for termination of an adult person who considers their human potential to be lost forever.'

The possibility of 'no fault' divorce (for those who avail themselves of it) can no more overrule the continuing shared social meaning, or metaphysical foundation of others participating in marriage than the widespread availabiliity of abortion can destroy the miracle of birth for new mothers and fathers.

The difference between men and women is not a metaphysical notion when it relates to the privileging of the potential for procreation. The underlying assumption here is that homosexuals and heterosexuals couples live in mutually exclusive worlds that can't affect each other. The reality is messier with homosexuals wanting procreation that only uniting gametes from both sexes can provide.

Forget the collapse of metaphysical ideals, the legal reality is that homosexuals who want a child need gametes from both sexes to procure it. By privileging homosexual relationships as marriage, the State is approving a new regime whereby parental rights are automatically re-assigned away from one both biological parents in favour a legally recognised fiction called parental intention.

That would be fine if it supported a reality. In fact, same-sex marriage will consistently support recognition of a patent biological impossibility at the expense of ever willing and involved genetic parents.

The asumption that homosexuals will not capitalise on this to the detriment of an external progenitor's parental rights is naive. Especially, when you consider that this already happened in California (in re:M.C.), Bottum attempt to give same-sex marriage intellectual credence is positively harmful.  

 

Here we see David Shepherds comments following the usual tactic of fighting Civil Marriage Rights for sexual minorities as a Prox Fight against same sex pro-creation though sperm donation or adoption. This is a mean tactic, simply mean. In fact straight couples use fertility assistance way more than gay couples. So what do you want to do Mr. Shepherds, take fertility assistance away form only gay couples?

The rights of couples to create families is a seperate issue from Civil Marriage as in the History of our Country no State has ever inquired as to the intent nor ability of the applicatans to bear children. Not.One.State.Not.Ever.

It is a false Proxy Fight to tie Civil Marriage to the rights of gay families to have children. You can't in fairness grant a Civil Marriage License to an old couple beyond the years of pro-creation and then deny it to a gay couple as a proxy excuse sayng you do not approve of gay parents becomeing parents.  The Courts and the Public see right through that tactic. If you think gay couples should not have access to fertility assistance then you are going to have to fight that fight in and of itself.  Civil Marriage will not be held hostage to your real motivations of preventing gay couples from establishing families with children in the exact same way MILLIONS of heterosxual couples do. 

 

Admit it Shepherds you are simply and basically an Anti Gay Oppressor. You desire to oppress gay people and deny them the same Civil Benefits you claim for yoruself. Why? Because you are better than them, right? That they are sinners and you are striving for holiness, right? Doesn't cut it as not once, not even one time is GOD mentioned in our US Constitution. 

CHRSTAN GAY HATE OF THE DAY

The homosexual Agenda is about KILLING CHRISTIANS

http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/09/video-the-homosexual-agenda...

Do read the comment from Rob that tells the real History

THS IS HATE, CHRISTIAN GAY HATE

StraightGrandmother,

Perhaps  you can clarify where I mentioned anything of fertility. However, I did mention the potential for procreation.

Firstly, marriage prohibitions are directed at categories of sexual relationships, not individuals. There are other categories of sexual relationships that are presently considered incapable of responsible procreation: for instance, sibling marriage and polygamous unions. I would accpet that cousin marriage is permissible in some States.

So, when you provide examples of infertile couples, infertility is not a category of sexual relationship. It is a condition of individuals.

Yours is the classic converse accident fallacy: 'dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter'. You find a qualified exception (infertilty is permitted because it's not a type of sexual relationship, it's a condition) and leverage the qualified exception as a means to unqualified change to the rule.

Here's another one: 'If we allow people with glaucoma to use medical marijuana, then everyone should be allowed to use marijuana.'

So, when you can show me where fertility has ever defined a type of sexual predisposition between partners, I'll consider ir a category of sexual relationship.

The purpose of CIVIL marriage is to privilege the potential for responsible procreation. Thus, marriage ameliorates the inter-generational public impact of sex on society. That is why it falls within the remit of public policy.

The current prohibitions affect categories of sexual relationships that are incapble of natural responsible procreation, rather than physical conditions. I repeat fertilty and age are not categories of sexual relationships.This limit on State intrusion was settled in Griswold vs. Connecticut.

When you say 'preventing gay couples from establishing families with children in the exact same way MILLIONS of heterosxual couples do.' I wonder whose children, you're talking about.

Others may ask, 'Where's the harm?' Yet, In re:M.C. (California) is a perfect example. Since marriage automates the assignment of parental rights, a child's willing and responsible biological father can find his unsurrendered paternal rights taken away via a complete biological impossibility supported by a legal fiction.

To privilege such a non-blood-related person, you have to denigrate the unsurrendered biological rights of fathers. The clear difference is that for the heterosexual couples who have recourse to fertilty treatment, there is no such fiction. The donor must sign a consent form surrendering biological paternity first. For heterosexuals, the legal presumption of paternity may be based on biological probabilty, but is rebuttable by clear and convincing biological evidence to the contrary.

In contrast, In re: M.C. is legal proof that a court will ignore biological evidence rebutting a lesbian  spouse's claim of co-parenthood for the purpose of overruling unsurrendered paternity rights.

You haven't got a leg to stand on!

Pretty much a pompous pretentious piece of fluff. I kept waiting for the argument, all I got was opinion; tastes great, less filling.

What the author leaves out is any consideration that the law, any law, is the morality of the governed given over to the power of the state. I believe the flaw in his argument is contained in the quote “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life”. It is here where the esteemed Justices made their error, for we all are not free to apply our own sense of justice, for justice we have recourse to the law.

Citizens of any country have the right to set their own social customs, whether we agree with them or not, this is the essence of democracy. Advocates for and against gay marriage have all seemed to forget that none of us have perfect freedom to do whatever we wish.

Mr. Bottums article employed a great deal of artifice, artifice roughly equivalent to that which must be employed to make a coherent family out of a same sex pairing, as no matter what artificial means are employed in reproduction, the child will still have only one biological parent.

It is at this point where the analogy of Christ and his church comes in, we are all God's children, he loves us all equally. Children from a man and a woman have two parents, parents who both have an actual physical connection to that child, as we all have a physical connection to the Almighty through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The author comes close when he tals about mystery and mankind being considered as nothing but interchangeable units, he does however utterly fail to go beyond that point. If modern secular thought has it's way we shall all soon acheive the destiny of an amoeba.

I give Mr. Bottums a C for effort and an F for content, overall Fail.

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