Has Marriage Already Been “Redefined”?

Supreme Court

Nobody knows how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the two cases concerning so-called same-sex “marriage,” the California Proposition 8 case and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, on which the high court recently heard two days of testimony. However, some of the comments made by several justices in the course of the hearings on these two cases point to at least one possible way, dismaying to contemplate, in which the court might well invalidate DOMA in particular, in spite of what would seem to be the unassailable truth it represents in affirming that a true marriage must be a conjugal relationship between a man and a woman.

The non-lawyer citizen could not but be disconcerted by the way in which the court found it necessary to go into non-substantive issues such as whether the two cases were properly before the court at all, since neither the state of California nor the federal government was willing to defend in court the law pertaining to it; and hence the question was raised whether those who were defending these laws had the standing to do so. With the whole world watching, and the absolutely fundamental social question of what marriage is at stake, the justices nevertheless seemed unconcerned about dwelling on what seemed to be legal quibbles, sometmes even appearing to be little better than bickering pettifoggers themselves.

Yet sandwiched in between what seemed to be some relatively trivial and even inconsequential procedural questions, glimpses were afforded of how some of the justices apparently view the legal question of marriage itself, and they proved to be even more disconcerting than the procedural wrangling.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, averred that “if we are totally for the states’ decision that there is a marriage between two people, for the federal government then to come in to say: no joint return, no marital deduction, no Social Security benefits, your spouse is sick, but you can’t get leave—one might well ask, ‘What kind of marriage is that?’” What kind indeed? This kind of characterization, though, begs the question of whether the relationship being referred to is a marriage. Instead, it simply assumes that to be the case.

Similarly, Justice Sonia Sotomayer spoke of how “Congress can create a class they don’t like—here, homosexuals—or a class they consider suspect in the marriage category…and decide benefits on that basis, when they themselves have no interest in the actual institution of marriage.” Again, this simply assumes about the “class” whose “marriages” the justice is referring to truly are marriages. Somewhat surprisingly, Justice Sotomayer came out here as a champion of federalism when she asked: “What gives the federal government the right to be concerned at all about the definition of marriage?”

Justice Elena Kagan denied that marriage in its essence had anything to do with procreation when she advanced the (specious) argument that the law allows older or sterile men and women to marry. But marriage in its essence does involve a complementary physical relationship ordered to procreation. As everybody knows, not every congjugal act results in a pregnancy, any more than does such an act performed by a sterile or older person; but even in the latter cases it remains the same kind of act that can and often does result in a pregnancy. This, however, cannot ever be predicated of homosexual acts; the latter are not the same kinds of acts as true marital or conjugal acts performed by men and women together. Justice Kagan got this wrong.

She also alleged that in enacting DOMA Congress was motivated merely by bias against homosexuals. She read from a House of Representatives report which said inter alia that “Congress decided…to express moral disapproval of homosexuality”—thus confirming the conclusion of the judge in the California Propostion 8 case, who could find no reason to judge same-sex unions to be non-marriages except prejudice against homosexuals.

All three of the justices quoted here belong to the reliable “liberal” wing of the court. The fourth justice considered to be consistently liberal, Stephen Breyer, made the same point as Justice Kagan when he observed that “couples that aren’t gay but can’t have children get married all the time.” Yes, because belonging to different sexes they can get married.

Both the language and the substance of what all four of these liberal justices of the Supreme Court say about same-sex relationships, however, appear to take for granted that these relationships already are, in fact, marriages. The justices themselves do not really understand what marriages essentially are—judging by their remarks quoted here on the subject—but they nevertheless seem to be utterly confident that homosexual liaisons do qualify as marriages. They do not argue this point or offer evidence for it; they simply assume it. Evidently, they do not think there is any need to prove or establish it with facts or arguments, so obvious does the truth of it seems to appear to them.

Moreover, they certainly make no effort whatsover to refute the standard and abundant arguments that deny the status of marriage to these same-sex relationships. Again, they do not seem to think any such refutations are at all called for or necessary. Meanwhile, a couple of them go on strongly to deplore that the benefits which the law normally grants to married couples are being “denied” in the case of these homosexual relationships assumed to be marriages. The clear assumption here seems to be that these benefits should be accorded to these relationships. Again, this is not argued or proved; it is simply taken for granted.

Kennedy Takes A Slightly Different Approach
A fifth Supreme Court justice, Anthony Kennedy, whose vote with these four would constitute a majority, did not treat the matter in the same way as the other justices. They contend, in effect, that the same-sex relationships are marriages when the partners say that they are. In other words, they evidently believe, and take it for granted, that marriage has already been redefined—by society’s current acceptance, tacit or otherwise, of the claims of same-sex couples and their supporters.

Justice Kennedy took a slightly different tack. Like Justice Sotomayer, he rather surprisingly turned out to be a strong proponent of federalism. He warned of the “risk” involved in the fact that DOMA infringes upon the responsibility of the states in defining and regulating marriage. He characterized DOMA as “inconsistent” because while it purports to accept the authority of the states to define and regulate marriage, it nevertheless then turns around and imposes limits on the authority of those same states.

While conceding (as was argued before the court) that references to marriage as occurring between a man and a woman are found in some 1,100 federal laws and statutes—which would seem to suggest that the federal government has to define marriage for its purposes, if there is any question about it—Justice Kennedy also agreed that the federal government is necessarily “intertwined with the citizen’s day-to-day life.” But he nevertheless argued that with DOMA “we are at real risk of running in conflict with what has always been the state’s police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody…” (emphasis added).

In the end, Justice Kennedy also sided with the other four justices, who evidently believe that denial of the benefits of marriage to same-sex unions constitutes an injustice. Citing an amicus brief to the effect that some “40,000 children in California live with same-sex parents,” and presuming to speak for those children, he confidently asserted that “they want their parents to have full recognition and full status…The voice of those children is important,” he added, as if his citation truly and effectively established him as their spokesman.

Thus, five of the nine Supreme Court justices seem to have effectively taken the position that same-sex relationships indeed are “marriages,” and that for them therefore the principal issue in need of remedy by the high court is the “injustice” of the denial to same-sex couples (and their children) of the benefits of marriage which the law has always recognized.

The premise and argumentation here seem to be that, in the American system under the Constitution, the various states have the power to define and regulate marriage. Nine states and the District of Columbia now have defined it to include same-sex relationships. Ergo, in these jurisdictions same-sex unions are marriages. Nothing further therefore remains to be decided or done by the high court except to give them the benefits that pertain to marriage.

All the appeals, pleas, rallies, demonstrations, exhortations, law review articles, amicus briefs, etc., calling on the Supreme Court not to “redefine marriage,” need not be considered at all, but can simply be by-passed and left aside. Marriage already has been redefined in nine states and the District of Columbia. The court does not even have to address all the other issues that has been raised. All that needs to be done is to extend the legal benefits of marriage to same-sex unions in those nine states and the District of Coumbia by invalidating the part of DOMA that currently excludes them from those benefits. Presumably the part of DOMA that guarantees that other states need not recognize same-sex unions defined as marriages by other states could even be left in place. If states truly have the authority to “define” marriage under the Constitution, then the states that have redefined it have acted in accordance with the authority they have, and nothing more needs to be said or done about it.

Majority May Have Already Redefined Marriage
Could the U.S. Supreme Court really rule in such a way as this? As already noted above, it is dismaying to contemplate such a thing. But as also noted above, nobody knows how the court will rule. The focus here has been on things the justices plainly did say, though one can only speculate on how they might apply what they said in an actual ruling. Moreover, they said other things besides what has been quoted here, so it remains unknown how they will rule.

Still, the language employed by a majority of the justices in the hearings quite clearly did indicate that they believe that marriage has effectively been redefined at least in those jurisdictions that have legalized same-sex unions as marriages  And so it would seem that the court could indeed rule on the basis of that belief.

It was surely a mistake on the part of some observers to imagine that the idiosyncratic Justice Anthony Kennedy could ever be counted on to help preserve traditional marriage simply because he had recently stated that “a democracy should not be dependent for its major decisons on what nine unelected people from a narrow background have to say.” He also complained during the hearings that the court had been led into “uncharted waters.” But he himself probably bore greater responsibility for where the court now found itself than any other individual. For it was none other than Anthony Kennedy who authored the decision in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court case that legalized sodomy, or sexual relations between two men. If sodomy itself is not illegal, it is hard to see how the same-sex couplings held to constitute “marriages” could  continue to be judged illegal.

Justice Kennedy is also the author of the notorious 1992 Planned Parenthood  v. Casey Supreme Court decision which ruled that abortion on demand had to remain legal because, after all, people generally wanted it and needed it; and because, in Kennedy’s words, “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.”

With a justice capable of this kind of thinking supplying the “swing vote”in the ruling on marriage that the Supreme Court is supposed to deliver in June, nobody should be in the least surprised if the high court fails to uphold the understanding of marriage common to the last ten thousand years or so of human civilization.

Kenneth D. Whitehead

By

Kenneth D. Whitehead is a former career diplomat who served in Rome and the Middle East and as the chief of the Arabic Service of the Voice of America. For eight years he served as executive vice president of Catholics United for the Faith. He also served as a United States Assistant Secretary of Education during the Reagan Administration. He is the author of The Renewed Church: The Second Vatican Council’s Enduring Teaching about the Church (Sapientia Press, 2009) and, most recently, Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church’s Teaching to Meet Today’s Needs (St. Paul’s, 2010).

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    It frequently happens that courts have to deal with questions involving “foreign” marriages, that is, marriages that took place outwith their own jurisdiction. They also have to decide other questions with a foreign element: divorce, paternity, legitimacy, legitimation, adoption and the closely-related question of inheritance.

