Why We are Losing the Gay “Marriage” Debate (and How We Can Start Winning)

gay_marriage_sign

Gay activists tell us that “gay marriage is inevitable.”  It’s a taunt devised to pick off the more faint-hearted clingers-on of traditional marriage by exploiting the human instinct to be on the winning side. And all too often, it works.

Traditional marriage advocates rightly protest that this isn’t an argument. Nothing, they say, is ‘inevitable’ that depends on the free choice of human beings. But this is an evasion. Look at the polls. Witness the slow but steady capitulation of state after state, country after country, to the new marriage regime. Gay “marriage” may not be inevitable. But can we honestly deny that the momentum is firmly on its side?

The mistake comes in thinking that because gay “marriage” is a relatively new innovation, this momentum is merely a temporary shift of the political winds. According to this way of thinking, all that is needed is enough cash, a large-enough team of motivated and intelligent lawyers, strategists and jingoists, and a calm appeal to common sense and we will sail smoothly back in the direction of cultural sanity with a balmy zephyr blowing at our backs.

But while gay “marriage” may have all the appearance of a fad, this is only an illusion. It is not a fad. It is not new. It is, in fact, the logical conclusion of the whole trajectory of social and sexual mores of the past century. The momentum enjoyed by the gay marriage movement is not that of a mere shift of the ever-fickle political winds. If it is to be compared to any sort of meteorological event, it should be compared to a hurricane: a storm that has been gathering energy for many days out at sea before ever making landfall.

A typical definition of “traditional marriage” (or what would, in a healthier society, simply be called “marriage”) goes something like this: “Marriage is the life-long, exclusive union of one man and one woman oriented towards the begetting and rearing of children.” This is the ideal that the traditional marriage movement proclaims. And it is a beautiful ideal, and well worth defending.

But an honest look at the cultural landscape raises the question of just how much is left to defend. The statistics suggest that social conservatives may be brandishing their scimitars not in defense of a robust institution suddenly threatened by a new and hostile cultural force, but rather the smoking ruins of an institution long ago surrendered and abandoned as lost. The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, and what a friend of mine calls the subsequent “hell of the Divorce Tsunami” of the 1970s, have already swept this Thing That We Used to Call Marriage out to sea, leaving us clinging to the bobbing flotsam and jetsam.

By this point the statistics are so familiar that they have ceased to be shocking. And yet the numbers ought to shock us. Right now, some sixty percent of couples cohabit before marriage; nearly half of all marriages end in divorce; a record number of Americans aren’t bothering to get married in the first place, and those that do get married are getting married ever later; 41 percent of all children are born out of wedlock; 35 percent of children live in single-parent homes; only 61 percent of children under 18 live with their biological parents; and the birth rate has now dipped below the replacement level, as couples are having fewer and fewer, or sometimes no children at all.

So much for marriage being “life-long,” “exclusive” and child-oriented! Well then, what do we have left? Only the final third of our definition of traditional marriage: that marriage should be between one man and one woman. From the perspective of the gay rights movement, getting rid of this final scrap of our definition is not so much a cultural revolution, as it is a mop-up job. The revolution already happened. Now it’s simply a question of tying up the loose ends.

And they are not wrong.

The question, then, is not so much whether we are willing to do the hard work to stem the tide of gay “marriage” (which, of course, we must do), but rather whether we are willing to put our shoulder to the much harder task of rolling back the social revolution that ever permitted gay “marriage” to be calmly discussed as a viable option by reasonable people in the first place.

What makes it increasingly likely that gay “marriage” will become a reality is that the answer, in many cases, is quite frankly, “No.”

“New Marriage” vs. “Traditional Marriage”
It turns out that even many self-proclaimed “traditional marriage advocates” are not really interested in defending Traditional Marriage, so much as they are interested in keeping gays out of what, for the sake of the argument, we might call “New Marriage” (Though whether it really qualifies as “marriage” at all is a question I leave to the lawyers and theologians).

Whatever similarities the two might share are predominantly cosmetic, while the differences are myriad and profound. However, we might sum up the differences like this: that while Traditional Marriage is an outward-looking and objective institution, New Marriage is inward-looking and subjective. While Traditional Marriage is based upon a permanent vow and is oriented primarily towards the founding of a family, and through the family the good of society, New Marriage is based upon a temporary contract between two people who are in love; if it is oriented towards anything, it is primarily towards companionship and the self-actualization (or what you will) of the couple.

Or, to put it another way, Traditional Marriage is founded upon certain, solid, objective facts: the fact of the biological and psychological complementarity of the sexes; the fact of a solemn public vow made before God which is deemed to be actually binding for life, and not a mere ceremony; the fact that sexual union between members of the opposite sex leads naturally to children; the fact that children do best with both a mother and a father; and the fact that healthy, stable families are the necessary foundation of a healthy, stable society. New Marriage, on the other hand, is founded primarily on a subjective state: the feeling of being in love.

(Some may protest that New Marriage, with its emphasis on love, seems the more attractive of the two. But this fails to appreciate that Traditional Marriage, by being built upon a rock-solid foundation that can withstand the violent shocks of the temporary reversals of feeling or fortune or health that are an inevitable part of life, is in fact the far more effective of the two at nurturing and protecting love and companionship in the long term.)

In general most people nowadays subscribe to New Marriage, often without consciously realizing it, or ever being aware there ever was any other kind. In many cases they even believe that they support Traditional Marriage, while failing to realize that at best they are clinging to the hollow husk of Traditional Marriage, the innards of which have long since been replaced with the newer version. Such as these are perfectly content—or at least willing to forge a truce—with many of the innovations of the past five decades: cohabitation, contraception, no-fault divorce, pornography, artificial reproductive technologies…in other words, the whole project of the sexual revolution of “liberating” procreation from the act of sex, and the act of sex from marriage, with perhaps one exception: that gays not be permitted to join in the fun. Sadly, this includes even a majority of Christian denominations.

This confusion has the insidious effect of, in the first place, leaving the traditional marriage movement wide open to accusations of hypocrisy—a weakness that gay activists have not been slow to exploit.

For instance, in just about any debate about gay “marriage” it is only a matter of time before the question of divorce is broached. For some reason, this is invariably perceived as a coup for gay “marriage” that leaves traditional marriage supporters either stuttering incoherently or plunged into a perplexed silence. Few are those who are willing to rise to the objection and to state the obvious—that no-fault divorce has been an unmitigated social disaster that must be repealed—either because they themselves are divorced, or they wish to have the safety net of easy divorce should they ever need it, or because someone they know or love is divorced, and they do not wish to sound judgmental. Similar awkward silences often ensue whenever the subjects of fornication, cohabitation, infidelity and contraception arise.

