Why Same-Sex “Marriage” Arguments are So Terrible

On April 28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether same-sex “marriage” should be legal in every state. As articulated by Justice Kennedy, gay and lesbians have a powerful motivation for their claim, namely, human dignity: “Same-sex couples say, of course, we understand the nobility and the sacredness of the marriage. We know we can’t procreate but we want the other attributes of it in order to show that we, too, have a dignity that can be fulfilled.”

Those with a high regard for marriage likely resonate with an intuitive sense of its worth. But intuitions need unpacking if they are to become the basis of law, particularly if undoing millennia of culture. Justice Kennedy soberly acknowledges this, noting that the traditional “definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the Court to say, oh well, we know better.”

Given the seriousness of the question, a precise understanding of what we are redefining seems warranted. What are these specific attributes of marriage that render it noble and sacred, so much so that dignity is fulfilled and conferred by entering into the married state? What makes marriage valuable in such an exalted way?

The Court heard various claims drawn from the social sciences about the well-being of children raised by same-sex parents and other possible implications on the social fabric of society. About those, however, Justice Kennedy expressed some skepticism, articulating that “we should not consult at all the social science on this, because it’s too new,” and given the fragility of our knowledge, “it’s only fair for us to say, well, we’re not going to consult social science.”

Altering an institution rooted in many ages of human experience while acknowledging our ignorance of the effects is a serious thing. The change is so large, the risks so unknown, that the normal presumption against instability would need to be overcome by a reason of grave weight and clarity. Namely, that human dignity is fulfilled when persons have access to the noble and sacred attributes of marriage.

Now, if marriage fulfills human dignity while possessing nobility and sacredness, it makes sense that merely utilitarian calculations about the consequences of gay marriage clearly fall in importance. Not irrelevant, but not as vital as determining precisely those “other attributes,” to use Justice Kennedy’s terms, which bestow dignity and nobility.

This seems to push us in the direction articulated by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George, namely, that one cannot make claims about the nobility and sacredness of marriage until one has defined what marriage is. How can we argue that marriage is noble until we know what marriage is? Further, if examining the nature of marriage, it is quite fair to ask whether there is a better definition available than the conjugal view—a union of one man and one woman in a permanent and exclusive commitment naturally fulfilled by bearing and rearing children. To put it starkly, the various revisionist views postulating marriage as some sort of romantic commitment enhanced by sexual intimacy not only fail to define marriage but woefully fail to account for those mysterious “other attributes” by which to defend nobility and sacredness.

Consider the argument offered to the Court by Donald Verrilli, the Solicitor General of the United States. Marriage, he claims, involves something more fundamental than tax benefits and hospital visitation, for marriage is “an enduring bond between two people.”

Yes, marriage is an enduring bond, but not all enduring bonds are marriages, nor are all enduring bonds fulfillments of human dignity (consider a crime family). Are Tom and Sue, who’ve lived together for 20 years, share finances, care for each other when ill, and love each other deeply married? They share an enduring bond, even one shaping their lives, commitments, and self-interpretation. But what if they are merely roommates, a brother and sister, a mother and son? Further, why should such an enduring bond be limited, as General Verrilli claims, to merely two people—why not three or four in an enduring bond?

When asked that very question by Justice Alito, Mary Bonauto, an attorney arguing in favor of same-sex marriage, responded, first, that “multiple people joining into a relationship … is not the same thing we’ve had in marriage, which is … the mutual support and consent of two people.” That response is nonsense, of course, for not only does it avoid the question of why there could not be a marriage of four, but it neglects to mention that what “we’ve had in marriage” is not the mutual support and consent of two persons but the mutual support and consent of two other sexed persons. If the nature of the institution as it has been understood for millennia is a guiding principle, then her claim self-refutes, but if the nature of the institution as practiced from time immemorial is not a guiding or binding principle—which her support of same-sex “marriage” quite obviously requires—then she’s provided no reason against a marriage of four. But she can’t have it both ways, appealing to the tradition to explain why only two while rejecting the tradition to explain why it needn’t be two other sexed persons.

She follows that line of reasoning with worries about “family disruption” and coercion. For instance, if there is a divorce, would the “fourth wife” have “access to the child of the second wife?” It’s not clear why this would differ from current custodial issues in the event of divorce or adoption—does an adoptive father have access to the biological child of his ex-wife? Why is this different in kind rather than degree? One cannot explain this without reference to the nature of marriage, and note how quickly Bonauto answers with reference to the bearing and rearing of children, which is the natural fulfillment of a union of one man and one woman. That is, her argument only makes sense because she implicitly privileges conjugal marriage as articulated by Girgis, Anderson, and George. Again, she depends on the very facts she is attempting to reverse, sawing the limb from under her. (She also asks who would make decisions in times of medical emergency if there was more than one spouse, but as this happens to be one of the arguments for gay marriage it seems to favor rather than deny the medical decision rights of throuples and quadrouples.)

These are very smart people, by the way. Well-educated, accomplished, prestigious professionals selected to shape the meaning of marriage in our society—still, their arguments are terrible. Not because they aren’t intelligent or trained or prepared, but simply because their starting point is an act of will, a fantasy. Marriage has a nature, it is a normative reality, and marriage can withstand the enormous weight of fulfilling human dignity because it really does have a structure and form supporting its nobility and sacredness.

Such nature is not a matter of social convention, or choice, or the “right side of history,” or human law, or the fruits of social science. Marriage is the permanent and exclusive one flesh union of a man and woman naturally fulfilled by the bearing and raising of children.

We can know this from nature and reason, although, to be sure, it is not obvious to everyone. We know this also from revelation, and Christians know that the nuptial mystery is a union and communion of difference bearing analogical likeness to the union in difference of the Trinity. Marriage is a welcoming and reception of difference, man of woman and woman of man, which naturally has the creative capacity to issue forth in new life.

Receptivity, as Norris Clarke once explained, is basic and “absolutely primary status of our being.” As “created beings” we first receive our being from God, only then able to offer ourselves as gifts for others to receive. Our cultural elites, though, revolt against this basic and primary status. Their willy-nilly definition of marriage is based on nothing other than bald assertion. But more than marriage is at stake: they reject the receptivity of the man for the woman and woman for the man because they reject our being as receptive. Rather than care for our being as a gift, they view it merely as a raw given, a resource to do with as they wish. This is a revolt of the will, and a repugnance and loathing of the being of humans.

As I’ve tried to unpack in Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire, early monastics defined such repugnance as sloth (acedia), a hatred of being. As one commentator explains:

Acedia … is a profound withdrawal into self. Action is no longer perceived as a gift of oneself, as the response to a prior love that calls us, enables our action, and makes it possible. It is seen instead as an uninhibited seeking of personal satisfaction in the fear of “losing” something. The desire to save one’s “freedom” at any price reveals, in reality, a deeper enslavement to the “self.” There is no longer any room for an abandonment of the self to the other or for the joy of gift; what remains is sadness or bitterness within the one who distances himself from the community and who, being separated from others, finds himself likewise separated from God.

We have to understand: arguments about same-sex “marriage” are not just about sexual morality, social norms, estate taxes, religious freedom, and the care of children (although all those factors are obviously entangled in the debate). In the end, this is a fundamental struggle about whether the human being exists in order to give/receive or to use/consume. We are choosing whether to identify ourselves as created in the image of God or as what Soren Kierkegaard termed “inclosing reserve,” a prisoner to oneself in an endless self-regard avoiding any obligation to the demands of communion. Receptivity, or the inclosing reserve of acedia—that is what we’re arguing.

On April 28, 2015, in the venerable halls of our highest court, sloth was arguing vigorously.

R. J. Snell

By

R. J. Snell directs the Center on the University and Intellectual Life at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a senior fellow at the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good. He is the author (with Steve Cone) of Authentic Cosmopolitanism: Love, Sin, and Grace in the Christian University. His latest books are Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire and The Perspective of Love.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Of course, the result will not be a definition of marriage, but two definitions of two kinds of marriage.

    This is how a leading French jurist has decsribed it:-

    “It is necessary, since the law of 19th May 2013 (2013-404) opening marriage to persons of the same sex, to distinguish two marriages:-

    1. The union freely agreed to, of a man and a woman in order to found a family. Only this marriage between a man and a woman affects filiation (Title VII of Book I of the Civil Code) [This is a reference to Art 314 of the Civil Code, “The child conceived or born during the marriage has the husband for father”]

    2. The union, freely agreed to, between two persons of the same sex, which permits them, within the limits of the appreciation of the interests of the child by the administration and then the judge, to adopt (Title VIII of Book I of the Civil Code) the child of one of them, or a ward of the State or, subject to what is permitted by conventions between states, a foreign child.”

