"Man and woman naturally complement each other…"

A  good dissection of marriage can be found  right here by Dick Houck, of the Catholic Defense League (not to be confused, evidently, with the Catholic League):

Man and woman naturally complement each other physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. They were made to give themselves completely and fully to each other, for the two to become one. Marriage is merely one man and one woman making a complete and total gift of self to the other, for the rest of their earthly lives, and this is consummated in the act of sexual intercourse, which reflects and echoes this two becoming one in a physical way.

The two literally become “one flesh” and this one flesh union is the sole means by which human life is transmitted. This procreative capacity of marriage is the reason the government recognizes and bestows financial and legal benefits on it that are not bestowed on any other union. Those benefits are given to bind the husband and wife together, to bind the children to their mother and father, and to help the mother and father financially support their children, because children do best when they grow up in a stable home with their mother and father.

Recognizing marriage and endowing it with government benefits helps guarantee such an environment for children, and government has a compelling reason to do this in virtue of its responsibility to safeguard and promote the common good.

Government is justified in denying same-sex relationships as equivalent with marriage for the simple fact that same-sex sexual acts, such as sodomy and mutual masturbation, are inherently sterile and can never under any circumstances result in the transmission of human life.

In the words of a venerable law professor from Minnesota “The government is not in the love business, but the baby business.”

Read the rest.

  • ron chandonia

    It is revealing that this piece appeared in a rather obscure publication. In the unlikely event that a major outlet printed something similar, I expect it would be bombarded with denunciations of “hate speech” and cries for advertiser boycotts. The redefinition of marriage in New York is proof that this strategy is a winner.

  • Paul

    By this man’s (utterly flawed) reasoning no straight couples who are unable to procreate would have a legal basis to marriage.

    Does Mr. Houck think that women past childbearing age should be prohibited from marriage?

    Also, FWIW, sex is about a lot more than the actual act itself. It’s about intimacy, too.

  • ron chandonia

    It’s even more revealing that Catholic and politically conservative blogs have lately been flooded with posts like Paul’s reciting the same tired arguments against real marriage. The lesson is evidently that the only way to get rid of these folks is to give them what they want, and that strategy too is proving a winner.

  • foxfan6

    In a traditional marriage, a man and a woman are typically capable of producing children. If they cannot, for whatever reason, be it age or sterility of either partner, they are still open to being able to produce children. It is this openness, or the ability to have an openness that is the distinction between a traditional marriage, or more correctly, a valid marriage and a gay one. Being open to produce children is the one thing neither two men nor two women can do. Sure they are capable of adopting and in the case of two females; one of them or both can be implanted, but that is not the same as being open to having children.

  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com/ Steve

    Foxfan, you imply that all heterosexual couples (even the aged and the otherwise infertile) are “still open to being able to produce children” in a traditional marriage. How do you know this to be true? In order to assume that, you have to believe either: A) that there are absolutely no straight couples who practice contraception (or seek surgical sterilization) so consistently that they intend and hope never, ever to have children; or B) that any straight couple that chooses to contracept should be viewed as having an invalid marriage under CIVIL LAW (not just perhaps church law).

    The former premise is ridiculous, obviously; the statistics indicate that a certain percentage of straight couples either strongly dislike or hate the idea that they might become parents. They are not “open” to even the possibility of procreation. The latter premise is going to be an incredibly tough sell in civil society–but you are welcome, I guess, to write to the bishops and ask them to start lobbying for laws that would invalidate (under civil law) the marriage of any married couple that chooses to contracept on a regular basis.

    I don’t think your reasoning holds up as a basis for withholding an adult’s right to marry another adult of his or her choosing, assuming that both of those adults are competent and capable of consenting to such an arrangement.

  • ron chandonia

    You know, I think Adam and Steve (oops, I mean Paul and Steve) are really correct. Traditional marriage is just a sham anyway. We should be open-minded and let folks marry whomever–or whatever–they want.

    Ridiculous? Of course, but the people who have been filling Catholic sites with these “arguments” are not looking for moral theology–which is readily available elsewhere and can hardly be reduced to a blog combox. Their GOTCHA posts aim only to ridicule our understanding of marriage in the hope that those who are only casually interested in the topic will shrug their shoulders and say, “OK, guys, whatever.”