    Thus, the French courts have had to rule on marriages in Algeria, between two Algerian citizens that were actually or potentially polygamous. They have held that the relationship that exists between a man and the ladies living under his protection in a polygamous union is different in kind to the relationship of husband and wife, as defined in the Code Civil and that to apply French marriage law to such relationships would be creating rights, rather than enforcing them. On the other hand, they have not denied all effect to such relationships, recognizing the rights of support and succession to movables that flow from them.

    Similar considerations would apply to same-sex unions. In the only case to come before them, the French courts were able to decide a tax case involving a Dutch same-sex couple by holding that it qualified as a marriage under an EU tax treaty, without ruling on their status for other purposes.

    Under a federal system, similar questions are bound to arise.

  • tom

    Our former, morality-based, legal system is dead. Any referendum by a majority vote is overturned by a gay judge, while strange ducks on the Supreme Court overrule Congress and the elected Executive’s approval. It started in earnest in ’73. The more conservative judges are in physical fear of the repercussions for siding against the Beast, and for good reason. Worse, they aim to stamp out and steam roll any vestigial institutions that stand in the way. Nuns agree with this path, Evangelicals seem confused, and the Knights of Columbus are banned at the “Jesuit” Gonzaga University because it’s Catholic. Each compromise leads to more as any moral stands are relegated to inside the church, away from the public square.

    Sen.Moynihan called it ‘defining deviancy down’ while good judge Bork inferred, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Gomorrah”. Christians, largely leaderless, are blinded by the power of these outrages as Europe is swallowed whole and North America taken piecemeal, with a nice glass of Chianti. It can only get worse.

    • Ford Oxaal

      But in this case, worse might be better. Worse might be nature vomiting. This marriage thing is just an in-your-face reminder of how far our society has its head buried in culpable stupidity. My five-year-old said it best in a poem a few years back, as if channeling the spirit of the times: “the sky is green, the grass is blue, everything is opposite, what do we do?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

        You have a very smart 5 year old. :)

        • Ford Oxaal

          The funniest part is the mysterious recitation. Very dramatic.

  • dch

    Yup, it is over, one way or another. The SCOTUS cases are just side shows in a much larger trend towards acceptance. Gay couples are getting married in nine states already and there is zero chance of rolling that back. As the years pass it will become apparent that all the slippery-slope arguments don’t hold water (as in MA). Younger people overwhelmingly (80%) don’t see this as an issue to worry about so the GOP will drop this as a wedge issue now the it is cleaving off potential voters in their base of support (the way they designed and used this issue to cleave moderates from the Democrats ten years ago).

    Your side lost on this aspect of the culture wars. Get over it. I asked my 19 year old about this last week; he said their is no discussion, and no debate, among his age-group peers – as far as they are concerned it is a battle being fought by older generations.

    • John

      You know, they said the same thing about contraception and abortion in the mid-1970s–even AFTER Humanae Vitae made the church’s objections to both quite clear. But look, 40 year later, “our” side has not “lost.” No, “our” side will win–not because it is “our” side at all. God has a preference about how men, women, and children relate to one another. Some people in our society have shunted that aside, but that position cannot hold for long. His commandments will win, whether by our choice or by His. As the saying goes, “the mills of God turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.”

      • dch

        The US civil law, tax law, and US courts are not concerned with the bible and ten commandments matters, not their turf.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Civil law is irretrievably intertwined with religious morality and natural law going back centuries. Murder, adultery, sodomy, etc., are all religious taboos, and have been enshrined in law from time immemorial. True, in a world of cockroaches and algae, these taboos are meaningless. But in a society ordered to the excellent and the good, they are essential.

          • Frank Lozera

            Ford, the taboos against murder and adultery have of course been passed down through the generations by religion, but they actually pre-date religion and are not dependent on it. We inherited parts of our human nature from chimps and bonobos. I can’t say much good about chimps, but bonobos are generally peace-loving, cooperative, and empathetic. In other words, they are “good without God.” We can be as well, as long as we suppress our inner chimp.

            • Ford Oxaal

              And that’s what laws are for — I think we agree — to suppress our inner chimp :), and to obtain a modicum of justice. Can this be done without religion? Arguably it could, but doubtfully, precisely because the inner chimp inserts itself. But *was* this done without religion? No. We are/were the beneficiaries of Christian morality. Hitchhiking is the example I like to use. What a wonderful Christian legacy — Americans were once the salt of the earth. But then the Borg came, and people, including children, became objects for sexual gratification. The Supreme Courtiers deemed pornography a fundamental right enshrined next to motherhood and apple pie. In fact, pornography, and the inner chimp it represents, crowded out motherhood and apple pie, and hitchhiking disappeared as well. The sexual predator inside started to come out in spades — monkey see, monkey do, and monkeys do really weird and bestial stuff. But we agree we need laws, and laws cannot be arbitrary. And laws have this important thing called precedence. If *anything* deserves the full weight of precedence, it is marriage.

              • Frank Lozera

                Ford, I have successfully controlled my inner chimp all my life, and I’ve done it without religion. While it’s true that religion has been a vector for the bonobo virtues, it has also been a vector for the chimp vices. I reckon that a consequentialist approach to morality can keep me in touch with my inner bonobo. I don’t trust religion to do that for me.

                I take a consequentialist (or pragmatic) approach to all the issues that you believe contributed to the decline of hitchhiking. They’re bad if they have bad consequences.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  I’m just saying that laws are necessary because not everyone is as enlightened and in control of their passions as you are. And laws require precedence to be just. Marriage deserves the full weight of precedence, or nothing does.

                  • tom

                    Frank’s going to irrationally pin a ring of gold in a swine’s snout. It amuses him to no end and, of course, does nothing positive for society.

            • Theorist

              No.

              Read the works of Aristotle and Aquinas and then come back to debate us. If you already have, then I don’t know why you would insist on goodness without God.

              • Frank Lozera

                Aristotle and Aquinas didn’t know what we know today. There were no primatologists in their day.

                • musicacre

                  We know a lot less than they did; strange as information is more available most people don’t “avail” themselves of it. We have a MUCH dumber population, technology and better ways ways to dispose of garbage etc doesn’t equal a rise in true knowledge.

                  • Phil

                    Aristotle and Aquinas were members of tiny literate elites living amongst huge populations characterized by extreme intellectual and material poverty. Most people have never availed to knowledge and they certainly did not avail themselves more 1000 or 2000 years ago.

                    • Theorist

                      However, such peasants were much closer to the basic truths of metaphysics and theology than even our present intellectuals.

                      That just shows how much work we have to do. But teaching can be fun work.

                • Theorist

                  Science doesn’t always progress with time. If you read Aristotle, you would comprehend in just what kind of cavern of ignorance most scientists really are trapped.

            • tom

              Exactly, we’re left with the “natural law” described by Aristotle, Aquinas and Jefferson. Gay marriage isn’t in any of their calculations because the parts don’t fit. Capische?

          • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

            Right, but look how sodomy laws have been struck down as unconstitutional. There is no good reason to keep them on the books. Many states still criminalize adultery, I doubt there have been any recent prosecutions for adultery though. Any prosecution could and should be challenged under Lawrence v. Texas. I’m not suggesting that adultery is morally right but I don’t think it should be a criminal offense.

            Murder, for obvious reasons, is completely different than either of the two discussed previously. Most specifically, there is clear harm to another person of the sort that the law has never allowed one to consent to, not that many people would consent to being murdered. I suspect most people who refrain from murder do so not because God commanded it but because of the harsh penalties and likelihood of getting caught.

            • tom

              Abortion’s murder and approved..even encouraged…by the state. It’s the keystone of the Church’s archenemy, Evil, Satan, the Beast…..registered “Democrat”, one and all.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Let’s look at adultery. So you’re saying that adultery is not criminal — adultery does not hurt society. Wow. You are not even passing the Turing test at this point. So in your world, Dad has sodomy with his sexcretary, but Mom and the kids just shrug it off: “Dad had sodomy with his sexcretary. Uh huh. Hey, can I have seconds on desert?” But in the real world, the scenario is more like this. “Mom, why did Dad violate your trust? Why are you drinking so much? What are you going to do to Dad? Why are you staring at the kitchen knife?” Normal people have these things called feelings that, if broken, cut to the bone — worse than physical pain. This then leads to other bad behavior. Adultery is criminal, and greatly injures all of society, breaks up precious families, and destroys millions of lives.

              • Phil

                Adultery is wrong but its not the gov’ts business to regulate it, for the simple reason that that would be impossible, like Prohibition.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  I would vehemently disagree. Marriage contracts should be enforceable. They’re pretty much toothless. That erosion of duty has gravely harmed our society. It represented an increase in slavery, not liberty.

          • Phil

            Considering that until the last 200 years most gov’ts were despotic and simply unacceptable by modern standards, the fact that civil and religious laws were intertwined for centuries isn’t a very convincing fact. Europe in 1700 was not ordered by the excellent and the good.

            • Ford Oxaal

              They didn’t bomb civilian populations and kill by the hundreds of millions. That’s the legacy of the ‘enlightened’. It is a bit self-serving to sit here in our air-conditioned splendor, with dental plans and flushing toilets and pass a lot of judgments on past generations. The fact is, our culture is a low one compared to whatever built St. Peters. We could never do that today — we only make metal boxes with air ducts and stuff. Our culture is a remarkably low one, although we mask our body odor well.