The second effect of this confusion (which is related to the first), is that it renders wide swathes of our culture increasingly docile to the arguments of the gay activists. After all, huge numbers of heterosexuals are sleeping with whomever they want, are divorcing and remarrying willy nilly, are avoiding children like the plague, or are bringing children into a single parent home or placing them in the unconscionable position of either choosing which parent they like best or being condemned to the permanent impermanence of being shuffled about from one parent to the next for the duration of their childhood. Nobody seems to be particularly bothered by all this, and so, many are beginning to wonder (quite rightly) why we should begrudge gays the right to do the same thing, and to honor it with the same name.

After all, no one seriously questions that two homosexuals can fall in love (the primary criteria for New Marriage). And while it is true that homosexual relationships are statistically unstable and often less than monogamous, well, are heterosexuals really doing all that much better? And besides, while it is true that gay sex (if we may call it that) is by nature sterile, is there much difference between contracepted or sterilized heterosexual sex? And, of course, while gays cannot have children naturally, they can avail themselves of Brave New World technologies like IVF or artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood, access to which heterosexuals have long enjoyed and to which we have long ago ceased raising any serious moral objections. So what if such children will lack a mother or a father? We already allow single men and single women to conceive children using these technologies, so why not gays? Would it not be hypocritical not to allow them to?

In the end, it’s an unanswerable question. If—and I say, if—we accept the premises of New Marriage, then there really isn’t any reason to keep gays out. In fact, it would arguably be sheer prejudice not to.

Consistency is the Only Hope of Victory
All of which leads relentlessly to this challenging, but necessary conclusion:

That if there is to be any hope that we will not merely be laughed at (as happened last month at the U.S. Supreme Court) when we point out the common sense truth that gay “marriage” cannot really be marriage because marriage and procreation go hand in hand, and gays cannot procreate, it will only be because we are joyfully welcoming children into our own marriages; or because we have not deliberately rendered our own marriages sterile through mutilation or contraception; or because we ourselves have rejected the use of technologies that violently wrench the process of procreation from its only rightful place within the beautiful act of marital intercourse and transplanted it into to a laboratory.

And if there is to be any hope of not merely appearing ridiculous when we say that true marriage is infinitely better than gay “marriage” for children because it gives them both their biological mother and father and is more stable, it will only be because we ourselves have done the hard work of building stable, faithful marriages; or because we ourselves have not voluntarily deprived our own children of either their mother or father.

And if we are not to be scoffed at when we say that sex is “sacred” and only properly expressed within the confines of a marriage between a man and a woman, it will be because we ourselves are living emblems of the joy of living chastely; because we ourselves have rejected promiscuity, pornography, and infidelity; and because our pastors preach and our churches teach that sex is sacred and have refused to compromise with the culture of divorce and promiscuity.

In other words, if there is going to be any hope of saving traditional marriage, then we will have to discontinue this charade, in which all of us are implicated to one degree or another, of accepting or indulging in our favorite portions of the Sexual Revolution, but then complaining bitterly when the revolution leads precisely to where it promised to lead.

We simply cannot convincingly stand guard over the citadel while at the same time plundering its spoils. No. If we are ever to see the restoration of a culture of true marriage, then we are going to have to start being consistent. And that starts with you, and me, today.

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared April 7, 2013 on LifeSiteNews.com and is reprinted with permission of the author.

John Jalsevac

By

John Jalsevac lives in Lakefield, Ontario with his wife and three children, where he brews beer, makes cheese, sings songs and writes stories in his free time, and works as the managing editor of LifeSiteNews.com the rest of the time.

  • lifeknight

    Great article! Thank you for delineating all the points that have been thrown back at those of us trying to enlist support for Traditional marriage. Beer and cheese work well together!

  • FernieV

    If your beer and cheese (and songs!) are as good as your article, you may consider starting a world-wide brand! Thank you for your wonderful article, John.

  • Dan Carter

    This is the best article I have seen on this issue. It IS the answer and must be taken up by our PRIESTS AND MINISTERS…who never seem to talk about these issues anymore !!

    • John

      Well put, Dan!

  • Reets46

    In other words, if there is going to be any hope of saving traditional marriage, then we will have to discontinue this charade, in which all of us are implicated to one degree or another, of accepting or indulging in our favorite portions of the Sexual Revolution, but then complaining bitterly when the revolution leads precisely to where it promised to lead.
    Amen… Wonderful article!

  • tom

    A fine article: The Mormons seem to be leading the way on this wrestling match atheism. While having their own “polygamy issue”, they work closely together, go to Mormon schools, help each other find work, evangelize, and restrict their “charity” to fellow Mormons practicing their Faith. They’re growing gangbusters in America! Mitt’s a poster boy for them with his convert wife and big family. In contrast, the RCC and its universities have embraced multi-culturalism, teach Islamic thought for lucre, embrace a socialist agenda, and give our limited resources to folks who’ll NEVER support Catholic beliefs. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there!

  • Madeline Philbrick

    It is so wonderful to read your essay written by someone who really gets it. I have been married and divorced twice. Both husbands were unfaithful and left me for “greener pastures”. I still do not believe in divorce unless a person’s life is in danger and I believe that the number of annulments needs to be reigned in. They also undermine our Church doctrine and message. Stay strong in your faith. Our lifetime is just a breath. Eternity with God is worth a few sacrifices and some loneliness. I’m now 70 years old, active, healthy and feel just the same as I did at 30. I still feel things and am very normal. I live a celibate life and love Jesus and His Church, my two wonderful children and my 6 grandchildren and I want for nothing more than to one day go “home”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306493603 Noreen McEnery DiDonato

      God bless you for you faithfulness to the Church and I agree with you 100%.

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

    AMEN TIMES INFINITY!

  • Michael

    A good start would be to make a clear distinction between the sacrament of matrimony (i.e, the office of motherhood) and legal “marriage”. As soon as it becomes clear that, for Catholics, the latter is (or should be) merely a recognition by the state of a pre-existing state, the debate would be half won. The question becomes how to make that clear, first to Catholics and then to the world.

  • Jim

    This article is so right. You can never fight this battle merely politically without first transforming people’s hearts and minds. This was why Edmund Burke said that the most important revolution in the French Revolution was the one in “manners and moral opinions.”

    • tom

      “In viewing this monstrous tragicomic scene, the most opposite passions necessarily succeed and sometimes mix with each other in the mind: alternate contempt and indignation, alternate laughter and tears, alternate scorn and horror.” Edmund Burke could be talking about the Left’s massive advances in destroying today’s culture. There are no norms left.

  • Alecto

    I’m sure I’ll catch flack, but in Catholicism marriage is a sacrament. What is a sacrament but a means of conferring grace? Procreation is a byproduct, not the principle purpose of marriage. Therefore, isn’t marriage the means by which man and woman help each other into an eternity with God? I don’t at all disagree with the author, but stating that the only or central purpose of marriage is procreation is like saying the Sistine Chapel is a neighborhood church.

