Gay Marriage, Eden & Our Constant Illusion – UPDATED

My column at First Things this week completes the journey I began three weeks ago, and I have to say the timing of the whole thing seems oddly coincidental, to me. I’ve had the idea of discussing homosexuality and God, otherness, nature and nurture and calling and depth of longing and marriage for a while, but never felt like it was the right time to bring it up, and then — even though I wasn’t paying much attention to the headlines when I began — it all seems to have landed at the same time as the NYS legislature’s passing of the gay marriage law.

In the end, I didn’t do a very good job of expressing what I really want to say — partly because I am not that smart, but also because it is something still so deep within my heart that I don’t yet have the means of bringing it forth, and really expressing it. But what I wanted, primarily, was to begin a discussion that was about more than our worldly — often sentimental — takes on these issues, and also looked beyond the easiest part of our spiritual understanding.

I wanted, mostly, to be able to wonder
, and in wondering, to get folks talking about homosexuality with words other than “hater,” or “homophobe,” or “abomination” or “sodomy.” I wanted us to remember that God’s ways and thoughts are not ours, and that no one — not the gayest gay or the catholiciest catholic — has the full mystery and the whole answer; we have reason, and 2000 years of some brilliant thinking, we have design and instinct, but we don’t have it all.

And I wanted to encourage everyone to explore the idea that maybe we are all called to so much more than we dare suppose, but we don’t spend enough time actually asking God what he wants us to do with ourselves, in surrender to Him:

“Equality!” was the word heard over and over again on the streets and in the headlines, and it is one of those powerful words to which we instinctively wish to add our assent, even if we know in our hearts that true equality exists only within the Triune God, and in our willingness to place ourselves before and within its mysterious depths.

Watching the men and women celebrating outside The Stonewall Inn—the jubilant young ones and the quietly pleased men who said they had been together and waiting for this moment “for 42 years”—I understood their glee, but couldn’t help thinking that they, like the sister from our parish, were ultimately chasing an illusion.

Ultimately, I think I’ve made a balls of it. It will take a better writer than I, with a better mind, to go anywhere with it. But that’s my thinking, for now, on the whole subject.

Anyway, if you want to read all three pieces in succession, they’re here:

Homosexuality; A Call to Otherness?
The Substitute for Reason
Illusions of Equality

UPDATE: This is upsetting. For crying out loud, gangsters and mobsters get funerals. Ted Kennedy had a Catholic funeral! Can we at least all agree that none of us — none of us — knows what happens between a human being and God in those infinitesimal moments between life and death, and so give a benefit of a doubt that if even if we on earth are so keen on Justice that God — who IS Justice — might have a bit more wisdom than us and bestow His Mercy?

If we must err, let us err on the side of Mercy, with the hope that in those last moments, Christ made an invitation and it was accepted.

The consolations we can offer each other in a time of grief can do more to preach the gospel than any five-hour sermon. If we offer misery, instead — if we compound the pain of people in grief, because we are certain we know the state of someone’s soul, because we know the rules — I wonder how pleasing that is to God? Recall Jesus’ parable:

A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.
— Matthew 21: 28-31

And James 2:13 For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

I say give the Catholic funeral, in good faith — in the humility that recognizes that we cannot know the state of another’s soul, or whether God has chosen mercy over justice (for any of us) — and let God sort it out.

UPDATE II: Meanwhile Tim Muldoon, who in two previous pieces angered many Catholics by suggesting that the gay marriage struggle was pointless, and that Christians may be in a “Gamaliel moment”, has continued to think, and he’s reversed some of that in his column today:

if Christians are to be part of a culture, rather than removed from it in a kind of ghetto, it is our responsibility to help shape laws that promote the common good. We must do it with the careful discernment and love that characterized Jesus’ attitude toward all: generosity and compassion, rooted in the truth of who God has called us to be as individuals and communities, not naming the speck in our neighbor’s eye without first removing the plank in our own.

The common good in matters of marriage is fundamentally not about the rights of adults, but rather about the goods that accrue in a society that protects the welfare of mothers, fathers, and children. The tenor of the argument about gay marriage in New York and elsewhere misrepresents both the notion of rights and the notion of marriage, and both misrepresentations will have negative effects for our culture. Christians and others who therefore share a commitment to a robust and meaningful understanding of rights must therefore be part of the legal argument about gay marriage. But we must do it by first naming how we ourselves have gotten marriage wrong, through callous participation in the toxic contemporary sexual zeitgeist.

It is a smart and typically thoughtful piece — you’ll want to read it all.

And Max Lindenman wonders if (or how) the church might try to reframe its arguments in the face of NYS’s law — how it might better persuade.

Peter Nixon: The church is going to lose, but it shouldn’t lose ugly

UPDATE III:
Religious Exemptions: What the laws do and do not cover
A Same Sex Marriage “PostMortem”
Media Escalates Attack on Pro-Marriage Bishops
From August 2010, Eve Tushnet: Lesbian, Catholic, Celibate

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com Julie Robison

    Thank you for posting this! Especially in terms of a Catholic funeral Mass– its point is to pray for the soul, so in true form, it would have been prudent to carry on and not make a statement.

  • James

    The world is in the throes of moral decay.