              • Frank Lozera

                Ford, if it is “self-serving” to sit here on our flushing toilets and pass judgments on past generations, how unappreciative it is to discount the technological advances that gave us our flushing toilets to sit upon.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  I know, I agree. We should thank all those past generations for getting us to this point. But, as my great grandmother told me on her 100th birthday, that with all those improvements, “Ford, the human heart has not improved a bit.” I was trying to get her reaction to having been born amidst dirt and horse manure right after the Civil War and making it to see men land on the moon on television. She was unimpressed because the heart had not improved, and we used the technology for the typical agenda. I guess that’s why we still need to examine our consciences and try to improve on a daily basis. The world can only change for the better if each of us changes for the better interiorly. The exterior reflects the interior.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Ford, I believe the human heart (as you put it) has improved a great deal. There has been an “expanding circle of empathy” over the centuries, especially in the West, where slavery has been outlawed, African-Americans and women have the right to vote, children are no longer allowed to work in sweat shops, women finally own their own bodies (mostly),Jews are not kicked around any more, and native Americans are respected and honored. Even animals have rights, now. That circle of empathy is now expanding even farther, to include gays and lesbians. Unfortunately (as I say so often), the Church is not in the forefront of this expanding circle. It is putting on the brakes as it has so often done, and it will eventually apologize to us, as it has done toward all those it has treated as less than fully human.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      Has slavery been outlawed? Check out blackgenocide.com.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      In China they have killed 400,000,000 babies in utero, and kick a lot of pregnant women until the baby dies and is miscarried — she then has to clean up the ‘mess’ — her precious child. Look at the human trafficking, etc. etc. The Church is the only voice standing against the never ending atrocities of fallen nature.

            • http://twitter.com/Desertsunart Desert Sun Art

              Really? Then how come it is a fact that the 20th century has gone down as the bloodiest so far. The past was not always bad.

              • Frank Lozera

                DSA, I know this is going to sound really unbelievable to you, but the data doesn’t support what you just wrote. The 20th century was not (by far) the bloodiest (per capita) century in terms of violent deaths. In fact, levels of violence have been actually decreasing over the centuries. Steven Pinker documented this trend in his NYT bestseller “The Better Angels of Our Natures,” just last year. It was really an eye-opener. Be thankful you live in the 21st century. The chances of a Bronze Age individual dying from a violent attack were about one in three. Your chances are about one in one thousand or more.

                • Frank Lozera

                  DSA, take a look at this chart. Try to find the Second World War on it. http://sullydish.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/iib_death_wellcome_collection_fullsize.png

                  • Ford Oxaal

                    That’s looking at humans like a beehive. If you look at humans as individuals, the 20th century is the worst (but will be outdone in the 21st).

                    • Bono95

                      Yeah, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq war, the Spanish-American War, the Rwandan Genocide, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, mass murders, etc ad nauseam. How is the 20th Century not the bloodiest?

      • Frank Lozera

        John, your side HAS lost on contraception. 98% of Catholic women have used it, and support for access to it has only increased over the years.

        I’m sure there will be opposition to abortion for some time to come, because it entails actual harm to a fetus, though that harm may not be viewed as outweighing the harms that would result from bringing it to term.

        But in the case of SSM, there are no harms. This is why I think the issue will resolve itself more quickly in public opinion.

        As for what God wants, I think it is obvious that people have different ideas about that.

        • fredx2

          The 98% of Catholic women statistic is a bit shaky. First of all, the age group was restricted. Second, if a Catholic woman used contraception ONCE when she was young, and never used it again, she was counted as a contraceptor. Less than 1/3 of the women surveyed went to church. So, better off not using that one.
          http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2012/02/how_to_lie_with_statistics_exa_1.html

          • Frank Lozera

            The Guttmacher Institute collects data about contraception. Here’s what they say:

            Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. This figure is virtually the same, 98%, among sexually experienced Catholic women. … Only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning. … Protestant women are more likely than Catholics to use highly effective contraceptive methods. … Attendance at religious services and importance of religion to daily life are largely unrelated to use of highly effective contraceptive methods.

            http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/Religion-and-Contraceptive-Use.pdf

            • tom

              Gutmacher is funded by Planned Parenthood. Eugenicists have their own agenda of Death. Bringing Gutmacher to a Catholic debate is like bringing Marx to Mass instead of your missal. Why bother with the Mass?

            • fredx2

              Like I said…

          • http://www.facebook.com/leo.reilly.16 Leo Reilly

            Go to Mass. Look at the number of families with two or fewer children. That is as good an indicator of Catholics who use birth control as any. I only know one family that doesn’t. They have eight kids and are on food stamps. We used contraception because (a) we had a responsibility to feed and clothe the kids we already had; (b) NFP doesn’t work; (c) when you’re married celibacy is not an option…if you want to stay married!

            • Bono95

              I come from a family of 7 kids, and we’ve NEVER been on food stamps, not even when Dad lost his job (don’t worry, he found a new one). My mom comes from a family of 8 kids (1 was miscarried), my dad comes a family with 4 kids, and several other Catholic families we know have 5 or more kids. None of the above, to my knowledge, use or have ever used contraception or been on welfare.
              Mr. Reilly, you are totally right that you and your wife have a responsibility to take care of your born children, and that marriage is not an ideal lifestyle for celibacy, but NFP, if used right, does work and is much better for everybody than contraception. Contraceptives cost far more money than abstinence/NFP, and they can make your wife more irritable, more easily depressed, cause her to gain weight, and increase her risk of strokes and breast cancer, while NFP is, as per its name, completely natural and healthy. Consider finding a good NFP teaching couple near you. They will be able to help you make sure that it does indeed work. You and your wife will find yourselves happier and more close than before, and the money you don’t spend on contraceptives can help to pay for groceries or college funds.

            • fredx2

              No one is saying Catholics don’t use it. a lot do.But the 98% figure is way overblown. And by the way, I come from a very large family and so did many others that I knew growing up and no one was on food stamps.
              One other point. Yes, most people have 2 kids now.And you know what? the United States is going into decline.The Medicaid and Social Security programs are going to go under because we are not having enough kids to fund them in the future. Europe is dying because it will not reproduce.
              Countries with very large populations are on the rise – India, China.
              So the church might just be right – again.

              • http://www.facebook.com/leo.reilly.16 Leo Reilly

                The one thing we don’t have to worry about is people not reproducing. The US population is now 250 million. It was 200 million just 25 years ago. That isnt fast enough for you? I had an aunt and uncle who swore by so-called natural planning. They have 17 kids (absolutely true!). I’ll stick with contraception and condoms thank you. We know they work and they’re a heck of a lot more reliable than the rythym method. I’ll say it again. I don’t know anybody who isn’t using contraception or condoms. And with good reason!

                • Bono95

                  Right now, the United States is reproducing at the bare minimum replacement level. We may not have to worry about dropping numbers sharply for the moment, but if the birth rate gets even the slightest bit lower, we will. Most of Europe is below replacement level and has been so for some time, and the consequences are already starting to come about there. If the worldwide birthrate doesn’t pick up the slack soon, there will be a sharp population drop sometime in the not-too-distant future, and it and the time leading up to it will include such disasters and misfortunes as unemployment, lack of help and care for the elderly, shortage of proper housing and vehicles for larger families, killing of unborn children, economic collapse, gender imbalances, and all kinds of perversion.

                • Bono95

                  Well, were your aunt and uncle actually charting cycles and abstaining on fertile days, or were they having intercourse and accepting whatever kids God chose to send them?

    • Frank Lozera

      Well put, DCH, and you are so right. For all practical purposes, it’s over. The GOP has begun to realize that this issue is a drag and that it turns off a lot of voters, especially the younger ones. I have been seeing changes of opinion even on this blog site and other ones addressing conservative Catholics. The old slippery slope arguments have lost their punch, and no one can point to any actual harms resulting from same-sex marriage, while the benefits are becoming more and more apparent. The rhetoric is rapidly changing, and those who still cling to the arguments of a decade ago are looking more and more like cranks.

      As so often happens, the Catholic Church will be bringing up the rear, but it will eventually come around, as it did about heliocentrism, slavery, and anti-semitism. (Well, it’s still working on the anti-semitism.)

      • fredx2

        Heliocentrism was posited by Copernicus, who was a Catholic cleric. Copernicus did not publish his results, not because of the church, (one of the Popes urged him to publish) but because of fear of what the people in the universities would do to him. Then as now, Universities were places of extreme conformity,.

        Slavery (as we understand it, unjust racial slavery) was condenmed by the Popes almost as soon as it appeared. Sicut Dudem, 1435, Sublimus Dei 1537, etc. The heroes who fought against new world slavery were clerics. (Las Casas)True, some of the local clerics ignored the Pope, just as they do now on abortion. But the teaching of the church on this is actually pretty good.

        And 41 states still ban gay marriage. Best not to count chickens before they are hatched.

        Slipper slope arguments? Canada passed gay marriage and now they are studying whether polygamy should be allowed as well. A government commission said “yes”.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Thanks fredx2 — thank you for setting the record straight.

        • Frank Lozera

          Fredx2, here’s a short history of the Catholic Church’s position on slavery: The Church did not finally declare itself against slavery until almost a century after our Emancipation Proclamation. Some Renaissance popes owned slaves and used them to row their galleys. The Cathedral of Salamanca was built with slave labor. Augustine held that slavery was not forbidden under natural law; Aquinas argued the case for slavery under certain conditions. In 1545, Pope Paul III affirmed the right of inhabitants of Rome to publicly buy and sell slaves of both sexes. Three years later, he approved the purchase and possession of Muslim slaves in the Papal states. The Transatlantic slave trade was begun at the request of Bishop Las Casas and authorized by Charles V (RC Emperor). The Jesuits owned slaves in the new world and elsewhere. In 1838, Pope Gregory XVI condemned “unjust” forms of slavery, as if there were any “just” forms. In 1866, Pope Pius IX affirmed that it was not against divine law for slaves to be bought, sold, or exchanged. More than 100 years after the American Civil War, the Second Vatican Council finally condemned slavery without equivocation.

          Regarding polygamy in Canada: Canada has not legalized polygamy. The FLDS was challenging the constitutionality of the polygamy law three years ago (2010), but they lost their case, which was based on a freedom of religion argument that had nothing to do with same-sex marriage. There’s no slippery slope.