    • Richard

      I agree, Alecto. Not all marriages are formed for the express purpose of producing children.

      • Theorist

        But of course, the ability to make children is implicit in the nature any marriage.

    • Howard Kainz

      @Alecto: the sacramental nature of marriage for Catholics (and Orthodox) is, as you indicate, the big difference that needs to be emphasized. But as a sacrament it is a symbol of the marriage of Christ and the Church. Gay “marriage” is completely incompatible with that symbolization, although it could be stretched into compatibility with non-sacramental marriage purely as a contract.

    • patricia

      Well, considering that most people get married in their fertile years, then procreation is not a byproduct. Few people are infertile and of course in this case there will be no procreation. Also, if for some reason someone decides to get married later in life there will be no procreation. But those are rather the exception, not the rule.

    • thetrog

      Uh, I don’t think that’s quite right. The transmission of life is one of the two ends of marriage. To separate this procreative cooperation with God’s work is to prevent the means of conferring that grace:

      “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith.'” [CCC #1123]

      Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.

      Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ’s name “to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.” On their part, “Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” [CCC 1534-35]

      Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. . .”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”, they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work. [CCC #372]

      Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament. [CCC #2360]

      The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.

      The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity. [CCC #2363]

  • Richard

    John Jalsevac points out that 35% of children live in single-parent homes. Which is better? Two parents or one? What percentage of children live in foster care? Which would be better? A stable two-parent home or moving around the foster care system? Speaking of the breakdown of traditional marriage, high divorce rates, etc., does not impugn same sex marriage. Two committed men or two committed women can and do provide better home for adopted children than inadequate, abusive single parents. And within same sex marriages, you often *do* in fact get a “mom” and a “dad” — one partner is likely to be the more nurturing and the other is likely to be the more achieving.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306493603 Noreen McEnery DiDonato

      So, you’re saying there is less chance of gay parents being inadequate and abusive? In my opinion, forcing a child to be raised by partners of only one sex is abusive.

      • tom

        Just another Leftist with an “agenda”. Ask him what happens when the Lesbian “wife” decides to become a heterosexual and runs off with a guy. The “male” Lesbian is the step-“father” or is the husband the “father”? Gets confusing in the reality of Lesbian hi-jinks.

        • Me

          Or … a gay male husband could run off with his boyfriend and leave his female wife and kids. Or at least abandon them. It’s happened before.

          • tom

            Of course, neither is morally justified by Catholicism, but the Lesbian “husband” and wife teams have this occur much more frequently as the fluidity of women in Lesbian relationships keeps everything in flux. They seem to change sexual attraction with their sweater.

            • Frank Lozera

              Tom, where did you find this information about lesbians? Or is it just a slander? My understanding is that lesbians are far more monogamous than heterosexual couples. Do you want to challenge that?

              • tom

                Sure, start by googling LUGS…Lesbians until graduation. Male gays seem to stick to their identity. Gals are more fluid. Some leave their girlfriend after college to find a male mate and live happily ever after. Others wait until after the adoption of their victims. Suffer the children, Frank?

      • Frank Lozera

        Not at all, Noreen. That’s spreading the meaning of “abusive” a little too thin, like Richard Dawkins, who claims that raising a child in a religious faith is “abusive.” I don’t think you can convincingly claim that loving parenting by two men or two women is “abusive.” My partner and I raised a boy, who has turned out extremely well: No felonies, no DUIs, a college degree, a good job with Bank of America, lots of friends, a serious girlfriend. Where do you see the “abuse”? He certainly has never complained of any.

        • tom

          You beg the question as to whether gay adoptions are in “the best interests of the child” or the best interests of the gay couple? Priorities, Frank, it’s all about our priorities.

          • Frank Lozera

            Well, once again, the AAP has concluded that children fare no worse when raised by same-sex parents than when raised by opposite-sex ones. The notion that gay adoptions are more for the couple than the child is a canard. It has no basis in reality. I am speaking as an adoptive parent with a grown son.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306493603 Noreen McEnery DiDonato

              I wrote to the AAP and asked them what research they used to come to their conclusion regarding children and same-sex couples. So far, I have not received a reply.

              • Frank Lozera

                Noreen, you could probably do a search yourself. Just go in and dig it out on the Internet. The AAP may not feel it’s their job to do that for you.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306493603 Noreen McEnery DiDonato

          I totally disagree that your “relationship” is a healthy atmosphere to raise a child. As a Catholic, (I don’t know what religion you are.) you are living in a disordered relationship. God made Adam and Eve not Adam and John. How could the child you raised complain? You set yourselves up as his “parents”. What choice did he have? And, I am not interested in Richard Dawkins opinions. They are in direct opposition to the Catholic faith.

          • Frank Lozera

            I anticipated your reaction to Richard Dawkins, and that’s why I quoted him to show how the word “abusive” can be misapplied to the detriment not only of same-sex parenting but also of Catholicism and religion in general.

      • Bono95

        Exactly, Mrs. McEnery DiDonato.

    • Frank Lozera

      And, I might add, Richard, that the same-sex parents’ families and friends often kick in to help with role-modeling, community support, and so on.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306493603 Noreen McEnery DiDonato

        The same is usually true with a traditional family. But, in the end, it is the parents who have the greatest influence on a child.

  • Theorist

    I too have been thinking about this issue, and it is quite the issue to think about RE: liberalism. I agree with the article’s points except I would like to offer even more practical advice/observations of a more or less controversial nature:

    Observations:

    (1) most people allow their feelings to dictate their choice of political leaders.

    (2) Modern Liberalism of the US brand, is just an offshoot of the principles of the declaration of independence. Everyone is considered to be self-evidently equal, and deserving of maximum happiness, life, and liberty.

    (3) No one will ally with a political movement that makes them feel bad. Unfortunately, liberals have a monopoly on “feeling good” since they are the least critical acceptor of anything except (and here’s where lack of thought comes in) those who would criticize them.

    (4) Since they have firmly established themselves as the defenders of the poor, exploited, etc. conservatives are in the the awkward position of either trying to compete with them on the same terms (impossible, since anything we promise people can be realized to a further extent by liberals), or by trying to set themselves up as the opponents of the poor, exploited, etc. Now the latter conservatism at least, has the charisma gained from standing for politically incorrect principles, but it cannot achieve political power since it is a hateful and repellant force, to those it wants to convert.

    (5) Therefore, liberalism, is seemingly “the perfect organism” from Alien -you can’t kill it.