    The Church does not need to “re-frame” her message or to “sell” society a new image on this issue. The Church can emphasize it’s message of compassion and mercy for people who suffer from the disorder of same-sex attraction all day long, and it won’t make a bit of difference. The militant gay/lesbian movement has framed “Gay” as the new “Racism”. They have assumed the moral high-ground by aggressively demonizing all traditional morality as little more than thoughtless hate. And of course, modern society (in all it’s self-serving narcissistic moral relativism) laps this up in a permissive orgy of mutual self-destruction. The world has no time (and even less desire) for the inconvenient timeless Truths of Christ’s Church. And why should it? Especially when the Church is being rotted away from the inside-out by so-called progressive cafeteria “catholics” who look to their own “wisdom” on all matters of morality. These same “catholics” have decided that the only thing that matters in the end- is “social-justice” through socialism. To them, physical “bread” is all that really matters. Never mind about all those archaic stone-age precepts of morality; apparently man really does live by bread alone. The Word of God is a mere outdated notion that is in dire need of re-interpretation and revisionist perspectives.

    If anything, The Church should accentuate this stark contrast between it’s timeless moral truths and the worlds fallacies now more than ever. After all, did Christ “re-frame” His message to make it all warm and fuzzy? Well, no. In fact, no other figure in all of Scripture mentions the reality of “Hell” more than Our Lord. Now why do you think that is?

    The world is in outright rejection of Christ’s Beloved Church. The Hour of Mercy is drawing to an end. This is inevitable. This is exactly as it should be. I suspect that many of our modern Catholic writers are afraid of this. Instead, they should be embracing this inescapable reality.

    “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” -John 15

  • http://www.hermitofbardstown.com Stephen Taylor

    The most wonderful thing that could happen would be for people to just stop talking about. It is state law. Let the states be the states and the Church be the Church. It’s time for love to reenter the Christian world. I for one am swearing off posting any further articles about gar marriage of even plain old men and women marriage. I’m just tired of it.

    Good article Anchoress. :-)

  • KLM

    Thought this was interesting and reminded me why this is such a hard issue to categorize in black and white. While I don’t agree with many of the conclusions, I am informed by the articulation of the complexity of the attendant issues.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/alice_dreger_is_anatomy_destiny.html

  • dry valleys

    Personally I think it’s entirely the right thing that LGBT people can have their love enshrined in law, and I wish them well if they marry under these new laws. It won’t affect me personally because I’m not gay (sorry boys!) but I want to live in a society that treats people decently, essentially. That’s why I, for example, oppose oppressive laws in Muslim countries, or places such as Uganda, where I obviously don’t live, but have a concern for the people who do live there.

    Am I not right in thinking that the church isn’t obliged to acknowledge these marriages, though? Just as you can refuse to recognise people divorcing and remarrying at will. Well then gays and the church will have to go their seperate ways, but that was the choice this Timothy Dolan made.

    As for funerals. I find it quite offensive that right-wingers demand people be excommunicated or refused burials, when you have thugs like Robert Mugabe who are still in the church, and he was seen strutting round the Vatican at John Paul’s beatification, as though he were some kind of statesman rather than a gangster and murderer. I’m not an especially great fan of the church wielding authority, but since it does then it should be used in condemning the right people.

  • Holly in Nebraska

    Everyone needs a funeral, like everyone needs food, cloths, a roof over their head and food. In that regard, I’m not inclined to deny anyone.

    However, I am rethinking this notion that you expressed, that somehow God intervenes at the last minute, and in this time is able to convert someone. I always wanted to believe that. I came from a New Age background and had always believed in reincarnation. Eternal damnation never made any sense. I consoled myself as a convert that with those very thoughts of God’s last minute intervention.

    Now, I’m not so sure. I am starting to wonder if that kind of idea makes a mockery of what a person thought and believed in his life and of his free-will choices. We don’t want to believe that a person who lived all their life making a choice they knew was against God’s will, would suddenly, when faced with a sure knowledge, choose hell over Heaven? If we don’t think so, maybe our ideas of hell or not what they ought to be.

    I remember hearing of Lewis’ Pilgrims Regress. He presented some in hell as not minding it at all and wanted to back after getting a “vacation”. Suppose we want to believe in this last minute conversion because we suppose that people wouldn’t choose hell. If so, what is that we think hell really is? I really do want to think that most people are converted at the last minute. I’m just no longer sure that it is a supportable idea.

  • Boxster

    It is unfortunate so much apparent trepidation goes into writing an argument against homosexual marriage. It is as though, compassion and mercy notwithstanding, that we are so mired in a postmodernism that we fear to articulate right from wrong. It is confoundingly sad to me that the church is not strongly condemning this abasement, based on logic, history, human dignity and natural law, for starters. That our church spokesmen and women, whom we need now more than ever, are making barely a meek attempt to navigate this minefield should make us ashamed, not proud in its attempt not to hurt any feelings.

  • ormom

    Is it synchronicity, coincidence, or something else that has this gay marriage landmark occuring at the same time as our Mass readings on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? I have to wonder if Cuomo is thinking about this at all.

  • Gregg the Obscure

    It’s difficult to even know where to start with Mean Lizzie today.

    Do you honestly believe that “not the . . . Catholiciest Catholic — has the full mystery and the whole answer”? Sure, the Church may not have the answer on areas outside Her competence (bookkeeping, for instance), but denying Her authority on moral theology makes no sense at all.