          • fredx2

            Sorry, you are quoting what I refer to as “half truth as history” You missed the most imortant thing – from the beginning “slavery” included all forms of servititude. So it included indentured servants, criminals doing hard labor, and prisoners of war. Because “slavery” was considered to include these other forms, the church could did not condemn it across the board. Otherwise, they would have had to condemn those three things which, at the time, everyone thought was necessary.And today, we still have criminals working, making license plates, and during world war II,we brought Germano prisoners over to the US to work on farms.

            Okay that is the set up. I have much more to say but no time.

            In the meantime read
            http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/POPSLAVE.HTM

            The people who are pushing the ideas you quote above are very careful about how they phrase the question. The always insist that the only ting that counts is if the church “condems slavery categorically” meaning always and everywhere.
            “Slavery” as conceived throughout the last 2000 years meant many things.However, what you will find is that as soon as unjust,racial slavery began, the Popes immediately began the process of speaking out about it.

            More later

            • fredx2

              You say that the church did not condemn slavery until 1965. Some others say 1890, some others say 1917.

              First of all, let’s review what the Holy Office no 230 said in 1686
              “It is asked:
              Whether it is permitted to capture by force and deceit Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one?
              Answer: no.
              Whether it is permitted to buy, sell or make contracts in their respect Blacks or other natives who have harmed no one and been made captives by force of deceit?
              Answer: no.
              Whether the possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and been captured by force or deceit, are not held to set them free?
              Answer: yes.
              Whether the captors, buyers and possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and who have been captured by force or deceit are not held to make compensation to them?
              Answer: yes
              That is a pretty clear statement of the Catholic position. Obviously, this is long before 1965.
              .

              • fredx2

                Now, a lot of the facts you list are right, sort of. The Galley slaves of the Pope and Julius III stuff.
                First, this was the age of the “bad popes” so it was those bad popes who were doing this stuff. Second, the popes around the years 1500 were not just religious leaders, they were leaders of a country – the Papal states. Julius II therefore was the “Warrior Pope”. Italy was broken and the city states were constantly warring with each other and against the papal states. The Muslims were waging war against Christendom and were finally turned back at Lepanto 1571. During this time, in a time of war, it was allowed that prisoners of wars could be made to work. If prisoners could not be used as slaves, what would secular rulers do with them? They could set them free, to come back and fight against them – not likely. Or, the could keep them in camps and feed them and watch them. Not likely in those days, they usually could hardly feed their own soldiers.So “slavery” was a way of keeping them alive.
                And Augustine and Aquinas insisted that if anyone were to be enslaved, they needed to be treated well. They needed to be able to marry, to have adequate rest, food and time off.
                However, the slavery that sprung up in the new world was different. Nobody was a criminal, no one had been captured in war.
                The Popes spoke against the above.

                • fredx2

                  In 1866, the Holy Office was asked whether slavery was intrinsically evil. Because the institutions of indentured servitude, criminals labor and prisoners of war still existed, they could not say it was always and everywhere intrinsically evil. In certain circumstances, everyone agreed that enforced servitude of prisoners and Prisoners of war was OK. So they qualitied it. and they did say
                  “Servitude itself, considered in itself and absolutely, is by no means repugnant to the natural and divine law, and there can be present very many just titles for servitude, as can be seen by consulting the approved theologians and intcrpreters of the canons ..”

                  Also note that in 1866, our own 13th amendment had to make it clear that they were not abolishing criminals having to do labor .This fact shows that the word slavery back then meant a couple of different things:

                  “Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
                  Sorry for the long set of posts. But this is an issue that covers 2,000 years of church history, different languages are used, etc. While the record of the church is not perfect it is not bad, when you look at what the Popes taught.
                  What local bishops did was another matter. Southern bishops argued that slavery was allowable. Just like today when the Pope says something, and people in the US try to get around it.

                • Frank Lozera

                  The popes spoke up against slavery in the New World? How did they voice their objections? In a whisper? As a gentle request to desist? They had the power to excommunicate all the Jesuits who held slaves. Why didn’t they do it? You would have me believe that the popes were powerless and ineffectual, but when it came to persecuting Jews and Muslims in Spain, they were anything BUT powerless.

                  • fredx2

                    The Popes spoke up against abortion? How did they voice their objections? in a Whisper? As a gentle request to desist? They had the power to excommunicate all the people who had an abortion or assisted. You would have me beleive that the popes were powerless and inneffectual, but when it came to persecuting the feminist nuns, they were anything but Powerless.

                    And still there have been millions and millions of abortion. Those popes, they aren’t trying very hard.

                    • fredx2

                      As to St Augustine on slavery, there is much more. For another post later

            • fredx2

              Sublimus Dei – 1537

              The encyclical is addressed to all Christians everywhere. So this really is the church condemning unjust racial slavery virtually from the beginning:

              “To all faithful Christians to whom this writing may come, health in Christ our
              Lord and the apostolic benediction…

              …We define and declare by these Our letters,…, that, .., the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property,even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect”

              Panzer writes:

              “Thus, we see that Eugene IV and Paul III did not hesitate to condemn the
              forced servitude of Blacks and Indians, and they did so once such practices became known to the Holy See. Their teaching was continued by Gregory XIV in 1591 and by Urban VIII in 1639. Indeed Urban, in his document , appealed to the teaching of his predecessors, particularly Paul III The pontifical teaching was continued by the response of the Holy Office on March 20, 1686, under Innocent XI, and by the encyclical of Benedict XIV,, on December 20, 1741. This work was followed by the efforts of Pius VII at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to have the victors over Napoleon outlaw slavery”Also Gregory XVI: , 1839

              • Frank Lozera

                FredX2: Paul III issued this bull (Sublimus Dei) in 1537, but he rescinded it the following year due to a dispute with the Spanish crown. (See Joel Panzer’s “The Popes and Slavery,” 1996). Previous papal bulls (Dum diversas, 1452, and Romanus Pontifex, 1455) had granted Christians the right to take pagans as slaves.

                Also, Sublimus Dei did not change the Church’s teaching that enslavement of indigenous peoples was permissible if they resisted Christianization. Neither did it condemn the transatlantic slave trade begun by Charles V.

                In 1545, Paul III repealed an ancient law regarding slaves in the city of Rome. He wrote: “We decree that each and every person of either sex, whether Roman or non-Roman, whether secular or clerical, and no matter of what dignity, status, degree, order or condition they be, may freely and lawfully buy and sell publicly any slaves whatsoever of either sex and make contracts about them as is accustomed to be done in other places, and publicly hold them as slaves and make use of their work, and compel them to do the work assigned to them.”

                That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

                • fredx2

                  “Sublimus dei forbade the enslavement of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The key reason given by Pope Paul III is that native peoples are as much human beings as Europeans. As such, they have souls in need of the church’s salvation and also possess the ability to accept that salvation”

                  So , there was no need that they be Christians. Clearly, Sublimis protected non-Christains from slavery

                  The 1545 declaration was a specific declaration as to Rome only. Whether right or wrong, it addressed only a situaiton in Rome. Over the 2000 years of history we are talking about, there were many declarations on slavery in all its various aspects. No one of them is conclusive. However, over all, a clear trend is that the church usually demanded better treatment for slaves, both just title and unjust title. On the whole it was ameliorative

                  • fredx2

                    As to the withdrawal of Sublimus Dei _ I will have to check on this, but if memory serves, Sublimus Dei was the statement of principles document. It was never withdrawn. There was another document issued at the same time, that was the ‘enforcement ” document that basically provided for excommunication of all who engaged in slavery. It was that second document that was withdrawn, apparently because it had unintended side effects and messed up something Charles V was trying to do. There was some sort of mixup in the source documents. Panzer lays it all out in his book.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      My information is that Sublimus Dei was rescinded the year after it was issued.

                      So why weren’t the Jesuit slave-holders excommunicated?

                    • fredx2

                      They were.

                      In the implementation document that went along with Sulimis Dei, (Pastorale Officium) it says that any one who engages in the slave trade was excommunicated “ipso facto”. This means they excommunicate themselves simply by the act of engaging in slavery. No other action is needed. They excommuicated themselves.

                      In addition the times were incredibly complex.

                      1. All the bishops in the new world were appointed by the king. The king appointed men who were more secular governers of his business than they were churchmen. At this point in time, Secular rulers had been incredibly successful in coopting the church and bending it to their uses. That’s why the great families of the day, the Medicis, the Borgias, were able to get their men into the Papacy, (where they had children etc.) Theses were the times of the “bad popes”. So the local Bishops had no incentive to follow what hte Pope said. They did what the kiing said. And outlawing slavery was going to cost the king a lot of money, so they didn’t. But in reality they were not “the church” as we know it now, they were really quite secular. God came second. “Indeed no decision of pope himself could be carried out without permission of King.”

                      http://ocw.nd.edu/peace-studies/catholicism-and-politics/lectures/the-church-and-the-new-world

                      2. It was an incredibly hard time.
                      In 1527, Charles V had invaded Italy, ransacked Rome and the Pope had to flee for his life.The Protestant reformation had caused the church to break in two and its legitimacy was questioned everywhere. As a result of the Reformation, wars and insurrections broke out across Europe.The printing press had just been invented, and everyone was publshing books, and even their own, sometimes bad, interpretations of the bible. Knowledge was doubling every frew months.Scientific advancements were being made that would change the world. Paull III had called the coincil of Trent, whcih reviiewed EVERYTHING about the church in light of the Reformation. The New World had been discovered, leading to a rethinking of basic world views. So much was going on, and the Pope had to work under such constraints that it is amazing that he did anything.. In addition, these were the “bad popes” who had children, etc. They were members of the ruling families who coopted the Papacy for their own ends. Borgias, Medicis, etc. So the fact that we even have Sublimis Dei is amazing.