    Marriage equality, even in the hands of its proponents, reveals itself to be an illusion. Applying the same name to two such radically different institutions is like having a single name for sale and hire or for agency and partnership.

    • Christi H

      I never understood why proponents of homosexaul marriage wished to keep the word the same, especially since many of them are also proponents of abolishing marriage as a whole.

      • Jason Wills

        Same-sex “marriage” is a deliberately contrived absurdity that has been inflated all out of proportion to its actual social relevance and importance (less than 2% of the general population identifies as homosexual). It is an ideological weapon and a political Trojan horse meant to legally enshrine and enforce the public approbation of homosexual behavior — thus, any doubt, reservation, or contrary view on the matter is to be stigmatized (and criminalized) as the product of mere “bigotry”, “animus” and “discrimination.”

        The SSM proponents’ endgame strategy is to limit all understanding and discussion of sexuality to a prescribed politically correct rubric which denies the plain and obvious fact that natural, normative heterosexual relations constitute the essential rational basis and structure of marriage and family.

        • Well, if it will make you feel any better, if the Supreme Court rules against marriage equality, all the Gay people will just agree to … oh I dunno, stop being Gay or something.

          • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

            Nobody is asking a gay person to stop being gay. Christianity accepts gay people as they are, believe it or not.

            • James Whistler

              Not according to the Old Testament, where it says that men who have gay sex must be executed.

              • Leviticus 20:13. Wait for the theological gymnastics.

                • Jason Wills

                  Why do you need theological gymnastics? Do you even know what the Holiness Code of Leviticus was for?

                  • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                    No matter how many times you explain it to them, they don’t want to understand it

                  • James Whistler

                    Jason intones, ” Do you even know what the Holiness Code of Leviticus was for?”

                    That’s what Chuck was talking about when he said theological gymnastics.

                    • No James, Chuck’s collocation: “theological gymnastics” is a species of slight of hand rhetoric (framing the issue dishonestly). It’s preemptive in the interest of setting up a straw man argument to better feed back into it whatever he likes or dislikes as the case may be in support of it (rather than addressing the subject on its own terms).

                    • GG

                      Yes, it is called dishonesty.

                    • James Whistler

                      OK. I didn’t realize you were all buddies here and had your own special code words. As far as I can see, everyone in this current thread is playing insider jokes and smirking and being smug, with the occasional name calling.

                    • Jason Wills

                      “As far as I can see, everyone in this current thread is playing insider jokes and smirking and being smug, with the occasional name calling.”

                      No, we’re not the Freemasons or the Illuminati. As for smirking and being smug: physician, heal thyself. “Pull the beam out of thine own eye first.”

                    • James Whistler

                      By “collocation” do you mean “phrase”?

                    • GG

                      No gymnastics. It does require honesty and information.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Oh, so that’s what he thinks, eh? Actually, no theology is required for understanding the Holiness Code, just a proper knowledge of the history of ancient Israel which, sadly, many of Chuck’s ilk appear to lack entirely.

                    • James Whistler

                      Maybe I don’t understand what you’re talking about. By the Holiness Code do you mean the part of Leviticus where God goes on and on and on and on about how Holy He Is? Do you attach special meaning to those parts of Leviticus?

                    • Jason Wills

                      Obviously you don’t. This is hardly the most rigorous and scholarly source on the matter, but it may help get you started on the right track:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holiness_code

                    • James Whistler

                      Of course I’ve read that.

                    • Jason Wills

                      And yet, you still never learned anything. Oh well. No point in attempting to teach those who simply refuse to be taught.

                    • James Whistler

                      I’m not refusing to listen.

                      You and GG and Screech-name just aren’t saying anything.

                    • Jason Wills

                      To be more precise: we’re just not saying anything that you want to hear.

                    • James Whistler

                      You’re not really saying anything, Jason. Look at your last ten posts.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Thanks for proving my point, yet again. I rest my case.

              • GG

                Do you know the difference among the old testament civil law, and ceremonial law, and moral law?

                Or, do you mistakenly think all were exactly the same?

                • James Whistler

                  GG, take a look at the comment I was responding to, and if you decide your point is relevant, by all means, go on.

                  • GG

                    Oh, I read it. Yes the question is relevant.

                    • James Whistler

                      Then by all means, go on.

              • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                Yes, that was the way the old law was treated, but when Christ came and died for you and I so our sins may be forgiven, He also brought with Him the act of charity regarding transgressions of the old law. For example, a man or woman caught in adultery is also to be put to death, yet when questioned by the Pharisees whether or not to put a woman caught in adultery to death, Jesus did not condemn the woman, yet forgave her sins. Christ is willing to forgive the sin of sex outside of marriage in both hetero and homosexual couples, and thus we are to exhibit charity towards them as well.

                • James Whistler

                  Not all Christians are as charitable as you or Jesus seem to be. Just read the posts here and elsewhere.

                • Mike W

                  You misinterpret the scriptures not understanding that a person has to come to a position of repentance before they receive forgiveness for their sins. Jesus knows our heart but in the the story of the woman caught in adultery He did not immediately give her absolution but crouched and drew on the ground for some time. The words were not spoken but when Jesus said “go and sin no more” clearly He understood that she had come to a position of repentance.

                  • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                    It’s assumed one would know they need to repent to be forgiven of their sins.

                    • Mike W

                      Are you suggesting homosexuals don’t know that?

                • jcsmitty

                  Yet Christ called her adultery “sin” and told her to “sin no more.” Forgiveness isn’t license to keep offending.

                  • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                    Nope. And that’s what makes it so hard for some people to accept.

            • James Whistler

              Screech-name says, “Nobody is asking a gay person to stop being gay. Christianity accepts gay people as they are, believe it or not.”

              Sure it does. Just as they are. Except they can’t have sex, they can’t get married, they can’t adopt kids, they can’t live in your building or eat in your pizza parlor, and can be fired at will.

              • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                First of all, I’m against denying anybody rights.

                Second, anybody who is unmarried is expected to live a chaste life and not engage in sexual activity of any sort. Authentic Christians worship God, not the orgasm.

                • James Whistler

                  Anonymous Screech-name says, “anybody who is unmarried is expected to live a chaste life and not engage in sexual activity of any sort.”

                  Well that’s a sort of Catch-22 for gay people, if you don’t allow them to marry, right?

                  • Jason Wills

                    Not really. Gay people can marry someone of the opposite sex. It’s not unheard of, you know.

                    • James Whistler

                      So I suppose you’ve already thought about which males you’d have sex with if females were not available. It’s not unheard of among straight men, you know.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Now you’re just being silly.

                    • James Whistler

                      Silly of me to think that the author of your fiction is straight?

                      Yes, it was a willful suspension of disbelief.

                    • Jason Wills

                      That doesn’t even make any sense.

                  • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                    “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

                    • James Whistler

                      Are you saying that life is harder for straight people than for gay people?

                    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                      What?

                      Since you’re asking: Both gay and straight people deal with life long temptations, including sexual. The way is narrow and it is difficult. You might fight your temptations and remain in God. Few will be able to enter by the narrow way, but it leads to life.

              • GG

                Seems reasonable. People with deviant desires who demand they be acted on and affirmed ought to discriminated against. It is a matter of justice.

          • Jason Wills

            Thanks for proving my point. Same-sex “marriage” is really about hijacking and corrupting the institution of marriage so as to force the public approbation of homosexual desires and behavior.

            • No one can force you to approve anything, Jason. No one cares if you disapprove of married Gay couples. None of their legal rights come from you.

              • Jason Wills

                Indeed. But you and your ilk will try to force such public approval anyway under the guise of “legal rights”. Obviously you care about my disapproval on the matter, otherwise you wouldn’t be commenting here, now would you?

                • Fraudulent indeed. This is what happens when you replace “rights” with “rights language”.

              • Steve Frank

                “No one can force you to approve anything”

                Of course gays can’t force anyone to approve of their marriages. But they can make sure anyone that disapproves pays dearly for doing so. And that is what the Gaystapo is doing right now.

              • Don

                You clearly care Chuck or you wouldn’t spend so much time trying to force him to change his position.