    Then you not only fall for, but promote “Jimmy’s parents let him do x so you have to let me do y”. While it’s a better argument than is usually made for abandoning tenets of Church discipline, it still doesn’t hold water. The fact that clergy in a variety of circumstances have effectively endorsed sinful behavior in one case or another just means they’re sinners with occasional bad judgment: the one category that is truly all-inclusive.

    Sure, we can and should hope and pray that this dead individual is caught up in the mercy of the Father. However the Church also says quite clearly “Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1445) Those become empty words when there are no standards for who the Church publicly endorses. Given current funeral habits, where the deceased is all-but-canonized before the Creed, that’s no small matter, but even if funerals were all more traditional affairs with explicit mention of sin and judgment, a public funeral implies endorsement of the deceased. When that person actively opposes the Church’s moral theology, the Church is saying that moral theology doesn’t matter at all – precisely the worst possible message to give.

    Not a few folks of my acquaintance have abandoned the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Many do so because they don’t want to consider the implications of those teachings as to the lives of their loved ones. For those who take such teachings seriously, that’s doing a grave disservice to unrepentant sinners.

    Half a century ago, someone said it was time to “stand athwart history, yelling stop”. If he was even close to right back then, “stop” isn’t nearly enough any more. We need “turn back!”.

  • newton

    “Is it synchronicity, coincidence, or something else that has this gay marriage landmark occuring at the same time as our Mass readings on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?”

    Funny, I was thinking something a little similar. Almost exactly a month ago, David Wilkerson, who was a missionary, author of “The Cross and the Switchblade” and pastor at Times Square Church in Manhattan (a church with over a thousand members in the middle of “Babylon the Great”) for decades, tragically died in a car accident as he was visiting relatives here in Texas.

    Four weeks after he departed this world, this happens.

    I know we can discuss this whole thing ’till the cows come home, but the prudent Christian who lives and owns a business in New York (in particular photographers, caterers and just about anything else, who still has a strong religious conscience and knowledge about his rights under the Constitution) must be looking at the writing on the wall right now. Those “religious exemptions” under the law are going to be ignored at best, and who knows what else at worst. This is the time to seriously think about casting his own personal vote on this matter… with his U-Haul truck.

  • kenneth

    I don’t see the problem. Gays don’t get to force you how to define Catholic marriage and you don’t get to force theocracy or canon law upon them. That is the absolute genius of plural democracy.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I completely agree about the funeral. No living person can truly judge a man’s soul. Ultimately God will decide and if there is ever a case of mercy over justice, then a funeral is that case. I pray for that man’s soul.

    As to homosexuality, I guess I’m burnt out on the issue. I’ve commented all over here. Whether it’s nature of nurture, it’s still not a choice as far as I can see. They are God’s children like everyone and due respect and dignity. I don’t begrudge them their lives and loves. Still, same sex marriage is wrong and should not be supported.

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “I don’t see the problem. Gays don’t get to force you how to define Catholic marriage and you don’t get to force theocracy or canon law upon them.”)

    “Gay marriage” will in and of itself radically redefine “marriage” for EVERYONE regardless of theology. The definition of “mom” and “dad” will likewise be redefined. As a result of all of this, the definition of “family” (the most fundamental base of society) will be completely meaningless.

    And this radical new paradigm of “gay marriage” will eventually turn adoptive parenthood from the exception into the rule as far as the courts will be concerned.

    To make both gay parents “equal,” within their “perfectly normal” marriage, biological parentage will by necessity be devalued. Otherwise the parents aren’t “equal.” God forbid that the biological mommy (of the two mommies) will have some legal advantage by instrument of biology. That legal construction will send ripples through all marriage, because all marriage is equal. In law, biological ties will no longer mean anything, because regular marriage will have to have the same rules as gay marriage. A mommy is a mommy is a mommy. A daddy is a daddy is a daddy. The new biological parent will be the court.

    And please don’t tell me this won’t happen. Instead, explain to me how it can’t happen. Because there will be no legal basis left to prevent it.

    Welcome to our brave new world of insane “progress”.

  • smmtheory

    The next move will be to have the Catholic adoption services shut down for not catering to homosexuals like it was in Massachusetts.

  • kenneth

    Not seeing your point, James. Are hetero people going to stop becoming biological parents? Do you suppose everyone is going to suddenly become gay now that they can marry legally? Are the already overburdened courts going to seek to involve themselves arbitrarily in the day to day affairs of tens of millions of straight families to enforce some fearsome progressive orthodoxy? Are the going to seize your kids and send them to some re-education camp in South Beach or the Castro?