                  • fredx2

                    Also, See Gustavo Guitierrez (the Liberation theologist – no apologist for the church) book on Las Casas. about p 321

                    He says that Sublimis Dei was not revoked. There was confusion over the fact, but in the end, Paul III acted as if it was stil in force.The document that was revoiked was an instruction to the bishop of Toledo, not Sublimis Dei. As evidence for non-revocation, Gutierrez cites the fact that Clerics in the New World kept referring to Sublimis Dei as if it were in force, and did so year after year. In addition, subsequent Popes kept referring to it as if it were in force, In many subsequent documents on slavery, they cited it. However, in an odd twist, Charles V sent a letter to the New World saying it ahd been revoked. So Charles, at least had some confusion.

                    As to Bishop Las Casas as the instigator of the slave trade – again, a half truth as history. After Las Casas started campaigining against using Indians as slaves, at one point he requested that slaves from Spain be used in their stead. His thought that only “just title” slaves would be used. (Criminals, Prisoners of war, etc) Later on, as soon as he found out they were using unjust title slaves stolen from africa, he immediately sought to end it. He bitterly regretted that anything he did might have led to the enslavement of any person, even if it was inadvertant. He waged a many year war against slavery, and is one of the real heroes of the situation.
                    Even as to the just title slaves, Las Casas only asked for small numbers of them. So accusing him of starting the slave trade is a wildly overblown accusation.

                    .

          • fredx2

            Frank said “Augustine held that slavery was not forbidden under natural law” – but there is much more.

            What Augustine said is that “slavery is never a “natural” condition but one that has arisen as the result of sin.”

            http://percaritatem.com/2009/02/04/augustine-and-scotus-on-slavery/

            “The first cause of servitude, therefore, is sin, by which man was placed under man in a condition of bondage: a condition which can come about only by the judgment of God, in Whom there is no injustice.
            …”By nature, then, in the condition in which God first created man, no man is the slave either of another man or of sin. But it is also true that servitude itself is ordained as a punishment by that law which enjoins the preservation of the order of nature, and forbids its disruption. For if nothing had been done in violation of that law, there would have been no need for the discipline of servitude as a punishment. The apostle therefore admonishes servants to be obedient to their masters, and to serve them loyally and with a good will, so that, if they cannot be freed by their masters, they can at least make their own slavery to some extent free [cf. Eph 6:5]. They can do this not by serving with cunning fear, but in faithful love, until all unrighteousness shall cease, and all authority and power be put down, that God may be all in all [1 Cor 15:24, 28].[2]”

            Augustine says there can be no just slavery without a violation of the law. So in accord with his time, (one thousand five hundred years ago) Criminals could be enslaved. But only for violation of the law. Augustine therefore made clear that unjust slavery – where the person had done nothing wrong, was wrong.

            In addition. Augustine sought the freedom of slaves in his time.

            “As Augustine explains, these “businessmen” are “draining Africa of much of its human population and transferring their ‘merchandise’ to the provinces across the sea.”[1] These traders and their hired thugs preyed upon the poorest of Roman citizens, kidnapping them and then selling them as slaves.[2] As he emphasizes throughout the letter, the situation at Hippo Regius had become increasingly violent. With the most vulnerable terrorized, and receiving little or no protection from Roman officials, they turned to the church for help.

            In the midst of this violence, Augustine and his church intervened. Not only did Augustine investigate Roman law in order to find potential loopholes to help put an end to this criminal activity,[3] but he and his church actually physically rescued captives from slave ships and hid them away—actions which put their own lives at risk. Augustine recounts to Bishop Alipius one such rescue mission, in which over one hundred individuals captured by Galatian merchants were rescued by parishioners from Augustine’s church.[4]
            http://percaritatem.com/tag/augustine-and-slavery/

          • fredx2

            Frank said “Aquinas argued the case for slavery under certain conditions”

            The difficulty is two fold. Aquinas, and the Popes for that matter, wrote in Latin. Latin apparently has one word “servitus” that means both slavery and servitude. So sometimes it is not quite clear which one they are talking about

            Second,Aquinas was writing at the begining of the middle ages. Serfdom was widespread, and it was considered a form of “slavery” So he was trying to deal with serfdom for the most part.
            Professor Rodney Stark says:

            “Then, in the thirteenth century, Saint Thomas Aquinas deduced that slavery was a sin, and a series of popes upheld his position, beginning in 1435 and culminating in three major pronouncements against slavery by Pope Paul III in 1537.

            It is significant that in Aquinas’s day, slavery was a thing of the past or of distant lands. Consequently, he gave very little attention to the subject per se, paying more attention to serfdom, which he held to be repugnant.

            However, in his overall analysis of morality in human relationships, Aquinas placed slavery in opposition to natural law, deducing that all “rational creatures” are entitled to justice. Hence he found no natural basis for the enslavement of one person rather than another, “thus removing any possible justification for slavery based on race or religion.” Right reason, not coercion, is the moral basis of authority, for “one man is not by nature ordained to another as an end.”

            Here Aquinas distinguished two forms of “subjection” or authority, just and unjust. The former exists when leaders work for the advantage and benefit of their subjects. The unjust form of subjection “is that of slavery, in which the ruler manages the subject for his own [the ruler's] advantage.” Based on the immense authority vested in Aquinas by the Church, the official view came to be that slavery is sinful.”

      • tom

        Finally, Frank’s anti-Catholic bigotry is on display. It’s ugly and telling. He needs prayer, you know.

      • Phil

        I agree. I’ve been following this site for about two years now and I’ve found that in the last few months virtually every article has been a hyperbolic rant and the tone of the comments has become vitriolic. These people do not simply have a different opinion anymore; they are becoming unhinged.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Uh oh. The blanket statement of doom. Can you please be more specific? I can go to any commentary site on the web and find goofy comments.

      • http://twitter.com/Desertsunart Desert Sun Art

        You respond to your own comments and slap yourself on the back. Okaaayyy.
        If the majority of people in this country and elsewhere want to jump off a cliff, there’s no stopping them I guess.

        • http://twitter.com/Desertsunart Desert Sun Art

          Not letting me delete the first line of this comment in Edit. Franks post was originally showing up as coming from DCH, so it looked like he was replying to himself.

    • fredx2

      Oh, its a long way from over. Let’s review:

      1) Many gay “marriages” do not expect to observe monogamy. (for evidence of tihs, google “gay marriage monogamy” and you will get mulitple sources, many of them gay publications) that say that, for example, 75% of gay men will not be faithful to their partner.
      2) Gays cannot procreate with each other, so another HUGE reason for marriage disappears.
      3) All the studies show that children are better off with a mother and a father, modelling both roles for the child, so the child is not left lacking. .
      4) There are studies that show that children of gay parents have difficulties that children of straight couples do not have.
      5) Once all of these fundamental reasons for marriage (monogamy, procreation, male-femaile complementarity) are gone, then “marriage” has been completely redefined and stripped of all meaning. Marriage essentially disappears, replaced by this new ‘”thing”,
      6) Once the public finds out the essential facts, there may be a backlash. If gay marriage is legalized, and if it becomes basically a non-monogamous,, non procreative, not good for kids thing, then people are going tofeel betrayed. The set back for other gay rights – ones that are probably more important – may be set back.
      7) And next: Polygamy. Now that Canada has passed gay marriage, the government has commissioned a study to see if polygamy should be passed too. The commision reported back that yes, it should be now that gay marriage is legal in canada. The first of many legal challenges to the polygamy ban has already taken place. More are on their way.

      I

  • publiusnj

    This article proceeds from the wrong premise in ceding to the “justices” (anothr governmental concoction, btw) the ability to redefine “marriage.” Who are they? The US wasn’t even a dream in the mind of Christopher Columbus’s parents when marriage was created (in fact Jesus had not even been born into this World). So what does this country have to do with the definition of marriage? Nothing. Like any state, it can regulate the impact of marriage on such issues as property division, inheritance, spousal and child support, etc. but it does not have the power to redefine such an ancient and honorable institution.
    Of course, it can use the power of the State to enforce its definition on its subjects, but we don’t have to accept that definition as anything but bureaucratic fol-de-rol. It is time to exercise the Lloyd Bentsen Option (“I knew Jack Kennedy and you, sir, are no Jack Kennedy”). If as and when the “justices” purport to redefine marriage, the Catholic Church needs to say clearly and unequivocally that it has known “Marriage” for a lot longer than the US has been an entity and that the new US definition of marriage is not real marriage. Thereafter, the Catholic Church ought to very publicly declare that while it will perform real marriages as “state defined marriages” too (pursuant to the power vested in it by the state too), it will not perform “state defined marriages” that do not constitute real marriages. If the enemy then tries to persecute the Catholic Church for its position, the Church ought to stand and say that that is where she stands and she will do no other.
    Then, the Church should go on an educational campaign to show that “state sanctioned marriage” is a very poor imitation of real marriage. Beside the very real flaw in allowing men to marry men and women women, it also ignores the reality that real marriage is for life and the vows so many people have taken to remain with one another for life are rendered meaningless by the interference of politicians who continually look for ways to get people out of their marital commitments in a gratuitous exercise of state power in the hopes of rounding up votes.. There are a lot of other ways in which the state is trying to make marriage unattractive (items like the marriage penalty in the Tax rates and the Earned Income Credits), but those will come out in any robust debate of what politicians’ interference in Marriage has already done.

    • Frank Lozera

      Publiusnj, marriage has always been defined by human beings, and its definition has varied considerably over time. There were even gay marriages in early modern Europe.

      In the modern world, states DO define marriage. The Catholic Church cannot do anything about this unless it seizes power from the secular state. And it is not going to do that.

      As a Catholic, you can lobby to impose a Catholic definition of marriage on everyone, but you won’t succeed. Even most Catholics (around 52%) now support same-sex marriage.

      You are mistaken if you think the Catholic Church needs to declare it will not perform same-sex marriages. No state or country requires religious institutions to do so. Standing your ground will therefore be easy.

      The Church should embark on an educational campaign about this? But haven’t you noticed that the Church has been doing just that for years? It hasn’t worked, because more and more people have figured out what the benefits of same-sex marriage are.