              • Blobee

                So Chuck, just where to YOU think Social Security benefits for a surviving spouse come from; I mean the actual money paid out. Does it come from the taxpayer; from us?

            • James Whistler

              Jason, “gender complementarity” does not work for gay people. You know what it means to be a gay person, right?

              • Jason Wills

                Indeed. That is why same-sex attraction is intrinsically disordered.

                • James Whistler

                  How very circular, your reasoning.

                  • Jason Wills

                    No, just self-evident.

                    • James Whistler

                      The two are often confused.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Indeed. And you have them confused.

                    • James Whistler

                      I would agree that one of us has them confused.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Yes, and that one happens to be you.

                    • James Whistler

                      We all know what confusion means.

          • Don

            Chuck, are you a practicing Catholic? If so, please explain how you square your position with your faith. Enlighten us theologically rather than just trying to inflame.

          • How Glib. This is a non sequitur (logical fallacy).

        • Michael Dowd

          Brilliant analysis Jason. I agree completely. And thanks to your friend Chuck A. for making this discussion more probing.

        • James Whistler

          Jason says that the importance of gay rights has been “grotesquely inflated all out of proportion to its actual social relevance (less than 2% of the general population…)”

          At 2% that’s 6,400,000 people, Jason.

          So you’re happy with writing off six and a half million people?

          • Mike W

            Who is “writing off” anyone?

            • Jason Wills

              That’s how they argue: “If you don’t give me what I want, you’re writing me off, you hateful bigot!”

              Never mind that SSM proponents would gladly write off the rights of children and the free exercise of dissent, conscience and religious liberty in a heartbeat.

              • James Whistler

                Jason, you almost have me convinced that you’re a jaded liberal who’s pretending to be a blow-hard conservative just for late night fun.

                • Jason Wills

                  I can see that you really have nothing worthwhile to say here, James, so you stoop to sophomoric snark in lieu of an actual reasoned response. Typical passive-aggressive behavior.

                  • James Whistler

                    Just sayin’.

                  • James Whistler

                    Not really aggressive, not really passive. Wrong adjective, I guess…

                    But how about if you give a summary of the content of your last fifteen posts here, and we’ll take a fresh start. From what I’ve seen, they’ve been content-free, but I may be wrong. If you’re still chatting here with me at 1 am pacific…

                    If you’d rather not, I can gather them together and quote them in one spot for you. I’m a college student. I’ve got all night. (What do you do, by the way?)

                    • Jason Wills

                      Snarkily dismissing my posts as “content-free” just because you don’t agree with my position and can’t argue with it in any kind of rational way really doesn’t prove anything — save for your obvious inability to properly engage in this discussion like a mature, intelligent adult.

                      Yes, you do seem to have lot of free time on your hands. I guess that’s what you get for going to college these days, but that figures. By the way, I am currently working as a teacher in China.

                    • James Whistler

                      Finals week just ended, and the bars are closed. (It’s past 3:30 here.) And I am sort of keyed up after exams. If my friends were still awake, I’d be chatting with them.

                      Teaching in China. That’s pretty cool. Do you have the entire afternoon off for posting to news comment sites?

                      By the way, I take back the “content free” comment. I just looked at your last twenty posts and they’re not content free. Much on this site is simply three or four word sniping comments though. And some of yours are. But not the majority.

                    • Jason Wills

                      No, this is my day off and I can do as I please. I can tell that the only reason you are here is mere apathy and boredom, so you need to find an excuse to make a nuisance of yourself online.

                    • James Whistler

                      It’s not just that. I’ve been writing a series of little term papers for my philosophy and theology classes about how people talk about same-sex marriage online, and it might become a sort of bachelor’s thesis. What kind of manners they use, what names they call each other, whether they use reasoning or just make pronouncements (e.g., “it is self-evident that homosexuality is a mental disorder”), how they pick up and use random terms from formal logic, how they constantly compare gay people to animals, and how procreation is the end-all and be-all, and if your kids are adopted, how they want you to know your family is inferior to theirs (or someone’s). You may or may not be a fictional troll, but there are many out there. Many confess it outright, and still are just there to prick people, and people get pricked. Sometimes (I’m having a cocktail now) I go too far and poke at people, but mostly I am interested in what they are thinking, and why. It’s an interesting social milieu.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Sounds like you’re not really doing any research at all, given that every item in your litany is but a prefabricated strawman caricature of your own making.

                    • James Whistler

                      “Straw man” is one of those terms commenters randomly pluck from logic in order to sound smart. You have to have an argument for a straw man to make any sense. There was no argument in my last post.

                    • Jason Wills

                      No, you were merely stringing together a litany of made-up nonsense and presenting it as if such blatant jackassery accurately represented the arguments of your opponents — that, sir, is a strawman fallacy.

                      I can tell that you don’t know very much about logic, nor are you especially smart, but that figures.

                    • James Whistler

                      Lots of my classmates are smarter than I am, and I suppose I’m not the hardest working student at my school by a long shot, but I know a fair amount about logic and math, a respectable amount about philosophy, and am learning some theology and religious history. The “blatant jackassery” you attribute to me is something I am mostly reporting on, and, only very occasionally, indulging in. What do you teach there in China, by the way? English? If nothing else, you write well.

                    • Jason Wills

                      College doesn’t seem to be doing you any good, as all you can do is spout sophomoric snark and tiresome left-liberal pablum on this comments board.

                      Given that no serious opponent of same-sex “marriage” has actually made any of the stupid arguments which you attribute to them, it would appear that you are hardly competent as a reporter. Either that or you have a rather cavalier disregard for the facts on this particular matter and are merely another agitator and propagandist.

                    • James Whistler

                      When you say, “Given that no serious opponent of same-sex “marriage” has actually made..”, is “serious” the weasel word you use to rule out almost all of the commenters on same-sex marriage on this page (and others).

                    • Jason Wills

                      Not really. I would consider nearly all of commentators on this board, save for you and Chuck, as serious opponents of same-sex “marriage”.

                    • James Whistler

                      “that, sir, is a strawman fallacy.”

                      No, it’s not. I am accurately taking down exactly what the commenters are saying. It’s only a straw-man argument when one says things that are not what other people are arguing, and argue against those other things. But not every stupid argument has only a straw man behind it; the stupidest ideas come from actual people. I am just enumerating the “arguments” that ordinary, anonymous (mostly) commenters are making.

                    • Jason Wills

                      “I am accurately taking down exactly what the commenters are saying.”

                      Sure you are, Jimmy boy. Sure you are.

                    • James Whistler

                      I predict that your next comment will involve the phrase “false dichotomy”.

                    • Jason Wills

                      As your mind seems entirely governed by cliches, it doesn’t surprise me that you would think that.

                    • James Whistler

                      It’s just a matter of observation of what people are saying, not what I’m thinking. Yes, cliches abound. They’re easy to predict.

                    • Jason Wills

                      You observe nothing. You merely see what you want to see because you are willfully blind to the truth.

                    • James Whistler

                      I’m not blind to what people actually type into a news-comment site.

                      Anyway, should I send you some money all the way there in China for keeping me masochistically amused by your Holmes-to-Watson “You observe nothing!” comments? I only work in a grocery story but I could send you $20 via paypal if that would feed your satisfaction derived from demeaning other people. It would be a good point to make in my next term paper if you were to accept. I’ve spent more on drinks for people I don’t like, so it wouldn’t be a stretch.

                    • Jason Wills

                      All I can say is that you have my pity.

                    • James Whistler

                      “Pity” is the word that most often comes up when a commenter is about to go to bed, take a nap, refresh a drink, or get some fresh air. It’s actually an extremely common usage on news-comment sites. It’s most often used as a singleton sentence:

                      Pity.

                    • Jason Wills

                      What can I say? I’ve got better things to do with the rest of my day.

                      Alas, your Freudian slips about prostitution are very telling. And you do have my pity — with sincerest condolences extended to your immediate family.

                    • James Whistler

                      Jason says, “I’ve got better things to do with the rest of my day.”

                      After your chatting away here for hours and hours, that remains to be seen.

                    • Jason Wills

                      You’re about to see it right now. Goodbye, troll.

                    • James Whistler

                      (I predict that you will demean me even further by not accepting my offer of money, and tell me to look for prostitutes elsewhere.)

                    • Jason Wills

                      No, I am more curious as to your arbitrary use of parentheses for such a typically sophomoric and asinine comment.