  • Greta

    Looks like this will take a few posts because of spam filter

    When the Pope in Humane Vitae predicted the support of birth control would be a slippery slope toward evil, many at the time laughed and said it was ridiculous. Everything he predicted would happen if it became widespread did indeed become reality.
    With this in mind, many have argued that this is also the case with homosexual special rights around behavior. Unlike skin color or sex, even if gays are born with a desire for same sex lifestyle, it is still a choice to be made. You have no choice on being born a woman or being born black or white. It is fact. Everything else is a choice. Some born with a powerful anger or lust, if acted upon, can create a crime with full punishment. The Church teaches we are all sinners, that each of us has a thorn in our heal. We are called to make an attempt to overcome the thorn and with God’s help to rise above it. We are called to offer the suffering that denial of our weakness causes us to unite with Jesus suffering on the cross. The person with a desire toward gluttony is called to overcome and as Michelle Obama is pushing, to exercise and eat properly. The person filled with greed is called to give up all and follow Jesus or to not become obsessed with money to where it becomes our God. The lust filled thorn is called to a celibate life until one is together with a spouse in marriage with openness to allow God to create life. The proud to find humility.
    But let’s agree to leave religion out of this discussion for a moment. Let’s not talk of sodomy or grave sin. Let’s pretend that the constitution really does say religion / church is to be separated from Government. This means any religious base for argument against gay marriage is not permitted. Let’s also pretend that in reality, the 14th amendment is one of three passed after the civil war to establish legal rights for blacks and to protect them from the democratic party attempt to deny them the right to vote or hold office, buy property, etc. Let’s pretend what was really intended was that it was all about correcting every area of society where things were not equal to “all person’s” or “all people.” Susan B. Anthony thought this was the case as she tried to use it and the 15th amendment giving black men the right to vote to justify women’s right to vote. Chinese immigrants tried to use it to gain rights as well. Both were denied as the amendment was not for the purpose of granting women the right to vote or the Chinese equal status. Women worked another 60 years to finally get the 19th amendment passed and ratified in 1920. Fredrick Douglass, long time civil rights giant, did not agree with her that the amendments called the three reconstruction amendments had anything to do with women’s rights or those of Chinese. Federal and Supreme Court Justices for decades did not either. However, over a hundred years after the these amendments passed and became law, judges started to discover new language, not actually in the text, but in innovative use of the amendments to give judges the right to legislate from the bench and to keep religion from having a place in discussion about issues like abortion or gay rights. Amendments to protect religion from government were changed to have the opposite meaning and application. Privacy rights nowhere in the documents were discovered to give women abortion rights that have led to 54 million dead babies. And privacy rights were used to then grant gays the right to equality of their behavior with marriage.

  • Greta

    So where does this lead us. Without religious views being accepted by the courts to have any standing, and with behavior choice provided to gay lifestyle behavior choice, it will be interesting to see the arguments against incest between adult family members of mom and son or brother and sister where both are adults, both consenting, and the women either sterile or beyond child bearing age. One could argue they were born that way, that they love each other, and that gays have been given the right to marry. I have yet to hear an argument based on no religious views allowed, and the precedent of gay special rights given, how this can be legally prevented. Of course a man who wants to marry multiple wives or vice versa could make the same argument of being born that way and adult and consenting and just wanting to live as man and wives. What legal ruling after the gay rights rulings will there be to prevent this? And what of a man and his favorite pet; No bestiality religious arguments allowed. There is only one person and that person is consenting. The animal has no rights to be considered as they are not protected in any way except in the area of cruelty. The man is born that way with that type of urge and he loves his goat. He would never do anything cruel to it. It is sterile and could never create some kind of half man freak. How can we deny this person his rights? The goat seems to enjoy their relationship. If he can kill it, skin it, and even eat it, why can’t he marry it?

  • Greta

    This is to me only the tip of the potential iceberg we are launching into the water. There will also be challenges based on any caterer, church, or other group who dares to say it is against their belief to get involved in gay marriage. Adoption agencies and other services will have to serve any of the above groups. Some tout the clauses added to the laws being passed to protect against seeing churches forced to support gay marriages, but those laws can be removed by the courts and everyone forced to positive response and support or be in violation of the law…
    I have yet to hear of a single valid argument on the legal way to prevent this slippery slope. It has nothing to do with discrimination of gays and everything to do with the precedent being set on behavior choice being given special rights. This is a serious post looking for someone to actually give a valid legal argument that would not allow these to occur after the rulings discussed.

  • Joseph Marshall

    You sell yourself and your writing far too short, Elizabeth.

  • fiestamom

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I found an article on California Catholic Daily that sheds a bit more light on denying a Catholic funeral story. Here’s a short excerpt:
    Sanfilippo died on June 24 and his family and “partner” of 30 years had sought to have a funeral Mass for him at the downtown San Diego parish. Initially, plans for the funeral Mass moved forward and it was scheduled for June 30. But when Mr. Sanfililppo’s “partner” telephoned the parish to discuss further details, priests determined that a Mass would be inappropriate, the parish insider reported. ”

    The story goes on to say that a prominent homosexual activist in the San Diego area posted a letter to the bishop on the Church’s door.

    The story is at calcatholic.com

  • Joseph Marshall

    “Gay marriage” will in and of itself radically redefine “marriage” for EVERYONE regardless of theology.

    James, I must say that I agree with Kenneth, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. From the vantage point of the law, marriage is a contract. Who can enter into the contract is not nearly the same thing as the terms of the contract. The law makes no claim one way or another about Religious marriage, except insofar as it is also a contract.

    It is my understanding that the Church does not “recognize” any marriage [Christian or not] if the parties involved intend not to have children. The law has no such discrimination built into it, The fact that the law recognizes deliberately childless marriages as valid contracts has not altered anybody’s definition of marriage a jot, least of all the Church’s. Since gay marriage is inherently childless, I don’t anticipate that the Church will “recognize” it either.

    The law is of one opinion, the Church is of another in both cases, and the Church has not been prevented from expressing that opinion strongly and forthrightly. I see no reason why this should change whether gays are involved or not.

  • kenneth

    Greta, the appeal of fear to animal marriage is the appeal of someone who has no intelligent argument left in their quiver, and it pretty much zeroes out whatever shred of credibility you may have had with reasoning people prior to that.