    (6) How can we attack liberalism? There are actually, still a few ways but let me suggest one of the most controversial –

    Advice:

    (1) Use libertarianism to defend traditionalism because, such a defense utilizes and also ridicules the concept of tolerance, overloads the entire matrix of modern thought (the interconnections of liberty, peace, fraternity, etc.), and resets society to a position more amenable to our point of view. In this case, we can use liberal’s greatest strength (inclusiveness) to dethrone inclusiveness. So for instance, if liberals are in favor of free speech we can simply say, “We agree, which is why we demand freedom to preach against homosexuality/exclude homosexuals, etc.” or even “We agree, which is why we demand to be able to free criminals”. If they disagree they can either be called “fascists” (which is, by their definitions, what they would be if they did disagree) and plus it puts the shoe on the other foot. If they say “we should not help criminals” then just say “Jesus said we should help prisoners and love our enemies” and so right there you have them stuck -either they like people or they don’t like people. In addition, criminals are not the worst thing ever, it would be more surprising that you didn’t help them in some sense than if you did.

    (2) Some may say that it is a contradiction to be against freedom and yet to like freedom however this is incorrect since (a) freedom is an equivocal term (one man’s freedom is not another man’s freedom) (b) freedom in the broadest sense, means “doing whatever you want” in which case, if we are so free, then why can’t we choose to use this freedom to bind ourselves? In this case, the definition of freedom shifts but is nonetheless proportionate to the original sense of freedom. So one can win by using what they have against them.

    • Theorist

      Whoops, it should read “one man’s freedom is not another man’s freedom.

    • tom

      You’re talking about social liberalism where the state becomes more powerful and the individual weaker. Classic liberalism aligns with both the natural law…as evinced in the Declaration of Independence…and Catholicism. Classic liberalism was with us from 1776 until 1973, when the state decided some individuals had no Right to Life. It’s been downhill ever since. No surprise why.

  • Caroline

    I know a young woman who grew up in the most traditional of traditional families. She was severely abused by her parents and older brothers — physically, sexually, and emotionally. While the physical and sexual abuse were horrendous, the “gender role” abuse was also very insidious and damaging. She was forced to take care of her siblings, to wash their clothes, cook for them, clean up after them, and never allowed to “sass” her male siblings, who were considered to be justified in hitting her if she did. It was a sick, sick situation. She says that if she could have been “rescued” by anybody, she would have jumped at the opportunity. If she could have had two loving, non-abusive, supportive parents of the same sex, she’d have accepted them immediately. Don’t tell me this debate is about morality and the welfare of children. It’s not! It’s about justifying male-female marriages — however damaging, however dysfunctional, however abusive — at the cost of children and, often, of women.

    • patricia

      Statistically insignificant your tale of the young woman. And you’re trying to say traditionalism is machista and sexist. It is not. And who said gay couples do not abuse their child? Maybe we could find a statistically insignificant tale to write here?

      • tom

        Caroline’s not a Catholic. Grab a copy of the Baltimore Catechism to grasp the fundamentals of the Church, Caroline.

      • Me

        Priests have abused their charges. The numbers are not statistically insignificant. And of course there are abusive gays too. The point is that children in these horrible situations deserve to be rescued by any decent person/couple who will take them, and loving gay couples, who cannot have their own children, have taken in formerly abused children.

    • Jackalope_Red

      In the most traditional of traditonal families she would not had been severely abused. Also, same sex cohabitors aren’t immune from being abusive.

    • Bono95

      I am very sorry to hear about what happened to that poor young woman, but like Patricia said, her case is an exception, not the rule. In real, true, traditional, Christian, and Catholic marriage/family life, nobody (father/husband, mother/wife, son, or daughter), repeat NOBODY, is made a slave or abused in any way. This is also the norm for marriages that are not Catholic or Christian but are traditional and heterosexual, but it is only in faithfully Christian and Catholic marriages that these ideals are most fully reached.

      Again, what happened to your friend was terrible and should never have happened, but placing her with a homosexual couple would not necessarily have been the best solution. If her family life was as bad as you say, her condition would have been just as much if not far more greatly improved by placing her with a heterosexual couple or family rather than a same-sex one.

      • Frank Lozera

        Bono95, for what it’s worth, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not agree with your assessment that this child’s fortunes would have been improved by placing her with a heterosexual couple.

        • tom

          Frank, sorry to say but the AMA, the APA and the AAP are POLITICAL organizations. Looking to a politicial organization for ethical answers is like inviting a Nazi over for your seder.

          • Frank Lozera

            Tom, the last I heard, the AMA, the APA, and the AAP were associations of medical professionals. It would be hard to name a professional association that does not try to influence public opinion. This is one of their reasons for associating, and it is a perfectly legitimate activity. I’m sure you would not object if they had declared themselves AGAINST same-sex parenting.

            • Bono95

              I would not object if they were against same-sex parenting, and I’m sure Tom wouldn’t either, but we would not be accepting their word just because they said so. We would be agreeing with them because they would be in harmony with the Church and the Natural Law in that case. As it is, they are standing against the Church and Natural Law without any rational or reasonable scientific basis for doing so, so Tom, myself, and all our fellow faithful Catholics reject their groundless false claims.

        • Bono95

          I never guaranteed improvement, but if her family life was as bad as Caroline described, it would be very difficult to find a heterosexual couple that would treat her worse. And no, a same-sex couple wouldn’t necessarily treat her worse either, but she would be best off with a heterosexual couple who knew her well (relatives or good family friends) and who would only do what’s best for her.

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

    As you say, this is not a new concept but something that has been long in the making. There is one point that is implicit here and that is that society has long since abandoned the idea of imposing the rules of the church on the population as a matter of policy. I know it is shocking to realize that the Church has lost its authority to dictate morality in the public sphere but that is exactly what each of the examples of the author’s “new marriage” entail. Each of those prior rigid rules was imposed by religion. As people decide to reject religion it is natural that they reject those rules. You can’t expect someone to follow the ideal of chastity until marriage and lifetime fidelity without a solid foundation of faith in the entirety of Catholicism. As much as many religious individuals, as I have seen in both the comments and articles here, would like to turn back time, it doesn’t seem likely.

    • Objectivetruth

      ………but not all people will reject or abandon religion. If the Catholic Church’s claims on the fullness of the Truth of not only Christ’s teachings but also of the book of nature and it’s laws is valid, it will eventually win the day. We in our society always look at things myopically. The slide into the sexual morality mess we have in this country did have its roots in the Anglican Council of Lambeth’s 1930 opening the door to contraception. This has cascaded to the divorce, contraception, pornography, gay marriage world we live in today. But because such cultural activities are such an affront the natural law, they can not sustain themselves. This Godless securalization will have its run for a century or so, but there will still be that nagging, empty, always wanting feeling within man saying “there is something better.” that man will then pull a dusty Catechism off of the shelf and start reading. He will find in his reading the peace and joy that fills his very nature that, porn, gay marriage, and contraception never can fill.