    This game could be fun if the stakes were not so high. In NY and elsewhere, our public authorities have effectively declared that they no longer see a compelling interest in having children grow up in a stable home with their mother and father, as Houck puts it so well. This refusal to look after the common good should be cause for mourning or alarm, not game-playing.

  • pagansister

    Procreation is only a small part of a marriage, not the only reason for the institution. Not all married heterosexual couples desire children—and use means to not have them, even those of the Catholic faith. Saying that man and woman naturally complement each other doesn’t mean that same gender consenting adults don’t complement each other in other ways.

  • pagansister

    ron c.:#6. How many children grow up in unstable homes of heterosexual couples? Many. Just because children are part of a mother/father combo doesn’t mean those children are part of a functional family. I’m sure you realize that many children are being raised by divorced heterosexual parents, single parents (either the mom or dad) and in some cases—grandma raises them. Combinations of gender doesn’t promise stable family—whether same or different gender parents. NY has done the right thing, IMO.

  • ron chandonia

    I don’t want to live in a pagan society, sister. But it sure looks like that’s where we are headed. I am reminded of Franz Jagerstatter’s dream: “This train is going to hell . . . ” Yet no one wants to get off.

  • Peregrinus

    What safeguards the concept of complementarity from becoming an argument for “separate but equal” roles for men and women in society? Does complementarity imply that the role of the woman is to stay at home and raise children while the man goes out and puts bread on the table?

  • naturgesetz

    pagansister,

    It still remains true that society needs children to continue in existence, and it can only get them from male and female. The state has no similar necessity for same-sex relationships.

    Of course, “Plan B” arrangements come into play when the parents can’t (or occasionally shouldn’t) both be present to raise their children. But, considering that such arrangements have not required the single, adoptive, or surrogate parent(s) to be married, it has no bearing on the question of same-sex “marriage.”

  • naturgesetz

    Peregrinus, complementarity doesn’t mean absolute difference, as if men were not at all nurturing or women were not at all protective. Just so, there are no “forbidden” roles to either sex, apart from what biology dictates (such as that only women can nurse babies).

  • Mike L

    If men and women naturally compliment each other, why is the divorce rate so high among heterosexual couples? With six states now having same-sex marriage, has anyone compared the divorce rates between the two groups?

    Ron, I think in many cases those arguments that are ridiculed deserve to be ridiculed. I also notice that definitions of things change. Are we talking about sacramental Catholic marriages, or are we talking about non-sacramental civil marriages? Do you claim the civil marriages are not “real” marriages? Or are these two different definitions of marriage? If we truly think that having a single parent is so detrimental, then why aren’t we fighting divorce and war, both of which I think do far more to destroy families than same-sex marriage.

    I truly want stronger Catholic, and for that matter stronger civil marriages, but if we continue to throw spurious arguments out, we will spin our wheels fighting something that has little effect while failing to promote good marriages.

    Mike Laing

  • naturgesetz

    Mike L,

    Ron can answer for himself, but I just want to mention that IMO a large step along the way to our current misunderstanding of the nature of marriage was the acceptance of no-fault divorce. It meant that society no longer took the commitment of marriage seriously enough to insist that the parties honor it unless there was some truly serious reason to terminate it — a reason which could be demonstrated in a court. Now we let them divorce because they feel like it. (Of course, Catholics were not to consider divorce even possible where there was a valid marriage, although civil divorce could be tolerated if necessary to vindicate one’s rights under a justified separation.)

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    “Man and woman naturally complement each other physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.”

    A statement so self evident that it’s amazing that it even needs to be said. It just shows the state of the world today that it even comes under question. 89 years ago TS Eliot described the contemporary world in his great poem as a wasteland, and the key symptom was sterility (in all its connotations, especially sexual) of culture. Today we are a wasteland on steroids. Andrew Cuomo’s same sex marriage law was another dose of steroid fluid.

  • kenneth

    For all the hue and cry among conservative Catholics that any government role in our lives constitutes “communism,” this is pretty wild stuff. Not only do they claim that the government has a vested interest in our bodies, but they’re basically saying we’re all government-owned breeding stock!