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “Not seeing your point, James. Are hetero people going to stop becoming biological parents?”)

    In a word, yes. At least in the eyes of the court, and eventually society at large.

    (“Do you suppose everyone is going to suddenly become gay now that they can marry legally?”)

    Children will soon be indoctrinated by the public school system and the courts, that “gay” is as biologically natural and valid as heteros&xual parentage.

    (“Are the already overburdened courts going to seek to involve themselves arbitrarily in the day to day affairs of tens of millions of straight families to enforce some fearsome progressive orthodoxy?”)

    Since when have those “overburdened” courts been too “busy” to tackle “race” issues? Gay is now the new “racism”. Lawyers will line up, more judges will be appointed, the media will have a feeding frenzy, and the societal downward slide will accelerate.

    Oh and, the relentless militant agenda to hijack the paradigm of marriage IS (by it’s very nature) a “fearsome progressive orthodoxy”. Any number of legal arrangements and legislative amendments could have provided same-sex “couples” with the same financial/fiduciary and tax benefits as heteros&xual couples- but that wasn’t good enough. Instead, the Gay/Lesbian lobby have insisted that the ancient term “marriage” be redefined so that they could legally force traditional society to accept their radical attack on the basic moral precepts of Christianity and Natural Law.

    Oh and, you might want to tell Catholic Charities of Illinois that there really is no “fearsome progressive orthodoxy” that is currently fighting them in the “overburdened courts” in an attempt to force them to betray their moral precepts and offer children to gay “couples” or else get out of the adoption process all together. Because it certainly has all the markings of a “fearsome progressive orthodox” agenda. But of course, if progressives like you say it’s not- then hey, it must not be. After all, words and terms are taking on completely new meanings these days aren’t they? Coming soon: incest, pedophilia, pederasty, polygamy, and any and all other forms of dysfunctional s&xual desire will now be deemed as “love”. And as such, will carry with them, the “right” to be expressed in any paradigm of “family” and with any age group that the dysfunctional individuals desire. After all, is anyone really too “young” to experience “natural” “love”? Isn’t “natural” “love” the “inherent” “right” of every individual? S&x is love. Love is s&x. what’s age or genetic relationship got to do with it? What’s the harm? It doesn’t effect you does it?
    What do you care?

    (“Are the going to seize your kids and send them to some re-education camp in South Beach or the Castro?”)

    No need to- the American Public Education System can do a much more effective job of indoctrinating young minds. They will be taught that “normal” mommies and daddies have no more of a “right” to have children than two mommies or two daddies. And you don’t think that that will have a formative effect on children’s moral development and s&xual identity?

    Your entire argument is based on the myopic, cynical, and willfully naive position that homos&xuality is merely a genetically predetermined inclination. In fact, there is no evidence of this. On the contrary, clinical experience by well qualified physicians like Dr Fitzgibbons have clearly shown that it is much more complex than that, and that childhood and adolescent experiences play a significant role in the developed disorder of same-s&x attraction.

    The contradiction that you adhere to here, of course- is that the assumed “natural” “biological” paradigm of homos&xuality must be forcibly recognize and acknowledged by all of society as a “right” (and at the same time) the irrefutable natural (biological, evolutionary, and moral) paradigm of parentage must be ignored.

    So here we are: “unnatural” is the new “natural”.

    All social engineering begins with verbal engineering.

  • Charles

    So, should a guy’s “husband” be treated as a widower during the funeral?

  • kenneth

    “This is to me only the tip of the potential iceberg we are launching into the water. There will also be challenges based on any caterer, church, or other group who dares to say it is against their belief to get involved in gay marriage. Adoption agencies and other services will have to serve any of the above groups. Some tout the clauses added to the laws being passed to protect against seeing churches forced to support gay marriages, but those laws can be removed by the courts and everyone forced to positive response and support or be in violation of the law…
    I have yet to hear of a single valid argument on the legal way to prevent this slippery slope. It has nothing to do with discrimination of gays and everything to do with the precedent being set on behavior choice being given special rights. This is a serious post looking for someone to actually give a valid legal argument that would not allow these to occur after the rulings discussed.”

    This last part is word for word the same reasoning used to lament the passage of civil rights laws for black Americans. Jim Crow advocates believed that blacks were being granted “special rights” to act in a way contrary to what nature and God intended. Remember, they never had anything against black people for “being” black. It was only when their behavior crossed a line, ie “attempting to carry on as their betters”, having the temerity to live as full human beings etc.

    You seem to be looking for an airtight guarantee that the courts will, in perpetuity, do nothing that will make you unhappy on this issue. I can’t give you that promise, and neither can anyone else. As with every other issue before the law, courts will wrestle with it for decades. There will be some good case law, some bad, and ultimately some balance struck. If we had to prove in advance that nothing bad could ever happen, this country should not have been founded. The weight of evidence was very much against it succeeding.

  • James

    (Joseph wrote – “The fact that the law recognizes deliberately childless marriages as valid contracts has not altered anybody’s definition of marriage a jot, least of all the Church’s. Since gay marriage is inherently childless, I don’t anticipate that the Church will “recognize” it either.”)