          • You are mistaken. It’s not about writing anyone off or not; it’s about determining whether or not “any one claim” made by the LGBT lobby (and its allies) can be shown to be demonstrably true. This is the chief issue.

            What is not the issue is your “argumentum ad populam fallacy” and any forthcoming claims you might like to make off the back of it. Numbers do not demonstrate the validity or error of “any one point”. Demonstrable argument does. 6,400,000 represents a 2 out of 10 (ratio).

            Now, in light of this numerical fact we can say this: given the amount of attention afforded to LGBT interests (when set next to pretty much everything else that is happening in the country and the world at large) one might be forgiven for concluding that, yes, regarding social relevance, it is indeed as Jason said: “grotesquely inflated”. I would, for my part, also like to add: unjust.

            • James Whistler

              I didn’t commit any fallacy Joe, I just quoted some figures and asked a question.

              Joe says, “Demonstrable argument does. 6,400,000 represents a 2 out of 10 (ratio).”

              It’s 2%, Joe. Not 20%.

              20% would be 64 million.

              But I guess I would agree that you and your friends are maybe paying too much attention to gay issues in the news. You can always find another interest. Why not take a break from the grotesquerie?

              • Jason Wills

                Hopefully, the Supreme Court will restore sanity and give us all a break from this grotesquerie. Marriage is an issue that is of vital concern to everyone.

            • James Whistler

              Joe says, “given the amount of attention afforded to LGBT interests (when set next
              to pretty much everything else that is happening in the country and the
              world at large) one might be forgiven for concluding that, yes,
              regarding social relevance, it is indeed as Jason said: ‘grotesquely
              inflated’. I would, for my part, also like to add: unjust.”

              I would definitely agree that the opposition to treating gay people fairly is grotesquely out of proportion to what gay people are actual asking for.

          • fredx2

            So if we add up the least populous states, that;s what you get?

            • James Whistler

              You can take the entire state of Indiana instead, if that makes you feel better.

          • Jason Wills

            The actual numbers are much lower than that, James. Only about 1.7% identify as homosexual, and less than 0.5% of the general population would seek to “marry” someone of the same sex.

            Should we be obliged to destroy marriage simply for the sake of accomodating the peculiar personal desires and lifestyle choices of such a comparatively tiny sliver of the populace at large?

            • James Whistler

              The percentage depends on your survey. A recent Gallup poll says 3.5%, or over 10 million people.

              Oh, now you’re on “the gays are destroying marriage” wagon. Straight protestants have done just fine doing that on their own. Half the kids in the US born out of wedlock to straight parents, half of all straight marriages end in divorce, and you’re worried about what you see as 0.5% of the population getting gay married and adopting kids abandoned by straight people?

              • Jason Wills

                The Center for Disease Control and Prevention takes much more scrupulously accurate statistics on homosexual behavior (and its inevitable consequences) than the latest flavor-of-the-month Gallup or Pew poll.

                Alas, you’re missing the point as usual. Same-sex “marriage” isn’t really about marriage at all, but about legally forcing the public approbation of homosexual behavior and homosexualist ideology at the expense of First Amendment rights to free speech, freedom of conscience and religious liberty.

                If it becomes federal law, same-sex “marriage” will be exploited with ruthless impunity to undermine the integrity and autonomy of the family vis-a-vis the state and abrogate the rights of parents and children in favor of the personal desires and whims of disordered adults in sterile unions.

                • James Whistler

                  Go ahead and say 1%, Jason, if that makes you feel better.

                  • Jason Wills

                    How you or I feel about it is not relevant. Facts are facts, whether you like them or not.

        • Excellent.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Christi H wrote, “many of them are also proponents of abolishing marriage as a whole.”

        The Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, in an interview with Ouest-France (7/11/2012) said of the same-sex marriage legislation that “it is a reform of society and one could even say a reform of civilization, We do not intend to act as if we were only retouching three or four commas in the Civil Code.”

        If that is how the garde des Sceaux, who was responsible for producing the legislation described it, perhaps we can be forgiven for taking her at her word.

        • slainte

          Like the protestant reformation, some call it a reform, others a rebellion; still others a revolt.

          Whatever it is, it is divisive and will, if affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, become the basis for acrimony and confrontation between the State and the Catholic Church in the U.S.

          This will not bode well for lay Catholics in the U.S who are faithful to Our Lord’s teachings

          • Silver

            6 Catholics on Supreme Court.

            • slainte

              The irony is not lost on me. Let us hope their interpretation of the Constitution is ordered by truth.

            • John Flaherty

              Seems to me that we make a grave mistake if we assume that any person of any faith will make a ruling in the Court based on personal faith. We hire the Justices to rule about whether a law passes muster with the Constitution, not whether a change matches their own beliefs.

              In this case, the argument in favor of same-sex marriage is pretty absurd, as noted in the article, because they provide no reason at all for why law should recognize two men or two women as being married, but not a foursome or threesome. Given that, the only cause in favor of same-sex marriage is…, well, the gay rights advocates say so.

              There does not appear to be any compelling cause in favor of same-sex marriage that over-rules the obvious reasons why people don’t already embrace it.

      • Never ONCE in my nearly 56 years have I met anyone who was interested in “abolishing” marriage. I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about, unless it’s some fringe anarchist that no one’s ever heard of.

        • Jason Wills

          Willfully missing the point as usual, Chuck — either because you are incredibly naive or incredibly disingenuous on the matter. Which is it?

          • Jason, when you say that Gay couples who want to marry are actually intent on ABOLISHING marriage, you’re just being downright dishonest.

            • Jason Wills

              I’ll be charitable and say that you are just incredibly naive. It stands to reason that those who so zealously propagate the sham of the same-sex “marriage” ultimately intend to undermine and destroy real marriage by substituting a lie for the truth and then pretending that there is no difference between the two.

              • Michael Senesac

                If your “real marriage” is destroyed because same sex couples get equal access then it wasn’t much of a marriage to begin with.

                • Jason Wills

                  After 40+ years of destructive no-fault divorce laws, marriage is a fragile institution that needs protecting for the sake of posterity and the future health and stability of our civilization.

                  I don’t know what you mean about same-sex couples “get equal access” since no children issue from such unions, and therefore same-sex “marriage” is not really marriage at all.

                  • Silver

                    Same sex marriage is a fake. They can never have what we have and they know it. why they want to tear it down.

                • GG

                  If we started calling gasoline water would that change the way people viewed water?

                  • Yeah, no kidding: talk about turning marriage into shell game.

                • Your polemical turn of phrase talks past the issue in lieu of actually addressing the issue. Read Girgis/Anderon/George: What is Marriage,Chapter 4: What’s the harm?

                • Silver

                  Then they will go after the churches and schools and that is when a war starts.

            • bonaventure

              Why don’t they marry, then, where homosexual “marriage” is allowed? Because they do not believe in the institution of marriage to begin with. Because it binds them sexually, while homosexuality — besides being intrinsically disordered — is also a perversion incapable of sexual purity and fidelity (the first goes without saying as homosexuality is by definition a desecration of the human body, while the second [incapable of fidelity] is a result of the first).

        • Blobee

          Oh, Chuck, Jason is right. Stop lying. Here’s a web site called BeyondMarriage.org which most non-homosexual people have never heard of, but which outlines a “NEW STRATEGIC VISION FOR ALL OUR FAMILIES & RELATIONSHIPS” dated September 26, 2006. Since you NEVER, not ONCE in your 56 years met anyone who was interested in abolishing marriage, how do you account for the information on the above mentioned web site, and how do you think “marriage” will fare if these ideas become the norm?
          Homosexuals rely on the fact most heterosexuals are not privy to the ideas and conversations of gay forces to get their ideas accepted. They rely on a lie that suggests their lifestyles and values and desires are exactly like everyone elses. They are not.

        • LGBT Activist Masha Gessen Admits Gay Marriage is About the Destruction of Marriage

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl5Mpjnu9aQ

          • santiago

            Let them destroy the civil institution of marriage, no one will ever destroy the Sacrament of Marriage, which is the one that matters. Marriage is a Sacrament not a contract anyway. Let them have nothing, they have nothing anyway just emptiness.

            • Silver

              She is jewish with that last name.

            • slainte

              Our Lord Jesus Christ is a Jew.

              Your words of disdain regarding God’s chosen people (the Jews) are contrary to Catholic teaching and do not advance your position.