      We’ve seen this before where societies abandon God for another ideology that ignores the deity whispering softly in man’s heart. While in the last 2000 years such Godless societies from the Roman Empire, Naziism, Communism have had their brief moment in history, so will our atheistic, secular society. And Christ and His Catholic Church will be here, as it has for 2000 years, with loving arms to embrace the prodigal sons looking to come home.

    • Bono95

      You’re right that time can’t be turned back, and that’s a good thing because there is plenty of bad stuff in the past and there will only be more added as the present passes. But what can and should be done is for everyone, Catholic and otherwise, to study the past and use the knowledge gained thereby to fix up the present and achieve a brighter future. We ought to study past evils in order to recognize them and avoid repeating them when we can or learn how to fix them when we can’t, and we should study past good things in order to see just how good and beneficial they are and learn how to strengthen or restore them in this day and age and in days and ages yet to arrive. We should never live in the past, but we should always learn from it.

      • tom

        Avoiding America’s “unjust wars” would be a good start. The popes say the wars are wrong, and our bishops become mute. They should be advising Catholics about “conscientious objection” to unjust wars. Murdering other “peoples of the book” isn’t getting us anywhere.

    • tom

      The Church has to become more supporting of well…er….fellow Catholics! Help educate actual Catholics, not Baptists; give job opportunities to Catholics, along with “scholarships”; and toss the “personally opposed” pols(D) out of the Church, while there’s still a Faith to throw them out of.

      • Frank Lozera

        Well, Tom, this exclusionary and sectarian approach is not going to work any better than it has worked in the past. You may work only with Catholics, but Catholics are not working only with you. They are out there in the secular society, being ideologically promiscuous. They’re picking up new ideas, new values, new perspectives, faster than you can possibly counteract them. You cannot bring Catholics back into the fold any longer. The sheep are out of the pen. What held everything together in the past was the fear of eternal damnation, but no one seriously believes in that any longer, and the eye of God has been replaced by the ubiquitous surveillance camera and iPod video. This was demonstrated just this week following the Boston bombings. The community now has other ways of watching; it doesn’t need the all-seeing eye of God.

        • tom

          Works for Mormons, Jews and Muslims, Frank. Worth a look-see, I say. providing an education to a girl who goes to AME church with her single mom and becomes a single mom not attending any church seems like a prolonged Lost Weekend for our missionary zeal. Christ had dinner with his apostles, not a dozen atheists. there could be a message in that.

        • Bono95

          The Boston bombing is graphic proof FOR the need people have for God, not against it. Tragedies like these happen when people forget that God’s there or deliberately ignore him.

          • Frank Lozera

            Bono95, I strongly suspect that the two brothers may have gotten mixed up with Islamicists when they were abroad. And what makes you think they were atheists?

            • Bono95

              I do not think the brothers were atheists, but I do think they were spurred on by our atheistic culture. Without the knowledge of a good Christian God, they wandered lost and desperate and were picked up by Islam with its vengeful, harsh caricature of the true God because whether or not they realized it, their hearts and souls were so desperately hungry for any standard of truth and morals that they freely accepted Islam’s severely flawed standards because those happened to be what they first encountered and they were sick of drifting. If more people believed in and tried to follow the true God of Christianity/Catholicism, tragedies and evil would not disappear, but they would be rarer because then more people would understand the value of human life and the serious consequences of all actions, both good and bad.

              • Frank Lozera

                Bono95, being non-religious does not necessarily mean “wandering lost and desperate.” And anyway, I have been atheist all my life and never once thought of planting a bomb in a crowded street.

                • Bono95

                  I never said you did, and the brothers did their deed after tangling with radical Islam. But don’t think that makes religion evil. That just means they fell in with the wrong kind of faith. The Catholic Church strongly opposes senseless violence and mandates that just war/self defense must be achieved with as little violence as possible.

  • Tienne McKenzie

    Thank you for this excellent article! I have been so frustrated by the plethora of discussion that misses the real point: Actual Real Traditional Marriage as defined by God (and articulated fully by the Catholic Church) is humanity’s best hope for its future. Everything that has diminished it, of which gay marriage is but the latest in a long line of adjustments, is as harmful as any other (in fact, I’d argue no-fault divorce is worse than gay marriage because of the disruption to the family.) Makes me proud to belong to one of the only institutions that has consistently and loudly objected to every diminishment of Marriage while still opening its doors to those who have made bad choices and desire the communion of sinners and forgiveness that God offers to us.

  • http://twitter.com/waywardson23 James

    “In general most people nowadays subscribe to New Marriage, often without
    consciously realizing it, or ever being aware there ever was any other
    kind.”

    I am in my early 30s.

    I had no idea there was any other kind of marriage until I heard some people at Church talking about how different marriage was when they were younger.

    The big difference is that marriage was once seen as the beginning of the relationship. It was something two young people committed to for the purposes of building a new family.

    Now, marriage is seen as a “capstone” achievement of a dating relationship that has lasted. It has nothing to do with children, either way, except for some vague notion that you “should” be married before you have them.

    And if your marriage doesn’t make you happy, you leave it! And it’s not just abusive cases or two people who have married in haste and quickly realized the mistake. It’s people with children who are looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Since children are irrelevant to a marriage, nobody sticks together for the sake of the kids anymore.

    If you want to know why 80% of young people support gay marriage, it’s because 80% of them have a view of marriage that is not incompatible with it.

  • Ford Oxaal

    American Catholics can breed their way to a virtuous society in three generations — what I call Catholic Darwinism. This will require the Holy Spirit setting the American bishops on fire with a holy zeal — abandoning “Catholic, Inc.” if need be.

    • tom

      …and Catholic women just having kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcy-Wollard/100002973111950 Marcy Wollard

    I recently finished reading William May’s “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right” http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Marriage-Conversation-Right-Effective/dp/1937155803 which deals with really defining marriage. In it he helps show how to talk to others about this topic and one of the main points I found helpful is to know that marriage is the only institution that connects a child with his/her own mother and father, without that a society will be highly damaged. But also that we need to teach young people that they need to see marriage for what it is and promote it. There is a very fast tyranny going on of free speech to make it impossible to even speak about marriage being between 1 man and 1 woman, but we must do so or our youth will never know the joys of real marriage and there children certainly won’t either.