    Even if a heterosexual couple is childless (by choice or circumstances) is irrelevant to the Natural Law argument. The heteros&xual couple still fits into the natural paradigm as determined by our evolutionary biology and design. Homos&xuality does not fit into any natural paradigm. It never has and it never will. It is the ultimate evolutionary dead-end. It is contrary to our biological design. And it is a statistical anomaly. What more could nature have done to demonstrate that the healthiest paradigm for human development is in fact a heteros&xual coupling of a male and a female (by design)? What more could nature have done to demonstrate that homos&xuality is unnatural (physically, mentally, and morally)? It’s very nature is a natural dead end.

  • kenneth

    “Coming soon: incest, pedophilia, pederasty, polygamy, and any and all other forms of dysfunctional s&xual desire will now be deemed as “love”. ”

    You forgot space aliens and vampires. We can only imagine what horrors and perversions the New York legislature has opened with this vote.

    And cannibalism? What’s to stop gay people from cutting out the hearts of innocent children and consuming them atop a pyramid (on children’s programming), now that the legal barriers to their marriage have been erased!

    Since “save marriage” advocates are unable to draw intelligent distinctions on any of these issues, therefore it must be true that courts and the rest of us cannot either…

    As to the Catholic Charities/adoption issue, adoption is not and never was a core sacramental function. It is a business and one closely regulated by the states. Churches will never be forced to marry someone they don’t want to or to condone homosexuality, but that does not mean they will get a blanket exception to all laws, nor should it.

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “This last part is word for word the same reasoning used to lament the passage of civil rights laws for black Americans.”)

    Homosexuality is an action- race is a skin color. There are no differences between two men or between to women of different races. There is a world of difference between men and women regardless of their race.

    The comparison of Gay “rights” to Civil Rights is a fallacious equation, and it demeans the struggle against human slavery.

    Racism was forced slavery- homosexuality is a voluntary self-imposed slavery.

  • kenneth

    “(Joseph wrote – “The fact that the law recognizes deliberately childless marriages as valid contracts has not altered anybody’s definition of marriage a jot, least of all the Church’s. Since gay marriage is inherently childless, I don’t anticipate that the Church will “recognize” it either.”)

    Even if a heterosexual couple is childless (by choice or circumstances) is irrelevant to the Natural Law argument. The heteros&xual couple still fits into the natural paradigm as determined by our evolutionary biology and design. Homos&xuality does not fit into any natural paradigm. It never has and it never will. It is the ultimate evolutionary dead-end. It is contrary to our biological design. And it is a statistical anomaly. What more could nature have done to demonstrate that the healthiest paradigm for human development is in fact a heteros&xual coupling of a male and a female (by design)? What more could nature have done to demonstrate that homos&xuality is unnatural (physically, mentally, and morally)? It’s very nature is a natural dead end.”

    We don’t deny marriage licenses to hetero couples who sterilize themselves during child-bearing years or who engage in non-reproductive acts.

    And if we’re going to base our laws on what’s “natural” we need to sign on for the whole version, not the sanitized kiddie pool script. In nature, rape, murder of one’s own young, killing of the weak, physically malformed and elderly is what’s “natural.” If you’re going to legislate human behavior based on “natural law” you might want to run that through your Humana Vitae….

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “Since “save marriage” advocates are unable to draw intelligent distinctions on any of these issues, therefore it must be true that courts and the rest of us cannot either…”)

    Oh by all means kenneth- Go ahead, draw the “intelligent distinctions on any of these issues”. All I read from you was sarcasm without any logic or reasoning.

    And while you’re at it, consider this from one of the first countries to embrace the legalization of gay unions:

    Switzerland considers repealing incest laws

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/switzerland/8198917/Switzerland-considers-repealing-incest-laws.html

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “We don’t deny marriage licenses to hetero couples who sterilize themselves during child-bearing years or who engage in non-reproductive acts.”)

    That’s because they still fit into the naturally developed paradigm of human development kenneth.

    (“And if we’re going to base our laws on what’s “natural” we need to sign on for the whole version, not the sanitized kiddie pool script. In nature, rape, murder of one’s own young, killing of the weak, physically malformed and elderly is what’s “natural.” If you’re going to legislate human behavior based on “natural law” you might want to run that through your Humana Vitae….”)

    Uhm no, rape, murder, etc…is not “natural’ to the highly evolved species of man. Which is why man has a “conscience”. Man is uniquely apart from the animal kingdom in his moral sense and reason. That being said- there is no moral reasoning that will alter the fact that homosexuality is biologically unnatural.

    But of course- since you seem to think same-sex individuals must be allowed to express their animal inclinations- then why not allow other deviant forms of sexual “expression”?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Greta has summed up the legal, moral and religious aspects of this question very nicely, in her posts above! Thank you, Greta!

    We live in an over-lawyered, litigatious society, and, yes, it si only a matter of time before those who don’t support same sex marriage will be forced into submission by various lawsuits, and civil rights complaints, accusing them of intolerance, and “hate crimes.”

    When this happens (and it will), those who are now telling us we have nothing to worry about, will be telling us to get with the program, and stop being “haters.”

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Again, there is no way that same sex marriage will not have a deep and profound effect on the institution of marriage, or such insitutions as adoption—since same sex couples cannot naturally have children together, the adoption industry will have to be revamped, and the surrogate parent industry (where, as in prostitution, women are reduced to nothing more than certain body parts) will flourish.

  • James

    A point of reasoning kenneth:

    I have cited the very nature of man that validates his morality.

    You on the other hand, have cited the nature of lower species to validate the immorality of man.

    Thank you for inadvertently making my point.