              As Catholics we are called to love all people.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              Marriage is no a contract, but it certainly creates a civil status that affects the rights and obligations, n otonly of the parties, but of third parties, too. Most importantly, it creates the legal bond between fathers and their children.

              • licjjs

                Surely marriage is a contract. This may have been obscured by our easy divorce culture but the whole point of marriage is that it is a contract to found a new family for society.

          • Silver

            Twitter or facebook this video and let it go viral

          • James Whistler

            “Admits” – hardly. Let’s say, “claims”.

            • Jason Wills

              No, she was letting the cat out of the bag.

        • fredx2

          Masha Gessen is the name, truth telling is her game.

        • Christi H

          I don’t know where you’ve been. I’ve met many middle aged friends of my parents who think that marriage is outdated, that we need to discard it entirely and just have plain old ‘love.’ I have many older family members and elderly friends who thing that marriage won’t be useful for the younger generation, and is pointless in this age, despite the fact that they were quite happy (most of them) with thier own marriages of 40 + years each. They want to “get rid of marriage, fanatics can marry if they want to.” I know many schoolmates who feel like its antiquated, and stands for oppession, some think abolishing it would be no big deal, others think that its a horrible thing they won’t settle into until there is nothing else left to do in life. Many, many people want to do away with marriage. Not a majority, maybe only a fourth of students I know, a fifth of the 60+ crowd, and less of the middle agers. But saying that you’ve NEVER met any is bizarre, and I have to wonder where you’ve been hiding, Chuck. You must live in a VERY traditionally conservative area or, if that’s not the case, be adept at tuning out the growing radicalism around you. Many people are.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Here is a simple fact:in 2010, there were some 250,000 marriages and 200,000 civil unions (PACS – pacte civil de solidarité), most of the latter between opposite-sex couples.

          • Jason Wills

            Alas, your friends have never known a world without no-fault divorce laws and anti-marriage, anti-family left-liberal political correctness.

          • James Whistler

            It’s certainly true that people who came of “marrying” age in the late sixties and seventies were all for “Love American Style” and agreed with the way that Meathead and Gloria were living (in sin, with their parents). I know a couple (straight, as it happens) together for forty years, a committed couple. Never married, because they disdained the “institution” of marriage. The institution has changed since then, as Justice Ginsberg noted, with women’s rights, and recognition of gay people.

            • Jason Wills

              I have no doubt that Meathead is your role model.

              • James Whistler

                That’s a prime example of a content-free comment.

        • bonaventure

          Where have you been all these 56 years?

          • I have met people (mostly heterosexual) who AREN’T interested in marriage, and some people who actually are skeptical of marriage as a legal institution. But never have I met anyone who wanted to ABOLISH marriage.

      • santiago

        What is Marriage? Is it a spiritual union? Procreative union? Social contract? Legal contract? all of the above? none of them? Some? Is it a medium for Santification? Is it a Sacrament? I think that if you throw in the word Civil or Legal right besides the word Marriage, you can make the same question. why did the state keep the same word? Probably because it was inherited from the founding Protestant Fathers of America. Because the Sacrament of Marriage has nothing to do with the Civil Union denominated as Marriage, according to the legal and only definition accepted by the state as recognition of that right. It is just a word the important part is the definition and understanding of concept.

      • Silver

        Gays just need to accept some Common Domestic Partnership and be glad we would give them that.

      • licjjs

        They crave approval and they want to be treated ‘the same’ – while, of course, claiming precisely that they are different.

        • GG

          Precisely.

    • Ah, nothing quite like the demonstrable argument. I like this. Will you allow me to use it?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Use it by all means

    • santiago

      Names do not change the concept. You can call the number two ‘blah nlah’ it will still have the same meaning, in the whole of existence, reality and Truth do not change because of a name.

  • TheronClaude

    This is one of the best written pieces I’ve read on this subject. I am very grateful. It should be obvious to all that what these people are after is not marriage equality, but marriage elimination.

  • mgolant

    A lucid and well-articulated analysis.

  • Michael Dowd

    Hopefully gay marriage and other weird sexual formulations currently in vogue will, with time, simply pass away, becoming just another social aberration. The divorce rate for same sex marriage will probably be double heterosexual marriages or 100% as there are very few obligations to hold these folks together. My guess is that all of this will be replaced by another “hot topic” that can be used the Progressives, e.g., outlawing Christianity.

    • Right. Being Gay is just a fad.

      • Michael Dowd

        No. Making a mega-deal of it is a fad.

        • Like it or not, it is one of the most incendiary issues of our time. But five years from now, people will wonder what all the fuss was about, all the predictions of fire and brimstone notwithstanding.

          • Jason Wills

            Says you.

            • Sorry, I should have said MOST people, not necessarily you.

              • Jason Wills

                Oh, that’s what you think.

                • Don’t be bitter, Jason. Life is too short.

                  • Jason Wills

                    You need to follow your own unsolicited and irrelevant advice. Physician, heal thyself.

  • There’s a lot of bloviating here about how meaningful and noble and “sacred” marriage is … or at least is supposed to be as far R.J. Snell is concerned. Apparently in his ideal world two young, heterosexual Catholic virgins marry for the purpose of having sex (utilizing “Natural Family Planning” if necessary, natch) for the purpose of perpetuating the human species. Whether the couple actually LOVE one another is probably important, but it’s not the main reason for marrying. Divorce is not an option. This is the “Giving/Receiving” ideal for marriage. Anything else is just a sad “Using/Consuming” model.

    Naturally, as we get closer to the Supreme Court’s ruling, I suspect few days will go by without such columns, repackaging the same talking points with as much padding as possible. But the common arguments remain embarrassingly easy to refute.

    1: “We want to preserve the sanctity of marriage.”

    Sanctity is another word for sacredness or holiness. In other words, it’s a supernatural quality usually thought of as being bestowed by some sort of god. But it is not the job of government to make things sacred, or to enforce someone’s idea of Holy Law. The job of government is to enforce the Constitution, without regard to any specific religious view.

    2: “Children deserve to have a mother and a father.”

    This is not an argument against marriage equality as much as it is an argument against single parenting or adoption by Gay couples. It’s irrelevant to kids whose parents divorce, kids whose parents have given them up for adoption, kids who have been adopted by single people, Gay couples who choose not to adopt children, Straight couples who have children out of wedlock, elderly and infertile couples, and the countless Gay couples, whether married or not, who are raising their adopted kids to healthy, well-adjusted adulthood.

    3: “If you allow Gay marriage, why stop there? Next thing it’ll be incest, polygamy, and God knows what else!”

    Yeah, and it also goes without saying that if you allow a man to marry ONE woman, you
    have to let him marry as many women as he wants. In reality, the only difference between a married Straight couple and a married Gay couple is the sexual orientation of the two people who have made the commitment. And unless the 14th Amendment applies only to people who are heterosexual, there’s no justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

    4: “If everyone was Gay, the human race would go extinct!”

    This is perhaps the most ludicrous and hysterical argument of all. The marriage equality movement has never been an effort to make homosexuality compulsory for everyone. Most people always have been and always will be heterosexual. Allowing Gay couples to marry will have ZERO effect on that.

    • GG

      All that sophistry in one post. A new record.

      • You’re welcome.

        • Jason Wills

          Chuck, do you even know what the word “sophistry” means?

          • Of course I do. I know one person who is always accusing me of “sophistry and obfuscation.” If you disagree with someone, you think their arguments are false. Therefore you accuse them of “sophisty.” I understand that. What else is new?

            • Jason Wills

              Thanks for that smug confession of ignorance. That’s all I needed to know.

            • GG

              Chuck, your “arguments” are not legitimate. They are mostly a collection of silly appeals to Old Testament out of context quotes and a mixture of moral relativism and gay propaganda.

              You post the same agitprop and I post to remind you no one is buying it.

    • FrankW

      We’re better off ignoring Chuck.

      Our experiences responding to him over the last several months have shown he will not be convinced by our responses or by the Holy Spirit. He does not respond substantively to logic, and dodges questions he can’t answer. He is only here to agitate. If we quit feeding the beast, it will look elsewhere to get its fill.

      • Nope, I’m just responding to R.J. Snell’s weepy editorial.