    • Frank Lozera

      Marcy, I realize it is wonderful for a child to be with his or her own mother and father, but what if there has been a divorce or a death? What if the child has been placed in foster care? You seem to be making the perfect the enemy of the good. What provision would you make for children of lesbians whose husbands have divorced them? Should those lesbians give up their children? Or should we encourage those lesbians to find life partners of their own gender to help raise their children? And if we do encourage that solution, which is the only pragmatic one, then why would we want to withhold from them the right to marry and leave the margins of society? Marriage makes people less vulnerable, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that the child’s best interests are served when the parents are married and can receive various tax and other benefits from the federal government. This is good for their families. It’s good for the children. What other solutions would you propose?

      It’s sometimes a messy world. Young people make bad decisions in choice of a mate. Divorces happen. People die. Children go into foster care, or they are raised by a single parent.

      The question is, “How do you deal with all these contingencies? You can’t just close you eyes and wish they would go away. They’re not going to.

      Your insistence on an ideal of children raised by their biological mothers and fathers ignores a lot of gritty reality.

      • Bono95

        If I knew a lesbian who’d been abandoned by her husband, I would pray for her, help her out however I could (preparing dinners, babysitting, helping to pay expenses, etc.), alert her family, friends, and church or other religious organization to the situation and recruit their help. However, I would not encourage her to find a lesbian partner. Doing so would cause her to kill her soul and that of her partner (and my own) with mortal sin, possibly cause the death of both women’s bodies through AIDS or other STDs, and certainly make things more painful for the child/children if the mother gave up lesbianism with or without her partner doing likewise, cause gender identity confusion for the child/children and all its attendant issues, expose the child/children to the possibility of abuse by the non-biological parent, or leave the child/children orphan(s) if mother and partner did die. So instead of encouraging the mother to embrace lesbianism, I would, besides doing the things I mentioned above to help, refer her to an organization like Courage to help her to properly deal with her homosexual inclinations. You can’t heal one sin (husband abandoning family) by encouraging or actively taking part in any number of others (sodomy, etc). That only makes already bad situations worse.

        • Frank Lozera

          Bono95, your comment is mythological from start to finish. To begin with, here’s something from the Centers for Disease Control about HIV/AIDS among lesbians:

          “To date, there are no confirmed cases of female-to-female sexual transmission of HIV in the United States database (K. McDavid, CDC, oral communication, March 2005). … A study of more than 1 million female blood donors found no HIV-infected women whose only risk factor was sex with women.”

          Finding a lesbian partner will cause her to kill her soul with mortal sin? No. Only if she’s Catholic and believes that stuff.

          Lesbian couples cause gender identity confusion in children they raise? No. There’s no evidence of that. The American Academy of Pediatrics says everything is okay. Not to worry.

          Abuse by a surviving non-biological parent? There’s no reason to think that would happen any more than where the parents are male and female.

          • Bono95

            Mortal sin kills the soul of any person who knows that they are engaging in something seriously wrong and who gives full consent to it.

            And I didn’t say the lesbian partner abusing the child was a given, I said it was a possible bad consequence of a bad decision.

            And maybe there is as yet no evidence for lesbianism causing HIV or gender identity issues, but that evidence could be right around the corner or already here but got missed or willfully ignored. How many terminally ill women and severely confused children are needed to count as hard evidence?

            • Frank Lozera

              Yeah, lesbianism causing HIV or gender identity issues could be “just around the corner.” Ho-hum. How long do we have to wait? Maybe there are other more PRESSING issues, like violence against women?

              • Bono95

                “Violence Against Women” is a very broad and largely undefined term, but it includes lesbian HIV cases and female gender identity issues, even if none have yet been documented. If none of those things have happened yet, then we should work to keep them from happening by not encouraging lesbianism, and if any have happened, we should attend to the victims’ needs while seeing to it the the deeds that caused them are prevented from happening again, and this also means not encouraging in lesbianism. Lesbianism is not guaranteed to cause child abuse, rape (which I’m not sure is really possible in females), some other sort of sexual harrassment, gender identity issues, child custody problems, HIV, other STDs, suicide, or substance abuse, but it very much increases the chances of one or more of these things occurring, and each alone is form of violence against women. You can’t stop violence while encouraging the root cause of it. You have to get rid of the root too (or better, get rid of the root first), whether that root is lesbianism, heterosexual abuse, murder, negligence, malpractice, or what have you. It’s like clearing away dandelions. If you just tear away the leaves and flowers, they’ll still grow back. You have to dig out the root too.

                • Frank Lozera

                  Bono95. First of all, let’s be absolutely clear that lesbianism does not “cause” domestic violence any more than heterosexuality does. Neither does it cause any of the other harms that you listed. It doesn’t even increase their chances. The National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center (St. Louis, Missouri) reports that violence against women in lesbian relationships is no more common than in heterosexual ones.

                  Worldwide, virtually all of the following types of violence against women are perpetrated by men: acid throwing, bride burning, dating abuse, domestic violence, dowry death, honor killing, female genital mutilation (FGM), food binding, forced abortion, forced pregnancy, forced prostitution, human trafficking, marital rape, murder of pregnant women, war rape, sexual slavery.

                  I couldn’t find a comparable list of violent acts perpetrated by women against men, and certainly no acts that elicit approval from other women. (Many of those in my list are approved by other men, however.)

                  One of your sentences was very telling. You wrote, “You have to get rid of the root [of violence], whether that root is lesbianism, heterosexual abuse, murder, negligence malpractice, or what have you.”

                  Do you see what you did? I’ll help you. Only one item on your list of “root causes” is a sexual orientation, i.e., homosexuality (lesbianism). But you did not mention heterosexuality as a root cause of violence. Instead, you used “heterosexual” as a modifier for “abuse.”

                  You appear to think, contrary to what you said earlier in the paragraph, that lesbianism “causes” violence, but you do not think heterosexuality causes violence. (How forgiving of your own sexual orientation!)

                  Also, you claim that violence against women is caused by abuse (that’s circular), murder (circular, again), negligence (yep, circular), and malpractice (circular). It’s like saying, “violence causes violence.” So, when there’s violence between lesbians, it’s because they’re lesbians, but when there’s violence between men and women, it’s because they’re being violent. On the one hand, you’ve named an identity as the culprit (like “Catholic,” “Jew,” African-American”), and on the other, you’ve named behaviors.

                  This is the way prejudice works. It worked that way against the Jews, and then against African-Americans, and it has also happened that way against Catholics and Protestants and other Christian groups.

                  Your bad behaviors result from your identity. That’s the myth that allows you to libel an entire class of people, and it’s the same myth that allows them to libel you. If you are diseased, it is because you’re a Catholic. If you beat your wife, it is because you are heterosexual. If you abuse your children, it is because you are Jewish.

                  • Frank Lozera

                    “food binding” should have been “foot binding,” as formerly practiced in China.