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “As to the Catholic Charities/adoption issue, adoption is not and never was a core sacramental function. It is a business and one closely regulated by the states.”)

    State law (as all law) has it’s basis in Natural Law. The “parentage” of homosexual couples has no basis in Natural Law.

    (“Churches will never be forced to marry someone they don’t want to or to condone homosexuality, but that does not mean they will get a blanket exception to all laws, nor should it.”)

    Those are bold empty promises that you can’t possibly back-up by reasoning or societal examination of recent events, kenneth.

    Once “Gay” is fully ingrained in the legal system as the new “Racism” what will prevent the courts from silencing the “dangerous” “homophobic” “hate-speech” that is being “spewed” from the pulpits of the “bigoted” “Tea-Party”-loving simple-minded “haters”?

    We are in the brave new waters of unprecedented societal change from a radical “fearsome progressive orthodoxy”. And these militants have proven that their agenda is not about accessing “rights” for “victims”- but rather it’s about destroying and denying the “rights” of traditional moral precepts and victimizing all of those who adhere to such “archaic” norms.

    The Empty Deceptive Promise: “But hey, we’ve only come to destroy a few norms…we promise we’ll stop when we’ve had our “fill”…. whatever that may be.

    Really, we promise……….”

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    James, it’s right there, in Kenneth’s own words:

    “but that does not mean they will get a blanket exception to all laws, nor should it.”

    This means that, sooner or later, if these laws are passed, churches are going to get in trouble, for supposedly violating the laws, in one way or another; the “exception” is merely a fig leaf. The law will come down on churches (and everyone else who doesn’t support gay marriage), and it will come down on them hard—because, of course, they will be violating the law, we cannot make exceptions for them, and, after all, they’re just being “haters”, after all. . .

    Supposed victims of such discrimination will be eager to sue the churches, and lawyers, and civil rights groups, will be eager to cash in, as well. New, and even stricter laws, will be passed, against “hate.”

    It’s all right there, in what Kevin says.

    And adoption will be, indeed, a business—nothing more than a business, nothing to do with the welfare of kids, of course, who will be needed for same-sex couples, to prove how “normal” they are, and ensure they have families.

    Children should never be a business. Our adoption system is already messed up, as it is!

  • James

    (Rhinestone said – “James, it’s right there, in Kenneth’s own words:”

    “but that does not mean they will get a blanket exception to all laws, nor should it.”)

    Indeed it is Rhinestone.

    Ah yes, the Devil is always in the details.

    (kenneth said – “Churches will never be forced to marry someone they don’t want to or to condone homosexuality,”)

    That was never the question, kenneth:

    The question was- will the Church be forced to stop speaking out against homosexuality?

  • James

    (Rhinestone said – “Children should never be a business. Our adoption system is already messed up, as it is!”)

    With the destruction of the family (through no-fault divorce, out of wed-lock births, and now ultimately, gay-”marriage”) the only “stable” “caregiver” of children will be the “State”.

    And that should put a chill down the spine of every intelligent free-thinking individual.

    Destroy God, and the state becomes a god.

    Destroy the family, and the state becomes the “caregiver”.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Good grief you guys are getting it complicated. I would recommend that all of you read the Peter Nixon piece cited by Elizabeth above. I think his reading on the immediate future–a decade or so–is spot on.

    Now I don’t know how old any of you are, but I don’t worry too much about what happens over 20 years from now. If I still happen to be around, I expect to be living an even more limited life than I already do.

    Everybody needs to calm down, pray for whom they think will need it, pray particularly for themselves, have more confidence in the power of their faith, be less fixated on the actions of others, and be even less fixated on a vision of the future that is mere speculation. As are all visions of the future.

    The future will take care of itself and wisdom should reckon on the unforseen. You is what will not take care of itself, and your religious beliefs [any of them] are the most important tool you have to take care of yourself.

  • kenneth

    (Rhinestone said – “James, it’s right there, in Kenneth’s own words:”

    “but that does not mean they will get a blanket exception to all laws, nor should it.”)

    Indeed it is Rhinestone.

    Ah yes, the Devil is always in the details.

    (kenneth said – “Churches will never be forced to marry someone they don’t want to or to condone homosexuality,”)

    That was never the question, kenneth:

    The question was- will the Church be forced to stop speaking out against homosexuality?

    Find me one single Supreme Court or appellate court ruling which has prevented a church from speaking its mind on homosexuality, or any other similar issue. Statements of belief, as speech, enjoy very near absolute protection under a very very long and deep judicial tradition in this country. Even expression of ideas which virtually 100% of people would term “hate speech” – the march of Nazis in Skokie back in the 70s and the protests of Westboro Baptist Church, are considered protected under our constitution. We have a very clear legal tradition of protecting speech, even (especially) that which is unpopular with the zeitgeist of the day.

    Christian persecution complex notwithstanding, I find it very difficult to believe that any future court is going to muzzle a Catholic bishop. If Fred Phelps can say what he says about gays, I think Tim Dolan is quite safe.

    That said, adoption is not speech nor is it religious expression. Just because someone “of faith” touches a commercial or quasi govermental activity does not magically convert it to a religious activity untouchable by the law.

    The conservative Christian establishment in this country wants nothing less than Sharia-like control or veto over all aspects of civil law like the Imams in Saudi or Iran. They’re losing that power and now they’re crying persecution….