        • Maria

          You did characterise the ideal of marriage as offered by R. J. Snell fairly accurately but then you dismissed it mockingly because you did not understand what the substance of the argument truly is. You confused yourself by introducing a term that you assume trumps Mr. Snell’s argument. You use the word LOVE as if you possess a fundamental understanding of that term that overrides every other serious analysis of human relationship. Mr. Snell actually describes the nature of “marital love” quite well when he defines the concept of self-giving in the context of human sexuality. Individuals of the same sex are not equipped to complete the act of marital self-giving or of sexual self-giving. It is a simple fact. Two persons of the same sex can indeed have deep and abiding bonds of natural relationship such as parent and child, sibling or other familial relationship. Two persons of the same sex can have profound affinities that result in one of the most noble and selfless relationships, friendship. These are different types of love from the marital bond. Confusing these relationships does not result in “equality” for individuals who wish to change the natural order to conform to their imaginative desires. It results in disorder and confusion that diminshes real sacrificial and self-giving love and consequently shatters the protections that the institution of marriage offers to the most vulnerable members of human society, children. You are substituting an impoverished and debased model of marriage for Mr. Snell’s ideal and the result must be destructive. Same-sex relationships that include parasexual behaviour are being dignified in our culture not because they exemplify a type of LOVE but because they introduce a kind of license that is being sought to normalise behaviours that are not ordered to the good of society. Human societies from the dawn of civilisation have DEMANDED, not merely offered, marriage of their opposite sex members because responsible parenthood and orderly legal relationships between opposite sex spouses uphold the social necessity of providing for the offspring of sexual reproduction. Marriage is not an institution formulated by society to enshrine individuals but to recognise the objective biological reality of sexual generation and the needs of women and children to be supported, protected and sustained by the husband and father and accepted into a larger family and community with obligations of mutual interest. Christian morality does idealise human relationships and raise them to the level of sacredness in order to point to their ultimate meaning. All of the assaults on marriage have decreased human dignity and opened avenues for abuse of persons from the level of the interpersonal that is promiscuity, sexual trafficking and infidelty to the intentional destruction of human beings that is abortion and all the way through to the devaluation of human life that is euthanasia, eugenics and the extermination of entire classes of human beings because of disability, illness or poverty (genocide). If you cannot see this, you have pulled the blinders firmly over your eyes to accomodate selfish personal desires that you happen to hold in common with others of similar mindset who also wish to indulge themselves in fantasies and whims. Far from being harmless “personal choices,” these desires destroy the foundations of human society, community, the family and true selfless love of every kind. Our culture has succumbed to a slow intellectual, spiritual and emotional poison since the Enlightenment (which is so ironically named considering the darkening of understanding that has ocurred). When I read an article of this calibre, I have renewed hope that a few minds have not surrendered to this poison and persist in recognising that there is indeed an objective reality and that those minds will continue to bravely resist falling into total spiritual and intellectual torpor. Bravo, Mr. Snell and “Crisis Magazine”. Keep up the good fight!

    • LarryCicero

      Nice to see you up early today. It must have been a long weekend awaiting to post the gay rebuttal, but you are still wrong, as always. In reality, the difference is not the orientation, but the gender. Plain and simple, a man is not a woman and can’t be a wife, no matter who the “receiver” is.

    • Objectivetruth

      ZZZZZZZZZZ…………..

      The nights I can’t sleep Chuck I’ll read your posts and……and……….

      ……….ZZZZZZ…………..

    • Vinny

      Chuck, you’re living a lie.

    • RufusChoate

      The bedrock societal institution of Marriage is under serious stress and attack so in you odd worldview the best solution is to open it to people so filled with narcissistic self love that they can not be normatively sexually aroused by a person of the opposite sex as dictated by evolutionary prerogatives and physiology.

      You’re arguing that a complete counterfeit should be judge true and worthy just because you want it so. That is really not that compelling because every Counterfeiter in history has said the same. .

      • MikeCody

        You are making the assumption that yours is the only valid definition of marriage, based on what you claim is the historical and Biblical examples. However, for most of the Bible and most of history, multiple marriages were the norm for any man who could afford multiple wives. Does that mean that we should allow, nay encourage, this practice, given its extensive roots in the Bible? If not, why not?

        • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

          The coming of Christ ended the practice of multiples wives and other women for man’s satisfaction, bring us back to the way God designed things to be, literally, ‘in the beginning’. While God permitted great men of the Old Testament to have multiple wives and other women, it wasn’t meant to be so.

          • God apparently changed His mind about quite a lot of things. Time for a press conference. There are a lot of contemporary issues I’d like to get His opinion on.

            • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

              How so? How did God change His mind, when the original plan of creation was only for one man and one woman to become one flesh? We were given free will, Chuck, free will to choose if we wanted to be with several partners at the same time. Just because God allowed that to happen doesn’t mean He blessed it.

              Look at the story of David and Bathsheba. We get a glimpse here of God’s anger against David for sleeping with her and killing her husband.

              • Maybe it’s time for a theologically-correct marriage amendment:

                1) Marriage shall consist of a union between one man and as many
                women as he would like (Genesis 28).

                2) Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in
                addition to his wife or wives (II Samuel 5, II Chronicles 11).

                3) A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed (Deuteronomy 22).

                4) If a married man dies, his brother has to marry the widow (Deuteronomy 25).

                • Jason Wills

                  Alas, your theological (not to mention, anthropological) understanding of marriage is hopelessly confused. Distorting the meaning of Old Testament passages that you obviously never bothered to actually read isn’t helping your cause any.

                • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                  Where did you copy and paste these from?

                  Did you take the time to read those passages and note that these men took them as their wives? They took them on their own accord, not of the will of God.

                  #3: Hard teaching, isn’t it? Thanks be to Jesus Christ for delivering us from our sins so that our pre-marital sex may be forgiven, and we may become, in His eyes, a virgin, born again. Christ delivers the ultimate charity.

                  #4: I counter, again, with the fact that the coming of Christ invokes charity on our behalf. Lots of teachings of the law are scary, such as putting to death somebody who commits adultery, yet look at when Jesus came, and because of Him, the woman caught in adultery was not put to death, following the Pharisees inquiry. There’s a lot more to understanding the ways of the Old Testament with the coming of Christ, not just by copying and pasting passages *as is*

                  • Well, I suppose if everyone had the same interpretation of Scripture, there wouldn’t be a bazillion different denominations.

                    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                      True, true. It’s no wonder why so many people hate Catholicism, as we will continue to uphold the hard truths of The Bible. We are, after all, the Church instituted by Christ and His Apostles, so we carry on with one singular unified interpretation.

                    • Jason Wills

                      Indeed. That is why “Sole fide” was anathematized as a heresy at the Council of Trent.

                    • Veritas

                      “I suppose if everyone had the same interpretation of Scripture, there wouldn’t be a bazillion different denominations.”

                      See The Church.

                • GG

                  Where does any of that say two men committing sodomy is licit and called a marriage?

                  • Where does it say that women are allowed to vote?

                    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                      That view is taken from someone who rejects the truths of God, because the teachings of scripture go against the lifestyles many want to maintain today.

                    • GG

                      Voting is not a natural institution. There is no natural right to vote. Why bring it up?

                      The fact remains nothing in the bible affirms homosexuality as normal or the acts as licit.

                • winslow

                  I’ve been reading your arguments for the better part of an hour and I can’t decide whether you’ve had a lobotomy or didn’t get out of the third grade. This latest is the template for absurdity.

            • Veritas

              “There are a lot of contemporary issues I’d like to get His opinion on.”

              See The Church.

          • GG

            It was closer to the moral norm than homosexual unions.

          • MikeCody

            While not necessarily disagreeing, I would like to be referred to whatever citations you may have to support the idea that Christ specifically disallowed multiple marriage partners.

            • Mike, I think it was about the same time he said, “It’s okay to eat ham and shrimp now.”

              • Jason Wills

                Just one lame, sophomoric strawman attack after another, eh Chuck?

              • Steve Frank

                “When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:14-23)

                Under the New Covenant, Jesus repealed the CEREMONIAL law and intensified the MORAL law of the Old Testament. Which is why he declared all foods clean yet re-iterated (and in other passages even made stricter) the Old Testament sexual ethic which clearly prohibited homosexual acts.

                • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                  And to add, as it was in the beginning, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you”

            • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

              In Matthew 19:1-12, when Jesus is questioned about divorce, he affirms the way The Father meant things to be in the beginning. While this is specifically regarding divorce, you need to look deeper into this account to see that it was meant to be that one man plus one woman would come together to make one flesh, and that anything else is adultery and against God’s original design.