      • publiusnj

        The benefits of “gay marriage” are like the benefits of the other corollaries of “state-defined marriage”: divorce and the concubinage that governmental tax policies promote. IOW, the end of any morally-based family.
        And thanks for the assurances that the State is not going to compel churches to perform gay marriages. I doubt it though given other suggestions of the ruthlessness of the Gay Agenda manifested in such things as the Protestant wedding hall on the Jersey Shore which is being sued for not hosting a gay wedding reception or the Catholic adoption agencies that have been cut off by Illinois and other states for not allowing adoptions by “gay couples.” And the Obama Administration clearly doesn’t worry too much about rights of conscience given its aggressively totalitarian position on Contraceptive/Abortifacient insurance.
        And it is not “lobbying” when the Catholic Church calls out “state-sanctioned marriage” for the fraud it is; it is properly called “evangelization.” And we need it here. Since the State started going against Christian standards in marriage aand sexuality beginning in the 1960s, the rate of abortion, divorce and illegitimacy has skyrocketed (black illegitimacy was 25% and white illegitmacy was about 3% in 1965 when Pat Moynihan wrote his opus on the black family; black illegitmacy is now north of 70% while white illegitmacy exceeds 33%).

      • Theorist

        Who is this man, and why hasn’t he been downvoted into obscurity and/or banned? Seriously, is he just a devil’s advocate or is he a troll?

        If the latter, then it’s not like he isn’t presenting the same old arguments that others have presented. Let us at least (and at most) one entertaining/original troll. Perhaps someone who criticizes Christianity from the right or something, but not this ad nauseum argument.

        • Frank Lozera

          Theorist, why stop at banning me? You could pour kerosene on me and strike a match.

          • http://www.facebook.com/william.p.murphy William P Murphy

            Because this a Catholic website: would you wear a Klan Robe to a Black CHurch?

          • tom

            I’ve got some kerosene. It won’t be Holy Smoke. I assure you….sulphur.

  • Ford Oxaal

    Yes, indeed, marriage has already been redefined, and in all fifty states no less. No-fault divorce knocked most of the remaining teeth out of the beaten and bloodied face of marriage. The results wander the streets looking for something to smash, and perhaps rightly so. Nature has a way of clearing out the rot.

    The essential understanding of marriage in Western/Christian culture, as we all know, is a lifelong union between man and woman that no authority may “put asunder”, and which is a gift from God for the betterment of all society. But that gift has already been rejected. Now is the time for mocking and prancing about the unconscious corpse of marriage, much as the recent riots in Britain kicked and stabbed at the dead body of Margaret Thatcher, a lady of great virtue.

    But the sheer spectacle of the black robed Supreme Courtiers pontificating incoherently on marriage is a supreme farce. This is hubris as large as America is buxom. The motto “Justice is blind” may take on a new, cynical meaning. And as society continues to play the fool — see no evil, hear no evil — the tab will be borne by the ones who have no say in the matter, the very fruits of what’s left of marriage: children. America prefers to dance now, pay never — the non-procreative class is simply late to the party.

    The irony here is that the baby boomers, arguably the most materially gifted generation in human history, and the most morally bankrupt, may author their own distorted form of justice through euthanasia. With any luck, it may become fashionable to book a one-way flight to the ‘Netherlands’. The happy hunting grounds are as close as a hash bar, and you can choose your own urn — an urn that says who you really are. A priestly looking, genderless figure in a black Nehru jacket will work the intravenous and give the final half-smile as you meet your maker clothed in the lukewarm of utilitarian somnolence. How fiendishly delightful.

    • Frank Lozera

      Ford, you seem glum. Is your world falling apart?

      • Ford Oxaal

        Ahh, my lovely world. My world is a wonderful place. On a micro level, we have conquered completely the idiocy of our society where children are tailed by their parents like KGB spies — where mothers work and come home to scream at their kids — where handhelds destroy any semblance of eye contact and normalcy — where kids are raised to be dumbed down animals — and where people guzzle booze to escape from their private hell of endless work — we have utterly destroyed that world! And, I make unbelievably excellent cocktails every so often (in moderation, of course) and we have enlightening and interesting dinners, often with interesting dinner guests and occasionally an excellent wine. We learn as a family all the time — math, science, philosophy, theology, history, art, music. Lots of music. Guitars, keyboards, trumpet, accordion… dance parties. We pray together and love our Mother (hyperdulia) and Father (latria) in Heaven together, giving thanks and praise to God for creating us and keeping us in creation (and by the way, it is purely rational to believe that existence, all that exists, is whole, eternal, and at least as conscious as oneself). We have been blessed with a big enough crew, and enough land to provide the nucleus of a kids world for the entire neighborhood — a gang, if you will, that runs around and invents games and frolics in innocent ecstasy. None of this would have been possible with modern parenting methodologies of the indigo baby.

        • musicacre

          Add cello and viola, sounds alot like our place! True parties have live music!:)

          • Ford Oxaal

            Yes, live music. We used to be addicted to this Klezmer music CD — accordion and strings — intense. If you lived nearby, you could bring your string section over, and we could pull out the accordion (and maybe even the flaming slivovitz) and try a few tunes.

            • Bono95

              Are harmonicas allowed? :-D

              • Ford Oxaal

                Absolutely. And bongos.

                • Bono95

                  Awesome!

      • http://www.facebook.com/william.p.murphy William P Murphy

        Should n’t euthanasia make all good people ‘glum’?

        • Frank Lozera

          Not at all, WPM. It doesn’t make me glum, and I am hoping it will be available as an option for me one of these days.

          • tom

            Don’t delay.

          • Ford Oxaal

            It is available right now. But I encourage you to hang on a little while longer — you are a lot of fun to converse with, and I mean that sincerely. And I hope (and trust) there is a heaven, where friendship rules supreme.

  • Frank Lozera

    When you write that Justice Kagan “got it wrong” about the role of procreation in marriage, you are of course speaking as a Catholic. Justice Kagan was speaking as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and she was entirely correct.

    When you say that “marriage in its essence does involve a complementary physical relationship ordered to procreation,” you are speaking theologese, not jurisprudence. I catch a distinct whiff of ontology and teleology in the words “essence” and “ordered.” They’re a dead give-away.

    We have six Catholics justices in the Supreme Court (and three Jews), and yet arguments such as yours are still inadmissible. I doubt that you would even hear Justice Scalia making them.

    What does this tell you? To me, it confirms that we live in a secularized world where theological arguments don’t make it into the mainstream and cannot be used in courts of law.

    But I think your point about marriage already having been “redefined” is very sound, and I have been saying it on this blogsite for many months. Nine states and the District of Columbia have expanded the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, and this is just an undeniable fact. The horses are out of the barn.

    You are also right, I think, in intuiting that DOMA in its current incarnation is finished.

    • Ford Oxaal

      I sense a whiff of “wag the dog”. If you say it enough, people will come to believe it: “marriage isn’t about kids, marriage isn’t about kids, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not”.

      • Frank Lozera

        Ford, it’s not about the kids when there are no kids. When there are kids, it is mostly about them. But gay couples have kids, too. So let’s do the best thing for those kids and let their parents get married and enjoy 1134 federal benefits that come with marriage.

        • fredx2

          If it is really about the kids, then one must have pause, given the recent studies that show children of gay marriages do worse than regular kids. And given all the other studies that show that kids do best with a mother and a father, that should also give pause.
          If it is really about the kids, then let the 9 states that have gay marriage go about their business for a few years while the effect on children can be established.
          Those kids are too important to rush into something based on very little study and very little data.

          • Frank Lozera

            Fredx2, the consensus of pediatric professionals, as expressed in a recent position statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that children of same-sex couples fare no worse than children of opposite-sex couples. The “recent studies” that you are referring to do not carry much weight against the consensus. One of them is probably the infamous Regnerus study, which its publisher’s own auditor described as irreparably flawed.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Nobody needs studies. Children have a mother and a father. They are normally raised by the mother and the father. This is most excellent. Anything else is abnormal and is an accommodation, not a right.

              • Phil

                “Nobody needs studies”? You criticize Lozera because he repeats things in order to make them true and then you reject the idea that your hypotheses needs to be proved.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  What hypothesis? I merely stated the fact that children have a mother and a father by whom they are normally raised. Any other arrangement is by accommodation.

                  • Phil

                    If its a fact then it should be confirmed easily by the studies. Why reject a proof for something so rational and obvious?

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      There is nothing rational about it, which is why you need to resort to ‘studies’. Government must live by the reasonable, not the scientific. The scientific is overturned every few weeks. Eggs are bad for you — eat corn syrup ($$$). Cholesterol kills — eat hydrogenated vegetable oil ($$$). Kids don’t need a mom and dad — two moms are just dandy ($$$). The scientific is akin to expert witnesses in either side of a court proceeding: purely an advertisement for what you desire. The scientific by itself suffers from the same malaise as artificial intelligence: facts without understanding, statistics without context.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Ford, I think your distrust of science lacks nuance. There is not just one science but many, and they have different ways of collecting data, different challenges, and different methods of analysis.

                      Some of the hard sciences, like physics, can produce highly reliable results. The results are so dependable that you can take them to the planet Mars or use them to build a super-collider that will bang two sub-atomic particles together.

                      Chemistry is also in a very advanced stage of development, though a lot is still unknown, especially about biochemistry.

                      Some sciences, like neuroscience and epigenetics, are still in their infancy. In the case of neuroscience, data collection is hampered by the problems associated with using humans in tests.

                      Psychology is also a relatively new science, but phenomenal strides have been made since Freud.

                      If you really want to get into a fascinating study, find some books about the history and philosophy of science. I would recommend Massimo Pigliucci’s works.

                      I think it is a big mistake to unmoor your thinking from science. We know for a fact that humans have various so-called “cognitive biases” that sometimes prevent our seeing things as they are.