  • Doc

    Hey, It Takes a Village to indoctrinate a child.

  • James

    (kenneth said – “Find me one single Supreme Court or appellate court ruling which has prevented a church from speaking its mind on homosexuality, or any other similar issue.”)

    Give it time. This radical destruction of our society has never been to this point before. The legislative enforcement of “gay-marriage” is (in and of itself) a legal precedence in this country completely contrary to Natural Law and outside of any logical reasoning or rationale. The Church will be actively advocating the denial of “rights” and the refusal to recognize those “rights” to a class of individuals that heretofore, would have seemed insane to have acknowledged.

    There would no legal argument to protect the denial of such innate civil “rights”.

    Oh and, isn’t the Constitution a “living breathing document” that should be completely “open” to our new “enlightened” understanding of “rights” and their “protections”?

    According to the “Progressives”- yes.

    If we’re throwing out the obvious rational truths of Natural Law- then why should we acknowledge ANY rational thought?

    Oh, by the way kenneth- I never did catch your “intelligent distinctions” between the supposed “moral” nature of homosexuality and the immorality of incest, pedophilia, pederasty, etc….

  • James

    (Joseph said – “Good grief you guys are getting it complicated.”)

    If anything Joseph, I’m clarifying the absurdity of the issue by simplifying it to it’s obvious nature.

    Gay = Unnatural

    Period.

  • James

    (kenneth wrote – “The conservative Christian establishment in this country wants nothing less than Sharia-like control or veto over all aspects of civil law like the Imams in Saudi or Iran. They’re losing that power and now they’re crying persecution….”)

    “Conservative” Christians aren’t advancing any NEW laws are they, kenneth?

    No. They’re not.

    Oh that’s right, the Militant Gay-Lobbyists are forcing THEIR irrational laws onto the rest of society while THEY are disingenuously crying persecution.

    Isn’t that a tad more accurate kenneth? Well yes. Yes it is.

    (“They’re losing that power and now they’re crying persecution…”)

    Ah, so your admit it: this is an issue fundamentally about “power” eh?

  • Patrick

    I’m a gay man and I think that the NYS law is good for me and for all NYers.

    I’m in a relationship with a guy for 10 years. Not sure if I’m ready for tehr esponsibilities of marriage, but I certainly am glad for the right.

    Certainly would never think of asking a RC church to perform a ceremony. I would expect a RC church to recognize my civil marriage in the same way it might recognize the civil marriage of 2 catholics who are divorced and remarried.

  • dry valleys

    43, does that apply to people like Gay Patriot, or is it ok if you’re a Republican?

  • James

    (dry valleys wrote – “43, does that apply to people like Gay Patriot, or is it ok if you’re a Republican?”)

    I have no idea what you are talking about.

  • kenneth

    (kenneth said – “Find me one single Supreme Court or appellate court ruling which has prevented a church from speaking its mind on homosexuality, or any other similar issue.”)

    Give it time. This radical destruction of our society has never been to this point before. The legislative enforcement of “gay-marriage” is (in and of itself) a legal precedence in this country completely contrary to Natural Law and outside of any logical reasoning or rationale. The Church will be actively advocating the denial of “rights” and the refusal to recognize those “rights” to a class of individuals that heretofore, would have seemed insane to have acknowledged.

    “There would no legal argument to protect the denial of such innate civil “rights”.

    Oh and, isn’t the Constitution a “living breathing document” that should be completely “open” to our new “enlightened” understanding of “rights” and their “protections”?

    According to the “Progressives”- yes.

    If we’re throwing out the obvious rational truths of Natural Law- then why should we acknowledge ANY rational thought?

    Oh, by the way kenneth- I never did catch your “intelligent distinctions” between the supposed “moral” nature of homosexuality and the immorality of incest, pedophilia, pederasty, etc….”

    The idea that gay civil rights represents an “artificial right” that takes away the real rights of decent folks is again, nothing new. To the letter identical to the defenders of Jim Crow “natural order.” They believed with all their hearts, and some still do, that there is an inherent fundamental difference between the races and that sanctioning “unnatural” behavior ie interracial marriage, was an assault on civilization.

    This was NOT a fringe thing. This was mainstream, Christian belief and was in fact grounded in Biblical arguments no less solidly than anti-gay marriage. By your reasoning, the Civil Rights Act was and is an insane social experiment that stripped decent, right believing Americans of their real rights. Your only way around this problem is to assert the unprovable claim that your inerrant natural law/read of God’s thoughts is really true, unlike the racist read of God’s mind that was also really true….

  • kenneth

    The intelligent distinction between homosexuality and things like pedophilia and marriage to an animal is one that any seven year old who has ever watched a courtroom drama show could figure out: consent. Minors are not deemed competent to consent to physical relations of an adult nature nor to the obligations of contract law that marriage creates. Likewise and even more so with animals. Resorting to these arguments is an admission that you have nothing substantive left to offer. It is an appeal to blind fear and hysteria. Kind of disgusting and less than sophomoric in any reasoned system of debate, but I must grudgingly admit, an effective tactic in its own right.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m not really sure either, Valleys.

    You’re also making a blanket assumption that the posters here object to same sex marriage on the grounds of something the Republican party says, whereas this is a matter of what the Catholic Church teaches. So, from the Church’s point of view, it would still be wrong, even if a Republican writer advocates it. This is not a matter of “D’s” and “R’s”.


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