              Jesus also says that He has come to uphold the law, not abolish it, and if we are going to take the law in all truths, someone who commits adultery is to be put to death for the graveness of their sin (although He addresses this as well with charity over punishment).

        • GG

          Polygamy was deviant not the norm. What I always find disingenuous is that the “gay marriage” defenders always have to go back 100s of centuries to some pagan like cultures to find some small evidence that deviant unions are normal.

          Two men or two women acting like a husband and wife is not normal and never was normal and never will be normal. It contradicts nature, logic, history, reason, biology, and any other metric you can choose.

    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

      Chuck, you should read Theology of the Body, and get a glimpse about how things were meant to be from the beginning, when God created man. Social theory will never rise above the truth of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, no matter what perversion and spin and guise people will put up.

    • MyrtleMartha

      Chuck: Yes, just so.

      • The reason R.J. Snell finds the arguments in favor of marriage equality “terrible” is because they’ve been a helluva lot more effective than the arguments against it.

        • GG

          Really? The arguments in favor of it are based in desire and relativism. That is not a foundation to build a civilization on. It is a recipe for vice and depravity.

          • Yeah, well, sorry about your luck.

            • GG

              No such thing as luck. Two men acting like a husband and wife simply because they have some strange attraction hardly counts as marriage and certainly not parents.

        • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

          There is no marriage equality. Marriage is the coming together of a male and a female, to become one flesh, under God, and that’s the end of the argument.

          Are you referring to the societal contract of unity between two people, sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘marriage’? Even some men and women who are ‘married’ aren’t actually married in the eyes of God.

          • But you see, this editorial isn’t about married “in the eyes of God,” but marriage in the eyes of the Supreme Court. People do not have to be Christian, or even religious, to marry.

            • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

              There wouldn’t be a union of two under a term ‘marriage’ if it wasn’t for ‘in the eyes of God’, for He made it so since the beginning.

              “People do not have to be Christian, or even religious, to marry.” As I said, the Supreme Court is dealing with “marriage”, a societal contract where the state recognizes two people to be ‘married’.

              True marriage: From God
              Society marriage: From society and the state and not the same as true marriage, unless it can be accepted by the Church as a valid union, and blessed as such.

              • I understand your concept of “True Marriage” as something as something that must be accepted and blessed by The Church. But none of the legal benefits of marriage come from The Church.”Civil Marriage” is what’s being considered by SCOTUS.

                • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

                  In some countries, common law couples are afforded the same benefits as those under Marriage. Is it not so in the USA?

                  • Common-law marriage” is a legal framework where a couple is legally considered married, without that couple having formally registered their relation as a civil or religious marriage. Common-law marriage are only recognized in Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah and the District of Columbia. However, all 50 states states still recognize common-law marriages from those states where it is legal; in other words, if a couple in a common-law marriage in Montana relocates to Idaho, Idaho honors that marriage contract, thanks to the “Full Faith & Credit” clause.

    • JP

      Gay sex is an affront to God. You conveniently forget to mention that.

    • GG

      Lemme help you fix your argument:

      1.Sanctity of marriage is like sanctity of life. The State has a serious obligation to protect them. This is not only a religious understanding but a fundamental aspect of society. We protect what is important. This is common sense and is self evident.

      2. So-called “gay” unions have nothing in common with the other situations you mentioned. You are comparing unequal items here. Two men posing as a husband and wife is in no way equal to single parents who do not pose as both sexes. Infertile couples are not like homosexual pairings at all.

      3. Allowing strange unions like 2 men acting as husband and wife must lead to more deformation. There is no logical reason it should stop there. If two men can “marry” then anything goes. A man can marry a rock or his son. Two men are totally dissimilar from a male and female marrying.

      4. The principle assert about men “marrying” is to show the absurdity of it all. Two men cannot reproduce. That is central to humanity.

    • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

      And if I do NOT accept the above argument you can drive me out of business, sue me, even get me arrested etc. And this is not some crazy scenario this is HAPPENING NOW. We will fight.

    • Michael

      5: The institution of marriage has always been a means of recognizing the duties and responsibilities incumbent upon procreation. It is the answer to the question “who’s responsible for that child?”. Thus, where procreation is in principle excluded marriage is irrelevant. You are now basing the meaning of the institution upon your own whim.

    • fredx2

      You forgot the part about gays not really being all that monogamous, and the effects that would have on any children.

  • chrisinva

    The late Charles Rice explained on these pages (July 25, 2012) how the embrace of the contraceptive mentality has a momentum all its own. These lawyers are smart indeed – if they were to affirm the natural law regarding marriage, they’d have to walk the dog back all the way up the logic chain to Roe v Wade and beyond.

    Much easier to live in what Robert Musil calls a “Second Reality.”

    One should note that, about the same time as the pill took the culture by storm, desecrating and devastating the family, the tax law followed suit, severely reducing the incentives to have children – especially a lot of them.

    Watch for thousands of tax cases to arise as “new marriage” confronts the Tax Code. Thousands of lawyers are out of work. This will help.

    “The individual is one millionth of a million men,” Rubashov observes in Darkness at Noon. The ultimate goal of the Contraceptive Mentality — whose sponsor is the Prince of This World – is to destroy all natural bonds, making it easier then to attack the supernatural ones. This is the movie that is playing right now before our eyes.

    • Blobee

      Spot on, chrisinva!

    • Tom Saltsman

      It’s all part of the culture of death that the Ven. Fulton J. Sheen would have probably said started further back in history with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To Sheen, that infamous, unchecked deed of 1945 (that even horrified Nazis in its unbridled vanity and brutality) began ‘the current destruction of all boundaries.” How many American Catholics have taken greater pride in that evil act than in the Gospel of Holiness which clearly forbids it?

      • santiago

        Thank you!!! But i do believe it is earlier than that, much more, from the first US intervention for the sole purpose of gaining more power, with disguise and that corrupted it’s own Constitution.

      • slainte

        Our Blessed Lord told us how we should live when he gifted us with the Beatitudes and reminded us that if we loved Him we would follow His Commandments.

        We can only hope that the Justices in their deliberation will be guided by the highest law….God’s law.

      • fredx2

        Would you have preferred that the war had continued on for another year or so? At the time, about 250,000 people per month were dying in Asia, of starvation and other war- related causes. This was simply because the war disrupted normal food and energy supplies, You would have also have condemned about a million or more Japanese civilians to death, because according to a well known Japanese author, they really were getting ready to fight to the absolute death to defend their homeland. Normal civilians were being trained to do suicide attacks against tanks, etc. Add in another 500,000 to 1 million American and Allied soldiers as well. So instead of several more million people dying, we dropped the bomb. It saved a lot of lives – Japanese, American, Chinese, Filipino, etc.

      • John Flaherty

        I don’t think our present culture of death began with Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I think declaring that would give far too much credit to those who brought about that war.
        If we’re talking about when the current iteration of evil began, with reference to the current state of the nation with abortion, contraceptive use, and homosexual marriage, we’d likely best connect it more specifically to the various actions of the 60’s and 70’s that brought about contraceptive use, no-fault divorce, and abortion. When we lost the battles over these matters in particular, we paved the way for society to wander farther astray into sexual madness.

        Attempting to blame the current sexual permissiveness on the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in another country near the end of a war simply doesn’t make any sense.

  • FrankW

    Excellent article. I believe it was Chesterton who said that before you tear down a fence, you’d better find out why it was built. It would be nice if our nation’s Supreme Court had the humility to take those words to heart before ruling on this case.

    • James Whistler

      Maybe you missed Kennedy’s and Roberts’s comments on that very matter.

      • bonaventure

        Does that scare you?

        [the traditional] “definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the Court to say, oh well, we know better.”

        “we should not consult at all the social science on this, because it’s too new,” and given the fragility of our knowledge, “it’s only fair for us to say, well, we’re not going to consult social science.”

        (That’s Justice Kennedy, in case you’ve missed it).

        • James Whistler

          That’s what I was referring to.

    • santiago

      You are asking to much, they barely understand simpler issues. Besides now the Church has really entered a new in an era of disrespect, intolerance and persecution towards her form all around, it not the first time and it will get a lot worse. Look at the case of the nun Diana Momeka, if that is not blatant discrimination I don’t know what is, and it is also an attack to all Christian needs in Iraq.