                      The “studies” that you are so suspicious of can be very valuable ways of verifying the accuracy of our perceptions and intuitions. This is just Psychology 101.

                      One of the bloggers just wrote, for example, that the 20th century was the bloodiest century in history. Seems intuitive, doesn’t it? But it’s wrong. That century was one of the most peaceful.

                      Don’t go the way of the Young-Earth Creationists and the climate change deniers. Our survival as a species within the coming century may depend far more on understanding and applying science than on worrying about whether gays and lesbians produce offspring.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      You are preaching to the choir. I am a scientist. Through reason and debate, my colleague and I discovered the geometry of visual perception — not a small scientific discovery given people have been seeing for a long time. As part of the outgrowth of this, I invented spherical media (IPIX, Streetview, Virtual tours, etc.). However, science without philosophy is blind, as the saying goes. And philosophy has been blinded by skepticism. To fix this, I recently published the proof of the external world by my colleague. This is quite clever, and re-hinges philosophy to the pursuit of the universal and constant in pursuit of the beautiful and excellent. Now if only I knew how to get people to read it :).

              • http://www.facebook.com/gavin.jacobs.338 Gavin Jacobs

                Ford Oxaal, children spend years bopping around the foster care system, going from one short-term home to the next. Many of these kids were removed from homes where they were abused and neglected. Think what heaven it must be for one of them to be adopted into a loving home with two committed parents. Two dads or two moms is a lot better than no dad and no mom.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  Children have a real mother and father, and are normally raised by them. This is most excellent. Second best is what most resembles the normal, and that is a foster mother and father, but this is not a right of the foster parents, but an accommodation for the sake of the child. Society need go no further than second best in doing the best it can for its next generation.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Ford, what is “most excellent” may be harder to determine than you imagine. In some cases, the foster parenting is superior to parenting by the birth parents (as in cases of alcoholism and abuse). In many cases, same-sex adoptive parenting is superior to both. Adoption agencies have to look at all the factors, and there is simply no evidence to support assigning a demerit to same-sex couples who wish to become parents. The evidence just doesn’t support doing that. The important thing is to get the kids into loving and nurturing families. Believe me, I speak from experience. Your black-and-white thinking about this is much, much more ideological than pragmatic.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      That’s pure nonsense once again. You can always find the exception to the rule, but it merely proves the rule: children need a mom and dad.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Ford, that wasn’t much of a response. You just demeaned my argument and dug in your heels. Are you unable to see that different situations can warrant different approaches? If a situation arises where a same-sex couple is both qualified and willing to adopt a child that has been passed around from one foster home to another, on what basis could you possibly deny them the opportunity to do so? I know you don’t like the sound of the words “studies show,” but I have to remind you that studies show that same-sex parents can be as capable as anyone else of successfully raising a child. The notion that every child needs a mother and father is just a mantra, but there’s no substance to it in reality.

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      The solution to the problem you pose isn’t to redefine what parents are. I’m sure situations will arise that are outside the norm, but once again, those don’t dictate what the norm is.

                • tom

                  The worst cases make the worst law.

              • Frank Lozera

                Nobody needs studies, and “we don’t need no education, neether.”

                Yes, children are usually (not “normally”!) raised by the mother and the father. But what about those whose mums and dads are dead or in prison or have been declared unfit parents? What about the kids whose moms are formerly married lesbians? Assuming that the mother-father-child configuration is “perfect,” you are making the perfect the enemy of the good. But, again, the scientific consensus (like, from pediatricians and sociologists) is that same-sex parenting is in no way inferior to the “regular” kind.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  Do you actually dispute that a child needs a mother and father? Some clown in a lab coat tells you a child does not need a mother and father, and I have some snake oil that will make you live forever. In the final analysis, society cannot enshrine the abnormal, though it may find ways to accommodate it.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    Yes, Ford. I do dispute that, and with very good reason. It’s not snake oil. The American Academy of Pediatrics is not selling snake oil.

                    Do you know that it took many centuries to convince everyone that the earth revolves around the Sun?

                    Forty-eight percent of Americans still believe that the Earth was created 6,348 years ago on a Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. And no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.

                    Your warning alarm should be sounding: It should be telling you, “Don’t continue living in an evidence-free bubble.”

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      Well, if you are on Earth, the Sun goes around the Earth. Sure, you can simplify the physics and math with a heliocentric model, but the Earth takes anything but an elliptical orbit relative to the galaxy, and then yet another permutation relative to a local cluster, etc. etc. Science is the lowest form of understanding.

            • tom

              Social science is not very scientific. Homosexuality was once a psychiatric disorder and is now deemed normal. We will have lots of Lesbians who adopt, and then one of them become heterosexual. It happens much more often than a heterosexual marriage where one party becomes LGBT. Is the best interests of the child secondary now to Narcissism?

            • fredx2

              The statements of Professional associations really mean little. They rarely go to the trouble of asking their membership what they think. So it is just an attempt to use the opinions of a very few staff members, who usually live in Washington DC, and are generally very liberal.

              The studies that presume to show that children of gay marriages have no problems are themselves severely flawed. Small sample sizes, etc. So they are not worth much.

              The things Regnerus is being criticized for are things that others have done in social science work, and no one said a word to those people.
              .

              18 social scientists responded to the criticims of Regnerus by saying

              “First, there are limitations with prior research on this subject that have seldom been discussed by the media. The vast majority of studies published before 2012 on this subject have relied upon small, nonrepresentative samples that do not represent children in typical gay and lesbian families in the United States. By contrast, Regnerus relies on a large, random, and representative sample of more than 200 children raised by parents who have had same-sex relationships, comparing them to a random sample of more than 2,000 children raised in heterosexual families, to reach his conclusion”

              Who is right? We don’t know.But it is unwise to massively institute gay marriage when we have no idea what it does to kids.

              Let the 9 states that have it serve as laboratories of democracy. Let them be studied. Don’t rush into something that could be bad for kids.

              • Frank Lozera

                Fredx, that’s a nice collection of stereotypes you’ve got there: the liberal elites, the shoddy practices of the scientific professions, the biased media.

                Eighteen social scientists defended the Regnerus study? Only 18? Thanks, Fredx, I didn’t know that but will cite it frequently.

                Do you know how many social scientists signed a letter asking the journal to withdraw it? 200.

                The American Sociological Association also submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in which they denounced the Regnerus study.

                • fredx2

                  The problem – and it is a very severe problem – is that the academy essentially has driven out anyone who disagrees with certain ideas. Alan Bloom warned us of this in 1986 in “The Closing of the American Mind”.And it appears he was spot on.
                  So, no wonder there were more asking for retraction. Same thing happens on global warming studies. If you run against the tide, as Bjorn Lomborg did, they accuse you of scientific misconduct,
                  And briefs submitted to the Supreme Court – amicus briefs – are notoriously political documents. If you read them, they are short on law and long on political type arguments.

        • Ford Oxaal

          Marriage as an institution is always about the kids. Just because the fruits of marriage do not come about in every case does not say anything about the essence of the institution — which is about what is best for children.

          • Frank Lozera

            Essence, schmessence. The SCOTUS does not justify its rulings by invoking Platonic or other essences. They build on existing law, which in this country has never linked marriage indissolubly to child-bearing.

            • Ford Oxaal

              There are no stronger ties than family ties — no stronger bond of loyalty than blood. Society and its law exist to serve the well-being and augmentation of families. It really is that simple.

              • Frank Lozera

                Ford, you seem to love simple concepts. Blood ties are great, unless they aren’t.

                • Ford Oxaal

                  Not my point. My point is there is nothing stronger than blood ties. These ties are what drive all of society. The greatest society discovers the greatest scope of liberty within justice, but can never go against family.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    OMG, Ford, when you talk about the glories of blood ties, I can’t help thinking of the extreme right-wing group in Germany, that calls itself “Blut und Ehre,” (blood and honor) an old Nazi slogan.

                    You are sounding really tribal. Are you that way, really?

                    • Ford Oxaal

                      We all are. Just stating the fact — not turning it into some weird political thing. The social contract is between families, not individuals.

            • Theorist

              In that case then, there is no law.

    • HigherCalling

      Constitutionally, the civil side of the s-s”m” is settled. It was settled when the purely secular Constitution became the “supreme law of the land” 1789. There is nothing in the intentionally Godless U.S. Constitution to keep same-sex “marriage” from becoming lawful. This has absolutely no bearing on whether the issue right, moral, good for individuals or society, let alone correctly defined. It is none of those things. The moral, philosophical, and intellectual arguments are entirely on the side of those who oppose the metaphysical absurdity of same-sex “marriage.” The s-s”m” debate exists only in the moral, philosophical, and religious arenas — arenas that sterile, synthetic, and increasingly soulless civil law is not allowed to consider. Sadly, and to our ultimate destruction, our courts are not courts of truth, they are courts of law.

      Getting here was inevitable. Universal truths have no real influence on secular civil law — by design. Appealing to the U.S. Constitution, a document that proudly calls abortion lawful, for some protection of real marriage, is almost laughable. Abandoning principled thought assures that the only thing actually “progressing” is the culture of death.

      • Frank Lozera

        So you would like to return to … ? What? The Holy Roman Empire?

        • tom

          We won’t have a choice. We’ll be too wounded by the shrapnel of a decaying civilization caused by abortion, illegitimacy, divorce, unjust wars, bad leadership and the least of the maladies, gay marriage. Any one we could survive but civilization is too fragile to fight them all off successfully. The only question is whether western civilization will die quickly or enjoy a drawn out demise.

          “Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it produces.” ― Jean-Jacques Rousseau

          • cminca

            Jean-Jacques Rousseau would probably agree that the US Constitution is a remedy to the evil of an over reaching church.