                  • Bono95

                    Mr. Lozera, I am very sorry for misstating my case. I thought out my post as I went and didn’t spend much time proofreading. It was not my intention to make sexual orientation the root of evil and violence, which it isn’t. Attraction and orientation, both heterosexual and homosexual, are not sinful, but certain acts that stem from either attraction or orientation are sinful and sometimes violent.

                    You’re right that lesbianism doesn’t necessarily increase the chances of a woman being abused, but whatever else it does or does not do, it is a state of sin and a violation of the natural order, and on those grounds alone it should be discouraged. God intended women to either give themselves in marriage to 1 man, to become a celibate nun or sister, or to remain a consecrated lay virgin. The implicit purpose of marriage is procreation, and that is not possible with 2 women. Only a man and a woman can procreate.

                    And, yes, we should certainly work to end violence against women wherever we encounter it, but we should also work to stop violence against children and men too. Ever notice how rarely you hear of anyone campaigning to end violence against non-women?

                    • Bono95

                      And I should have said this much sooner, but I oppose gay marriage not because I hate gays, but because I love them. And because I love them, I do not want to be an agent in killing their souls through mortal sin, breaking their hearts through myriads of break-ups, increasing their risk of alcohol and substance abuse, creating child custody and gender identity problems, increasing their chances for contracting any of a number of diseases, many of which have no known or complete medical cure and that usually result in slow, painful death, or in sending their souls to hell if they die in a state of mortal sin caused by my approving of a dangerously sinful lifestyle.
                      Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike are called to be chaste, and the Catholic Church has founded and backed several outreach programs like Courage which help men and women with SSA to live chastely and has been among the foremost in institutions that help to take care of AIDS victims. The Church has even named St. Therese of the Child Jesus the patron saint of AIDS patients and their caregivers. There is no official patron saint for people who struggle with SSA, but a good candidate would be St. Charles Lwanga and his companions, African martyrs who were killed for resisting their king’s homosexual advances.
                      The Catholic Church condemns sodomy because its mission is to bring souls to be with God in Heaven and sodomy is a big barrier to that purpose. That is why it teaches that sodomy is wrong, but is also most willing to forgive and help anyone who repents of committing any homosexual acts.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, why would gay marriage be worse than a state of affairs in which gays can’t marry? And why do you think marriage increases the risk of alcohol and substance abuse and contraction of diseases? That’s a bizarre line of reasoning. Aren’t you confusing marriage with promiscuity? Marriage is a commitment to monogamy and mutual support. In what way does it entail a “higher” risk of these harms?

                      I’m not asking you to approve of gay marriage. I’m just pointing out to you that your arguments are not very effective. They are basically just Gen 1 arguments that have now spent their force. We’re in Gen 3 now, and the “sin and damnation” spiel plays only to certain Catholics. The sodomy objection has been shot full of holes. (Straight married couples commit sodomy, or non-vaginal sex, about as much as gays do.)

                      So, I don’t know whether you are interested in addressing folks in the secular world, but if you seriously want to undermine gay marriage, you may have to find some good strong pragmatic reasons why it is harmful. And I don’t think you can do that.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, you are certainly free to discourage lesbianism on the grounds that it is putatively a state of sin and a violation of the natural order. But that tack isn’t likely to catch much wind outside conservative Catholic circles. How would you propose to discourage lesbianism if your audience doesn’t follow Catholic teaching? Imagine if you’re speaking to a group of young people in a secular setting. What would you say to them about lesbianism, other than that you believe it is a state of sin?

                    • Bono95

                      If I was speaking to secular group of young people on the dangers of lesbianism, my case would run something like this.

                      I would explain that lesbianism is not so much a rejection of men and masculinity (though this is often at least a small factor), as it is a rejection of true womanhood and femininity. It implicitly sends the message that the design of women’s bodies as physically complementary to men’s is somehow bad or degrading. The irony of lesbianism and feminism in general is that while both movements claim that women are equal or superior to men, they work at the same time towards masculinizing women and emasculating men.

                      I know you said that so far no cases of AIDS or other STDs have been traced to female homosexual intercourse, but I would give a brief explanation of some of these diseases and point out that adultery in all forms greatly increases one’s risk of developing them. Even if what you said is true (and I admit I can’t prove that it isn’t) lesbianism is only safer then other types of adultery in the same way that smoking cigarettes is safer than jumping into a volcano.

                      Finally, I would point out that marriage since the beginning of time has nearly always been between man and woman, and that most cultures have utterly condemned homosexuality or only tolerated certain limited types. The ancient Greeks allowed older men to have gay relationships with young men, but only for a short time. The young man was later expected to marry a woman and have children. Gay marriage was unheard of. Historically, people with SSA have never made up a significant part of any population. Even today the worldwide number of gays can’t be more than 5% of the total population. The allowing or condoning of homosexuality like there was in the last days of the Roman Empire very often is one of the hallmarks of a dying civilization, which does not bode well for America right now.

                      In the end, then, these are the secular arguments against lesbianism that I would use. They wouldn’t always work on everybody, of course, but if even just 1 person was convinced by these or other arguments, that would be totally worth the effort.

                    • Frank Lozera

                      Bono95, there’s only one little problem with your theory about lesbianism: It is premised on the now-discredited notion that sexual orientation is chosen. This is a Gen 1 argument that no one any longer seriously advances. There’s no scientific support for it. It’s pseudo-science, folk wisdom. All the major scientific organizations have been trying to educate the public about this for years, but apparently without as much success as one would like. Sexual orientation is not chosen. It is biologically determined. So you cannot credibly claim that lesbianism is a “rejection of men,” except insofar as that “rejection” is a lack of sexual attraction.

                      Adultery: by which I assume you mean promiscuity: Yes, promiscuity increases chances of contracting diseases. That is why we are advocating for committed, monogamous marriage, which is the opposite of promiscuity.

                      Look, Bono95, I have been in a monogamous relationship with another man for 13 years and we have not been promiscuous, either of us. We will soon be married in the presence of our friends and family. Please think carefully and tell me what is not to like about this?

                      About your “tradition” argument: Be careful about using it around educated audiences, because they will walk out on you. Many things, including slavery and racial segregation, have been justified in the name of tradition.

                      OK, you would be satisfied with having persuaded a single person with these arguments. Go for it.

  • Charlie Smith

    Great article. Catholics have to revise our annulment qualifications. We have to insist engaged couples to reject co-habitation and attend Sunday mass for 6 months prior to their wedding and show knowledge and assent to Church teachings. No more church weddings for “cultural catholics”. Show the secular world we really believe marriage is a Sacrament.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    With annulments running at 60,000 a year, it is a curious fact, though true, that there must always be a considerable number of Catholics who could not say off-hand whether they were married or not. It is only when the question has been decided by a marriage tribunal that their doubts can be removed. But although they do not know if they are married, and no one could tell them with certainty till their case has been heard, it is nevertheless true that they must be either one or the other. There is no half-way house.