  • Rev Mr Flapatap

    I recently read a proposal (blog.adw.org) to do away with the term “marriage” and go with the correct term “Holy Matrimony”. If that ever happened, I can see the gay “marriage” crowd throwing a fit and demanding “gay matrimony” or whatever…

  • ron chandonia

    Mike wrote this: “If we truly think that having a single parent is so detrimental, then why aren’t we fighting divorce and war, both of which I think do far more to destroy families than same-sex marriage.”

    This is a classic red-herring (let’s just change the subject) argument. It comes up frequently in discussions of the abortion issue: Well, what about all those unwanted kids roaming the streets – how many have you pro-lifers adopted? If you “bite,” you end up putting abortion aside and talking about a different subject.

    I myself have some strong convictions about the evils of war, one of them being its effects on families. I also think cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, divorce, and many other common practices today have done enormous harm to children and to society generally. But that’s not the subject. The subject is the choice of a state legislature to REDEFINE marriage and family in such a way that mommy/daddy families are no longer considered normative nor worthy of society’s protection and encouragment. That was an evil choice, one that was made–sadly–by Catholics with a perverted sense of social justice.

  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com Steve

    Ron, those issues are not at all unrelated.

    Opponents of same-sex civil marriages (that is, state-recognized marriages) frequently claim that every child has a right to be raised by a straight couple, a mom and a dad together. They all but come out and state that anything short of one mom and one dad results in a child being cheated of a normal, healthy upbringing.

    Yet when someone asks why the church is not pushing to have divorce made illegal under civil law, or why conservative Catholics are not pushing the state to punish adultery within heterosexual marriages with jail time (since adultery destabilizes the family and potentially threatens children’s welfare), we are told that those issues are irrelevant to children growing up in stable environment. (Really, which event tears more straight marriages asunder: adultery, or the opportunity to marry someone of the same sex?)

    No, I don’t want to see divorce or adultery prohibited nor punished by the state. As someone who has been married for sixteen years and who loves his wife dearly, I nonetheless do not think the state should be the heavyweight in regulating complex, intimate relationships.

    For that same reason, I do not believe the state should be dictating that the only legitimate reason for a couple marrying is procreation. There are many other legitimate reasons, aside from a desire to have children, that would lead a couple (straight or gay) may want to get married — love, first and foremost. (A distant second: the economic and civil rights that are associated with the married state.)

  • momor

    I agree it’s essential to clarify the basic issues involved in same-sex marriage and not get distracted by the straw man and red herring arguments.

    So, let’s also be clear that for many or perhaps even most homosexuals the importance of legal ‘marriage’, as opposed to civil union (which was what they originally wanted remember), is not about love or finances. It is about getting the imprimatur of the state which they believe, however erroneously, declares that their union is just as ‘normal’ as a heterosexual one.

    I’m not ready yet to give up on fighting against same-sex marriage. But perhaps it is time to find a new word to define what real marriage is about. Language is clearly becoming more and more important in our society as a way to begin changing thinking. People who wish to declare their union is of God’s design, and not the state’s, can begin calling it something different to distinguish it from the now bastardized definition of civil marriage. Maybe the Church needs to get out of having anything to do with performing civil marriages, as is common in Europe, and just stick to the sacramental witness. We have to find a way to reclaim and proclaim the true meaning of marriage.

  • foxfan6

    Steve #5, this is for you:

    Anytime a man’s sex organ goes into a woman’s sex organ, they are open to conception, unless, of course, they take preventive measures designed to prevent the male sperm from reaching the female egg; but even then, they are CAPABLE ( they have the ability) of being open to conception. Since the man’s sex organ has no place to go for his sperm to reach a female egg inside ANOTHER MAN, two men sodomizing each other CANNOT BE OPEN, under any circumstances, to conception. The same can be said for two gay women doing whatever it is they do to simulate their sex act.

    Now do you understand, Steve?, or do I need to draw you a picture?

    Good grief, people, are you so naïve that you cannot understand a simple explanation? Why does anyone need to explain in such a way that even a first grade child could understand? Some of you people who come across as being so intellectual; indeed, even enlightened, appear to be so left behind by the simplest of explanations that it baffles me.