            • Bono95

              The Catholic Church has never been overreaching. It certainly wasn’t in America at and before the drawing up of the Constitution. In the early colonial days, Catholics were only allowed to live in Maryland. Any who tried to go anywhere else where imprisoned, exiled, made indentured servants, or worse.
              The anti-Catholic laws were relaxed by the time of the Constitution’s ratification, and George Washington was baptized Catholic before he died.

              • Phil

                It had tremendous overreach in Quebec and Western Europe until fairly recently, however.

            • Theorist

              Jean-Jacques Rousseau would’ve loved an over-reaching church because it would have the moral authority to control people on an intimate level. He even counseled that a law-giver should at least appear to be a prophet or divinely inspired; such were the great lawmakers like Lycurgus or Numa.

              And he would’ve hated the US Const. because he would see in it nothing but oligarchical principles. J-J R’s ideal was a city state with direct democracy.

            • Frank Lozera

              Yes. Well, I don’t know if it would be JJRousseau, but certainly Diderot or d”Alembert or Helvétius would have probably thought that. There’s hardly any doubt that the Church was over-reaching in 18th-century Europe, and this blog site just shows that the matter isn’t settled yet. As for me, I’ll take the U.S. Constitution any day.

          • Frank Lozera

            No wonder you don’t have any friends.

        • HigherCalling

          A return to universal truths, or at least to objective universal principles, will do. Interestingly, that return reaches completion where it must and where it already has: in Catholicity.

  • http://twitter.com/roxwyfe Ruth Rocker

    If homosexual relationships are truly “marriages” why are they specifically delineated by using the phrase “gay marriage”? Seems like if everyone thought they were really marriages, they’d just be called that. HHHmmmmm. . . . .

    Quoting from “Futurama”, “I don’t want to live on this planet any longer”

    • Frank Lozera

      Ruth, I have an answer to your question. We use the adjectives “gay” or “straight” to modify “marriage” when we need to make a distinction. However, when my partner and I get married in the summer, we will not say, “We have a gay marriage,” or “We are gayly married,” but just “We are married.”

      • cminca

        Congrats Frank. Have a great day!

      • http://twitter.com/roxwyfe Ruth Rocker

        You will be in a relationship, perhaps for life, but you will not be married. Good luck

        • dch

          Yes he will be LEGALLY married and enjoy the same treatment under the law as any straight couple. The fact that you do not think he is married is of no consequence. Conversely, his marriage will not affect you any any way and is of no consequence to you.

          • Scott Waddell

            Well, actually, it is of consequence as we have seen numerous brownshirt tactics employed advocates of same-sex phony marriages given a legal rubberstamp. Evil brooks no gainsaying.

            • Frank Lozera

              Oh, Scott, Scott. Brownshirts? What are you talking about?

              • Scott Waddell

                Forcing people out of jobs, forcing charities out of their charitable work. Suing anyone that doesn’t materially cooperate with them. If there was ever a lick of conscience protection in this onslaught, I might think differently, but it is clear progressives are going to rely on argumentum ad baculum.

                • Frank Lozera

                  Forcing charities out of their charitable work? Scott, get real. The Catholic charities in question were accepting taxpayer money and using it to discriminate against same-sex couples.

  • fredx2

    “With the whole world watching, and the absolutely fundamental social question of what marriage is at stake, the justices nevertheless seemed unconcerned about dwelling on what seemed to be legal quibbles, sometmes even appearing to be little better than bickering pettifoggers themselves.”
    That is exactly the kind of “bickering” (some would say concern) that you want Justices to have. The Justices were never put there to decide all moral issues. Far from it. They were not put there to decide social question. They were put there to interpret the words of the Constiution. If, according to the law, the case should not be before them, then they have no power to make any decision.
    In addition, this case has been bixarre from the beginning. First, the judge in the district court was gay, and appears to have used the case to allow the weirdest string of testimony from people who were not really expertes, they were advocates. A major portion of their case in the lower court was that religion was a major reason why gays are mistreated. He should have recused himself. Second, when the case was appealled, the State of ‘California refused to defend teh decision of its citizens in Prop 8. How’s that for malfeasance?

    • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

      It is silly to say that a gay judge should recuse himself from this case any more than it would be to suggest a judge of Mexican descent should recuse himself from criminal cases in which the defendant is of Mexican descent as well. As long as he doesn’t have some special circumstance that makes him uniquely likely to benefit any more than any other gay man then he can hear the case.

      Don’t blame Judge Walker that the proponents of Prop 8 were unable to come up with any good evidence as to the harms that come from same sex marriage. They, like the author of this piece and many commenting seem perfectly content with the natural law arguments that don’t hold water in court. Maybe somebody should teach the attorneys about how courts interpret laws before they try another case so poorly. The fact that they focused so clearly on the procreation arguments even though California allows same-sex couples to adopt and raise children seems to me like they didn’t really know what they were doing.

      • tom

        Bizarre.

      • fredx2

        Well, first it is a major social issue -it does not really belong in court because courts are bad places to settle major social issues. They are entirely ill suited to do so.

        Second, Judge Walker stood to gain from the outcome. He and his partner would be able to marry if the case went a certain way- so he had a concrete, personal interest in the case.

  • puffdaddy

    So…what does Crisis and its writers have to say about the bishops and priests in the country that quietly support gay marriage and other progressive social experiments. I know that the bishop in Iowa supports it. Do you care?

    • Frank Lozera

      Tell us more. That is interesting. I know that in Seattle, where I live, some of the major parishes refused to comply with Archbishop Sartain’s directive to collect signatures needed to put an anti-marriage equality referendum on the ballot last year. There is clearly rebellion in the ranks. I would like to hear about Iowa. I want to have a good opinion of Catholics, and my heart goes out to those who resist the authoritarian tendencies of the hierarchy.

      • puffdaddy

        There is a great deal of rebellion in the ranks. The bishop of Iowa, Des Moines also thinks that the state is too “white” and this must change and so he and others are very supportive of refugee relocation programs, especially those from Africa. Privately many priests and bishops support same sex marriage – they do not speak out publicly as they do about other progressive social experiments. However, the best way to “resist the authoritarian tendencies of the hierarchy” of the Catholic church is simply to leave the Catholic church (no one forces them to stay) and join the Anglican church which accepts gay marriage, It’s quite simple actually, since I do not see the Catholics deciding gay marriage and homosexual relations (despite the number of them within the church) are acceptable. To believe they would means you don’t know much about Catholicism.

        • Scott Waddell

          However, the best way to “resist the authoritarian tendencies of the
          hierarchy” of the Catholic church is simply to leave the Catholic church
          (no one forces them to stay) and join the Anglican church which accepts
          gay marriage,

          True and funny thing that. Episcopals thought that people would flock to their church when they ordained an openly gay bishop. Well, those flocks have either been stuck in traffic for years, or are coming to church disguised as empty pews. It’s no mystery why–No one needs to waste an hour on Sunday learning how to be a secular humanist. We all live in its sulfurous fumes every day. And it’s no mystery why malcontent Catholics don’t leave for progressive denominations–Germany doesn’t have to invade Italy when Mussolini is in charge.

          • puffdaddy

            Amen Scott! I am referring, of course, the the priests and bishops who quietly (and some not so quietly) promote gay or same sex marriage. They would feel comfortable over with the Anglicans – but of course, actual parishioners have left the Anglicans, but I am not sure if they have come to the Catholic Church.

          • puffdaddy

            I’m really talking about the dissenting clergy, not parishioners. If the bishops and priests want to belong to a church that condones and even encourages gay or same sex marriage, one awaits them: the Anglicans.

        • http://twitter.com/Desertsunart Desert Sun Art

          ” authoritarian tendencies of the hierarchy” of the Catholic Church”. Funny. Considering that Jesus gave this authority to His Apostles who then handed it down to their successors, the Bishops. They are simply protecting and proclaiming the Truth of God. Bishops and laity who are dissenting from this divine authority are simply putting themselves in grave spiritual danger. I hope and pray that most will eventually see their errors.

          • puffdaddy

            Desert Sun, You can talk to Frank about that (above) – judging from his comment I THINK he’s pro-gay marriage and feels the Catholic Church is too authoritative about condemning it and he seems to welcome dissent from clergy members. My point is why dissent when there is a church waiting for you with open arms, the Anglicans.

        • Theorist

          Ha, the bishop of Iowa thinks that Des Moines is too White. Imagine that; it’s like saying SoCal is too Latin American!There is no low to which these bishops will not sink.

          In the meantime the Catholic Church is too unCatholic, and yet the bishops are worried about there being too many whites?

    • Bono95

      Have you tried reading such Crisis articles as “The ‘New’ Tone of US Bishops Sounds Very Familiar”, or any of the related articles listed at the bottom of that one? Look them up if you haven’t. You’ll find the answer spelled out quite clearly

      • puffdaddy

        no but i will thank you Bono95!

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  • tom

    After a calamity, like World War III or a plague, societal norms will shift. After some of Germany’s wars, polygamy was encouraged to regain population, then it was discarded. Nature finds a way to get back to basics. After all, gays are a few percentage points of humanity, a sideshow at Coney Island. The moral killer ( pun intended) is abortion which causes more illegitimacy (50% here and Europe) and the destruction of the family. Anyone want to have coffee with Joe Biden, after Mass, on how to serve the Lord and the Beast at the same time?

  • David Sharples

    The secular Godless Left looks forward to the day of total marriage deconstruction, the proclamation that all devout Christians are bigots and that all this Christian talk is hate speech. Should I look forward to this? Certainly there is nothing like persecution to cleanse a system. It will likely be a white martyrdom, but a martyrdom none the less.

  • kcthomas

    If liberalism goes on the prohibited path, time is not far of when mother marries daughter or father marries son or daughter or a group marriage in the family itself. Marriage is just for saving taxes or just deriving sexual pleasures of a particular style. Where is the end ? The next stage of freedom ( I call it Western Madness) will be asking recognistion of marrying a pig or dog or anyliving thing How and who can object ?
    Marriage is sacred and is between a male cand a female

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