Obergefell and the New Homophiles

The New Homophiles were largely silent post-Obergefell and the few published responses were disappointing for anyone who believes the same-sex “marriage” decision was anything more than ho-hum.

The New Homophiles are a school of writers who identify as same-sex attracted but still remain faithful to Church teaching on sexual ethics and are otherwise known as “gay and celibate.” They are campaigning for greater acceptance of Catholics (and other Christians) who are openly gay.

One would think that the imposition on the country of a coupling they find objectionable would have drawn more and stronger responses. But reading them, you get the sense that they are, like their secular gay friends, rather enjoying pro-family advocates taking it in the chops.

Of the numerous writers at their blog Spiritual Friendship, only Wesley Hill posted on Obergefell. Melinda Selmys wrote at Patheos. And Eve Tushnet published at something called Respectful Conversation.

None of them roused themselves to show even the slightest consternation that the Supreme Court lawlessly imposed same-sex “marriage” on the country. None of them thought this would usher in any problems in the United States. None of them mentioned any harms at all that may come from this ruling. While they made clear they disagree with the underlying issue, their writings were at least a little bit celebratory.

Wesley Hill agreed that he was “moved by many of the scenes yesterday of gay people getting married…. I hope many American gays and lesbians choose marriage over promiscuity, and I hope those who marry stay married, and flourish.”

He was moved because until Obergefell, the only options for gays were limited to being ostracized in Church without any meaningful same-sex closeness of any kind or being in a romantic relationship with a partner of the same-sex.

Not open to gays was a Christian community that holds celibacy in high esteem along with deep spiritual same-sex friendships, service and hospitality. Absent this, many turned to being in a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.

He says gays have been disowned, betrayed, exposed, threatened, told they were destroying the church and that their desires were Satanically destructive. He says such ill treatment has led many people to depart from the Christian picture of marriage.

Hill goes on to talk about the “weepy chills” he gets when seeing “gay culture” at its best. Moreover, he says when the history of our time is written it will recognize gay couples as rediscovering and teaching us some important things about the virtues of friendship, “things we’d forgotten in our fixation on heterosexual romantic love….”

Eve Tushnet is much taken by the philosopher king Anthony Kennedy, that

“Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there” and that “[gay couples’] hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.”

She says, “Because the Catholic Church does not perform same-sex marriage, I’ve been more or less forced to explore these other forms of love,” that is, friendship and service. She believes such friendships can be vowed and even recognized by the Church and that they would not be “marriage lite, marriage minus (X)”, but “as real as marriage.”

Given that one of the main concerns in same-sex “marriage” is the question of the rights of children, it is surprising that Tushnet’s mentions children only twice; once in terms of encouraging their vocation to help the poor, and then this rather odd sentence, “Families have been torn apart and children have seen their parents separate because a pastor didn’t believe that a woman could be called by God to love and care for anther woman.” I confess I don’t even know what this means.

Melinda Selmys, who describes herself as “queer” though she is married to a man and has several children, says the battle over same-sex “marriage” was lost a long long time ago and not with the rather recent Sexual Revolution but with the incorporation of ancient concubinage—that is, sex for fun like the Romans had—into marriage-for-children-only.

She says the combination of the two—fun sex and children—in a single relationship is “a very high bar” only achievable by the “highly motivated” and that while the commitment can last “mutual desire and erotic desire does [sic] not.” Since the two cannot last together, relationships have been bifurcated and the bifurcation is widely, almost universally, accepted, and the Supreme Court decided in favor of erotic love. It was inevitable. Got that?

In a second post Selmys mocks the concerns of Christians over questions of religious freedom. She says in Canada, “…no one has been dragged off and fed to the lions” and that no Catholic priest has been forced into performing gay marriages. The worst that has happened are Catholic schools being forced to allow gay-straight alliances and letting gay kids take gay dates to prom and accommodating the needs of transgender kids. She says this is hardly “7 trumpets blowing, 7 scrolls unfurling, moon turning to blood type stuff.” Well, no, but why is Selmys so indifferent to the Canadian government telling the Church how to practice and teach the faith? What’s more, as bad as these are, they are hardly the worst things gay marriage has brought to Canada.

She goes on to suggest that the battle against same-sex “marriage” is unjust and that the Church has a sad history of fighting losing and harmful political battles. Just look at—wait for it—the Crusades and the Inquisition!

I cannot find that Ron Belgau, Spiritual Friendship co-founder, wrote about the Obergefell decision, but he wrote a few weeks before that neither same-sex “marriage” nor homosexual sodomy can be blamed for the general degradation of marriage. Given that homosexual sodomy is quite rare—there are not that many receptive gay bottoms after all—and that same-sex “marriage” has barely arrived, he is certainly correct that no-fault divorce has been much more harmful to marriage and children.

He oddly says traditionalists “had until recently put most of their energy into defending laws punishing homosexual sodomy.” I know of no group that has spent any time trying to overturn Lawrence v Texas, the Supreme Court decision that made homosexual sodomy a constitutional right, and I know of no group that worked for a greater enforcement of the largely ignored laws against homosexual sodomy that Lawrence struck down. Pro-family groups have worked on spreading the word about the harm caused by homosexual behavior, something Belgau, his friends, and even the medical establishment seem reluctant to do.

And he is wrong in suggesting that traditionalists have not worked on these other more harmful issues. Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, for instance, led the fight in Louisiana for “covenant marriage,” which takes away no-fault divorce. These kinds of efforts may have continued if same-sex “marriage” had not reared its ugly head. I hope they will now continue, along with efforts to overturn Obergefell.

The New Homophiles’ response to the Obergefellian disaster to our country and the Church has been sparse and almost completely disappointing.

You would have thought that at least one of them would bemoan the majority’s manhandling of the Constitution or even one might mourn the redefinition of marriage that can only lead to newer and crazier couplings and even throuplings. Could it be they are more interested in keeping their gay membership in good standing than to be seen making common arguments with the likes of “traditionalists”?

You really do get the feeling they are at least a little bit pleased with Obergefell, though they recognize same-sex “marriage” is not for them, but pleased enormously that “traditionalists” were handed such a devastating loss.

In the end, the New Homophiles continue to puzzle.

Editor’s note: In the image above are pictured (from left to right) Eve Tushnet, Wesley Hill and Melinda Selmys.

Austin Ruse

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Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

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