  • ron chandonia

    There are many other legitimate reasons, aside from a desire to have children, that would lead a couple (straight or gay) may want to get married — love, first and foremost. (A distant second: the economic and civil rights that are associated with the married state.)

    What nonsense! New York and many other states already allow unmarried people of the same gender to make binding agreements that have the same economic and civil consequences as real marriage. As for “love,” I presume you “love” plenty of people to whom you are not married. But the bottom line is this: the kind of “love” that is solemnized in marriage is simply not available to those who are incapable of (or unwilling to) “become one flesh” with a person of the opposite sex.

    The push for gay marriage is really a push to end the stigma against homosexual sodomy, which until just a few years ago was seen as a sign of mental illness and was proscribed by law. Will that stigma finally disappear when gay sex is officially declared the equivalent of what real married couples do in their own bedrooms? I doubt it, but I suppose you can’t blame them for trying.

  • http://themightyambivalentcatholic.blogspot.com Steve

    Foxfan, thanks for pretending that I do not understand the basics of human reproduction.

    I do know how babies are made, yes indeed. No, I do not need you to draw pictures for me. (Seriously, friend: Do not draw any pictures for me. Please.)

    And of course, I know you realize that when a couple in their eighties choose to enter into marriage at that late age, they stand absolutely no chance of getting pregnant or bringing a baby to term in that marriage. Funny thing, though — we (as a civil society) allow octogenarians to marry. Why? Because people sometimes marry for reasons other than procreation.

    Here’s the main point of my argument, one that you conveniently chose to ignore but which you cannot afford to ignore if you hope to make your case in secular society: There are a fair number of straight couples who are disinclined to reproduce. Some of those couples are downright hostile toward procreative sex. Yet we do not (as a civil society) say that those people are not allowed to marry. We do not, in other words, make procreative potential or inclination the litmus test for whether a couple is allowed to commit themselves to each other in a civil marriage.

    The issue here is not whether gay people are entitled to a church wedding. That’s for synagogues and churches (all those different denominations) to decide. The issue in NY and elsewhere is whether people–straight or gay–may have other legitimate reasons, beyond procreation, for getting married under civil law.

  • Peregrinus

    @22
    I presume that by “binding agreements” you refer to civil unions. Civil unions are not the same thing legally as marriages.

    For example, marriage brings with it the right to take leave from work to care for a family member, to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes, social security survivor benefits, the ability to make medical decisions for a spouse in a hospital (even sometimes just the ability to visit a spouse in a hospital), as well as various taxation issues, insurance issues, et cetera.

    These rights do not apply to civil unions.

    The legal recognition of their unions under the category of marriage, therefore, while it no doubt has important symbolic implications, nonetheless has many concrete legal outcomes as its goals as well, outcomes that are not achieved by civil union status.

  • momor

    “For example, marriage brings with it the right to take leave from work to care for a family member, to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes, social security survivor benefits, the ability to make medical decisions for a spouse in a hospital (even sometimes just the ability to visit a spouse in a hospital), as well as various taxation issues, insurance issues, et cetera.

    What makes you so sure that the federal gov’t who controls most of the issues you cite is going to go along with the same-sex marriage contract which is a state issue? I think you may find that when it comes to money, the feds will be quite glad to fight and win in court on traditional marriage – depending on who is in the White House that is.

    Please STOP bringing up the tired old emotional argument of hospital visits and medical decision making. I can state with utter confidence there isn’t a hospital in the US that will interfere with any adult’s expressed wishes on the matter. You don’t even need a lawyer to put it in writing. In fact, adults can expressly forbid legal next-of-kin from visiting or having ANY say in their medical care as well. I have been an RN for almost 40 years and I have never seen an adult patient’s wishes for who visits them or who is authorized to make emergency medical decisions be refused.

  • ron chandonia

    I really would like to know why people like Steve visit Catholic blogs like this one. Clearly, it is not to find out what the Church teaches, nor is it to clear up their own misconceptions about moral questions on which the pope and the bishops have spoken definitively. Instead, it seems as if they want to convert people who assent to the Magisterium on matters with which they themselves disagree. Isn’t this an unlikely place in which to find prospective converts to an ideology of secular humanism?