  • Scott

    This is only part of the issue. In the U.S. there is a sepration of Church and State. So whether this is “Catholic Marriage” or not is irrelevant. What needs to be defended (and is not done effectively) is why Traditional Marriage is suitable as a PUBLIC institution. If it is just a sacrament than it needs to be kept private and just in the Church (Like baptism). What needs to be shown is that it is in the best interest of the PUBLIC that People have children and sex only with Public approval (Traditional Secular Marriage). I think that there is a rational and reasonable case to be made for this. As it is best for society to procreate children only when the parents are committed to raising them. However, I am not sure that a reasonable and/or rational case is enough to convince people. Hence, we are where we are.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Treasa.Hynes Treasa Hynes

    Can I post this on my blog? Pleeez?

    • jjalsevac

      I’m the author, and yes, you may. I want it to go as far as possible.

  • sibyl

    This is exactly right. Planning on sending this one around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.schramm.5 Derek Schramm

    In states where constitutional amendments lost in 2012, I think many divorced adults went to the other side because the gay lobby taunted them and called them hypocritical if they had an opinion favorable towards traditional marriage, but I don’t believe the Church helped by repetitive inclusions of statements against divorce along with the appeals to vote for amendments to define marriage as one man and one woman. While it is consistent to warn against divorce and gay marriage, I think we lost some support from the divorced.

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  • Frank Lozera

    John, I believe you’ve presented a false choice between marriage as “outward-looking and objective” on the one hand, and “inward-looking and subjective,” on the other. Why couldn’t a marriage, with or without children, look both outward and inward? Why couldn’t it include both family formation—including child-rearing—and sexual intimacy, companionship, and the self-actualization of the couple? Marriages may last as long as 60 years or more, during which only 20 years or so are dedicated to child-raising.

    You describe the marriage vows for these two marriage modes as “permanent” and “temporary,” respectively, but few couples ever expect to break the vows they’ve made to form a life-long commitment. Sometimes marital situations become intolerable, in which case everyone’s interests (including children’s) may be best served by breaking up and getting a fresh start. And I am talking about ordinary people here, not Hollywood celebrities who stay on the covers of People Magazine and the tabloids by engaging in serial polygamy.

    In several ways, your list of “certain, solid, objective” facts about the foundations of marriage is not so solid.

    First, as a gay man about to be married, I can assure you that I feel absolutely no “biological and psychological complementarity” with any woman. Else I would not be marrying a man. “Biology” is not just about organs; it is also about the chemistry of the body.

    Second, the solemn public vow need not be made before God. Instead, many people make that vow before their community. Non-theists do marry, you know, and their marriages are not inherently less stables than those of theists.

    Third, civil law (at least in the U.S.) does not require procreation in marriage, so you are speaking to Catholics.

    Fourth, the consensus of pediatric professionals is that children raised by same-sex parents fare no worse than children raised by a mother and a father.

    One thing you got right is that “healthy, stable families are the necessary foundation of a healthy, stable society.” So why would you not encourage the formation of healthy, stable families by gay men and lesbians? Most people need and want sexual intimacy, companionship, and self-actualization—all within the framework of life-long commitment. Psychologists everywhere agree that these goods are in fact necessary for healthy living. The alternatives are loneliness, social marginalization, low self-esteem, and often promiscuity and other self-destructive behaviors. Is this what you prefer?

    In listing the statistics about cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, single-parent homes, and divorce—all of which are clearly social problems that could be remedied by a greater commitment to the institution of marriage—you neglected to mention the problems faced by gay men and lesbians who are DENIED the right to marry.

    How can you disapprove of both single-parent homes AND same-sex marriage, which would bring help to overburdened single parents?

    How can you disapprove of both cohabitation AND same-sex marriage, which would allow gay men and lesbians to commit to each other in ceremonies that have the full recognition of the state?

    Maybe your challenge is not so much to “roll back” the sexual revolution but to recognize that new and better syntheses are ready to occur. The way forward is not the way back.

    We (gays) are working to get our act together. What about you? Maybe opposing same-sex marriage is not where you should be directing your efforts.

    • LGBT

      Lesbian Activist’s Surprisingly Candid Speech: Gay Marriage Fight Is a ‘Lie’ to Destroy Marriage:http://www.theblaze.com/storie

    • http://www.facebook.com/andymacop Andrew Mark McAlpin

      Not one of these arguments convinces me that the redefinition of marriage for the entire populace is correct. Again and again we have argued that marriage is the bedrock of culture and society that produces the next generation of citizens. Married life protects the children and guarantees their rights and assumes the long-held reality that children have a natural right to know and be raised by their natural parents. Now we have made law based on the exception, and solely on the feelings one person has for another, thus removing children from the equation all together.

      Your commendable idea that you are working to get your act together as a group is being thwarted by the lack of sensitivity to those who hold marriage as a sacred unchangeable bond, and if getting your act together looks anything like a Fulton Street festival or any number of Pride Parades, I fear the battle you are fighting is lost. Seriously, I am not trying to be jerk, I am making an observation that should not be ignored.

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  • LGBT

    Lesbian Activist’s Surprisingly Candid Speech: Gay Marriage Fight Is a ‘Lie’ to Destroy Marriage:http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/04/29/lesbian-activists-surprisingly-candid-speech-gay-marriage-fight-is-a-lie-to-destroy-marriage/

  • tony chan

    You’re a good writer but a bad thinker. You’re notion of traditional marriage being a “solemn public vow made before God” is a silly example of asking the serious search for God to have stopped in the 12th century, as if, we knew it all then and should stop thinking. We didn’t know it all then. “God” has become more than a superman with a white beard, who lives in a golden city somewhere .Oh, yes, and this “superman has all the petty foibles of human beings. Humans forming groups can make life and the world better. what makes it worse is when those groups become heady with their confidence in being ‘special.”

    CAtholics are not special. I should know, I’m a Catholic and my, as well as anyone’s grasp of the ultimate cosmic force, can be as good as any Pope’s. That only requires simplifying not continuing to construct libraries full of logic the ultimate result of which is to tell other people what to do and, dammit, burn them if they don’t submit or at least when secularist’s craft Jesus’ message better than religionists, (for example, “All men are created equal”) fall back on scaring them to death. The only thing scary is what religion has become, various arrogant stabs at claiming to know it all.

    Why would anyone seriously trying to love his neighbor as himself be anything but supportive of humans coming together for their mutual happiness and support. Real love would have long ago crafted an avenue for partnering that received all the benefits society showers on heterosexual marriage. But you never came out of the woodwork until gays and lesbians crafted that avenue for themselves.
    You wont succeed. Not because we are so good but because you are so petty.
    tony chan

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