  • pagansister

    Since some folks think that procreation is essential in marriage, either because their faith tells them that they should do so, or if they just like having kids—if what I saw walking in the mall today is any example—there will be no shortage of people in the world. Many, many families had no less than 3 kids—-so they were/are not just replacing themselves. The fact that same gender couples won’t reproduce isn’t a problem for continuing the human race.

  • Greta

    I think most are really missing the point as I posted elsewhere. Forget religion. Forget everything in fact but legal precedent. The legal fact of perverting the 14th amendment, a reconstruction amendment regarding issues for blacks after the civil war, is being used for about anything judges determine it can be used for to allow them the ability to get involved and to legislate from the bench.

    The amendment says all persons and all people according to the left which means in their eyes, that anything one is allowed, is also allowed for all…true equality. They scoff when someone brings up incest or beastiality or poligamy; all behavior choices of behavior which many consider moral unacceptable. The laugh and say an adult cannot marry a 10 year old kid, we would protect them from incest..but then what about adult mom and son or brother and sister who are both consenting? Then you have genetic problems for kids..but what about when the woman is sterile or past the age of childbearing? What about the guy who wants to marry 6 women, all consenting and all in love. They just want what everyone else has and the 14th amendment was surely not to give gay behavior alone special rights…

    And then, just when you think it could not get any worse for marriage, along come Harry with his goat who he loves. Again, I challenge anyone based on the 14th amendment to stop Harry. Would they want to claim the goat has rights and thus must consent? Would they try to argue religious grounds that this is sick and perverted? Would the demand that both male and female be human when only a few deacdes ago, male and male was a crime in most states and viewed as perverted by both the religious and medical community. Once you are down the road to gay marriage, incest, and poligamy, who can deny poor harry who is so in love with his goat…yes the goat is sterile so there will be no democrats coming from this union…

  • momor

    Harry won’t even be restricted to a female goat. He can marry a male goat too, a whole herd in fact. Think of the tax benefits!

  • foxfan6

    “And of course, I know you realize that when a couple in their eighties choose to enter into marriage at that late age, they stand absolutely no chance of getting pregnant or bringing a baby to term in that marriage.” That’s not the point, Steve, Even in their eighties, Steve; as a couple, they are still capable of being OPEN to making a baby, because as a couple, they have the right (correct) equipment, even if that equipment no longer works correctly. Two men or two women, as a couple, do not have the right equipment between the two of them to produce a child. I think, Steve, for your benefit, this bears repeating: Two men or two women, as a couple, note, Steve, that I stated “as a couple”, do not have the equipment necessary to produce children. Two male sex organs cannot produce a child. Neither can two female sex organs.

    “The issue here is not whether gay people are entitled to a church wedding.” I get the impression that you believe God brings two guys or two girls together in wedded bliss, as in (what God brings together, let no man put assunder). I am sure you have heard those words spoken at weddings. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but God doesn’t bring together two guys or two girls,nor does he recognize, bless or sanction such unions, so a church wedding for gays is time wasted anyway.

    Marriage was originally instituted to join two people of the opposite sex together so that they could reproduce and raise their offspring to moral maturity. Since the 60s, our morals, as a group, have deteriorated to the point that society seems to be willing to accept any combination of people or animals to get together sexually and call it a marriage. If two men or women can get married, why not a brother and sister or mother and son or father and daughter or a girl and her horse or dog or whatever.

  • momor

    “Marriage was originally instituted to join two people of the opposite sex together so that they could reproduce and raise their offspring to moral maturity.”

    Yes. The idea of a man or woman selecting their own marriage partner and marrying for love is very recent in Western culture and still not the norm in much of the rest of the world.

    I worked a few years ago with a well educated (masters degree) young woman from India who was married to a doctor studying in the US. She told me that their marriage was arranged, and they were married in the ’90s. They had a young child and she was quite content, but not really romantically in love with her husband. She actually felt sorry for women in the US and the high divorce rate. She had different expectations of marriage – hers was primarily to have children – and in many ways I think she was far happier.


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