  • Watosh

    The thing that worries me does not pertain to the subject of marriage per se, it is this, if one states can declare same sex marriage valid and legal within that state and other states claim same sex marriage is invalid and illegal in their state then we have a disunity of laws for a basic situation in the various states. One of the things about the federal government is that it is to keep things uniform. Now I am firmly and absolutely against same sex marriage so I am not offering an argument for declaring same sex marriage is valid and legal for the United States, please, I am just concerned that the decision will end up legalizing same sex marriage on these grounds. They may talk about giving homosexuals nobility and respect etc. but I am afraid they willed up saying that banning same sex marriages is unconstitutional. I hope I am wrong, and I am not a lawyer, merely an observer, and a worrier, and I worry that the court will rule for “uniformity.”

    Of course these serial divorces that exist make marriage today a bit of a farce and undermines resistance to same sex marriage. The democratic secular state has ruined marriage already.

  • GG

    **These are very smart people, by the way. Well-educated, accomplished,
    prestigious professionals selected to shape the meaning of marriage in
    our society—still, their arguments are terrible. Not because
    they aren’t intelligent or trained or prepared, but simply because their
    starting point is an act of will, a fantasy. Marriage has a nature, it
    is a normative reality, and marriage can withstand the enormous weight
    of fulfilling human dignity because it really does have a structure and
    form supporting its nobility and sacredness.**

    This part is debatable. They may be credentialed, but not well educated. The self appointed overlords are mere technicians that frankly make absurd arguments. It is not they are so bright, it is that the population is so credulous and superficial in their grasp of reality and morality.

    What person with a modicum of reason would even consider such absurd arguments? We are dumber now than ever before.

    • Christi H

      Because we make the foolish assumption that if it seems simple and understandable, it is automatically ‘childish thinking,’ and that if it’s complex and paradoxical, and hard to understand, why, then it MUST be the wisest thing since Gandhi. Their arguments are nonsense, but smart as America could be if it wanted to be, our teenage country has the fatal flaw of fad-chasing, spurred by angsty self-doubt. So often, people of traditional view claim that non-traditional people make themselves the gods of their own religions, believing to be the arbiters of morality, beholden to none but their own conscience. But, in reality, Americans are run-aways, not so much believing in themselves and what they know, as fleeing the traditionally familiar and sane in favor of the flawed, because after all, we *must* have got it wrong the first time…right?

      • GG

        I think you are quite correct. My only input was to point out the “elite” are as facile as the masses. They reason by emotion and whatever they imbibe from pop culture. If you listened to the oral arguments you could imagine the same reasoning on Oprah or some stupid tv news magazine like 60 Minutes.

        We do not have an informed debate. We have relativistic bullies that cannot reason beyond their urges.

    • LarryCicero

      There is a difference between smart and intelligent. Smart can be cunning. They may be smart liars. Intelligence involves the ability to recognize truth. What we have are many people who are educated beyond their intelligence.

      • GG

        True. It used to be called being crafty.

      • Mike W

        Romans 1:22 they, who claimed to be so wise, turned fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the imperishable God for representations of perishable man, of bird and beast and reptile. 24 That is why God abandoned their lustful hearts to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies among themselves.

    • Vinny

      “The self appointed overlords are mere technicians…” Which is why they crafted “Common Core” so they have more unthinking technicians.

  • AcceptingReality

    It’s amazing to me that the very people who openly profess a belief in Evolution so openly support a proposal that will undoubtedly contribute to the de-evolution of society…..Call me a cynic but I really don’t trust the Supreme Court to do the right thing here.

    • Christi H

      Many of them are population control advocates. They don’t care if society devolves a little bit, since they want humanity’s influence to be significantly curtailed anyhow. They just don’t realize how horrendous the spiritual effect of their little social experiments will be. They are too blind to see the depravity of the forced sterilizations and population control of the 60s, the holocaust of abortion these bast 5 decades, and all the self-contentedness, breakdown families, and rampant disease of their precious sexual revolution.

    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

      I don’t trust the Supreme Court to do anything, including here in Canada, considering they are forcing euthanasia on us.

  • Vinny

    How many millions of words have been written simply to expound on one word, “disordered.”

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    “Acedia and Its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom in an Empire of Desire”. I’m beginning-of-the-month broke but there is NO WAY I cannot NOT buy a book with that title at once!

    • Tony

      Yours truly has read the page proofs, and provided an endorsement. It is a terrific book. Everybody here on the site should read it!

      • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

        I’ve already learned more from the title than I have from many a 300 page tome.

  • gfazzari

    Exceptional analysis. The discussion needs to continue as we probe the depths to which our culture has ascended, and what the reaction of the faithful must be. We all have an innate understanding of the depravity of “same-sex” marriage, but articulating the obvious is sometimes most difficult.

    • Jason Wills

      I think you mean “the depths to which our culture has descended”.

  • hombre111

    In general, a good, cautious article. But the author apparently doesn’t know some of the homosexual couples I have known, or he would speak a little more softly about their dignity and integrity. The real damage to marriage has already been done by heterosexual Hollywood style serial polygamists who rush carelessly into one marriage after another.

    • GG

      Ah, the propagandist returns to defend deviancy. Why set up this false comparison? No one here supports broken marriages or perpetual adultery. No, that is not the issue. The issue is children. Who defends them? Not you.

      The dignity of homosexual persons living a disordered life has to do with their choices. In fact, their choices affect us all especially any poor kids that they may have custody of.

      • hombre111

        Hmm. Don’t know if it is a false comparison or not. If the issue at hand is the defense of the dignity of marriage, then what is being defended is an institution already badly tattered by married people themselves. But if the issue is children, then old and infertile couples should not marry.

        I know a small sample does not an argument make, but I do know of more than one lesbian couple whose children seem to be fine, healthy, and heterosexual. This is a statistic still waiting to be gathered, pro or con.

        • GG

          Oh, for goodness sakes. Marriage is bad shape in our culture. So, the answer is two men acting like a husband and wife? Huh? How is that logical?

          To compare elderly folks and infertile couples to homosexual pairings is, frankly, despicable. It is an outrage and totally uncalled for. We are so debased that we now reason like barbarians. There is no comparison. Why bring it up?

          I do not now what criteria you are using to claim the poor kids are fine? We are not mere utilitarians who lower bar to the point as long as one is not robbing a bank then one is good and reasonable. The standard is not surviving a bizarre upbringing.

          • Scott W.

            This whole “heterosexuals wrecked marriage first, so who are we to stop homosex marriages?” is as silly as saying that since Joe foolishly set fire to his house, we should ignore his pleas and just let the whole block burn down.

            • GG

              Exactly. When some refuse to view the gay lobby with the gravity it deserves then some will deflect the argument.

          • hombre111

            As I said, gay marriage is really new in the story of things. Those statistics about children have to be worked out. And to say that marriage is all about children is just too easy to refute. What about those who can’t have children? Is theirs and inferior partnership?

            As for two men or two women being spouses? We have more in common than what divides us. Lesbians and gays have been hidden out of sight for thousands of years, bearing contempt, even their lives in danger. Now that they are finally in the open, everything is confused. We can no longer just stomp on them. We have to figure out what true equality means. We are just at the beginning of finding their role in society.

        • LarryCicero

          Interesting that you lump heterosexual in with fine and healthy.

    • disqus_qkOcYNTXOW

      “The real damage to marriage has already been done by heterosexual Hollywood style serial polygamists who rush carelessly into one marriage after another.”

      I think you’re speaking some truth here, as marriage, as well as the state of living chaste before marriage, has been chewed up and spit out by the makers of TV shows, books, and movies. I think about those bachelor shows where people get married, only so they can make money. Look at the farce wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, who made millions for their blasphemy of marriage. We need to speak out about this disrespect of the sacrament of marriage as well.

  • Pat

    For Catholics, isn’t it true that marriage is all about The Sacrament of Matrimony? That is what I remember learning in The Baltimore Catechism. I tried to live that reality for 46 years with my husband and children. Did The Sacrament of , who has the knowledge, can take up this subject, if indeed it is relevant to the problems we are experiencing today, such as a divorce rate among Catholics equal to secular marriages.

  • Ruth Rocker

    To begin with, Roe v. Wade should be thrown out wholesale. The data on which the case was based was falsified as testified to by one of the original litigants. In any other case, if this was found to be true, the entire case would be thrown out.

    And this is not now and never has been about who can get “married” legally. This is a full-scale, frontal assault on normalcy. The gaystapo wants to tear down normal society and rebuilt it in their warped sense of “reality” in which their sinfulness is seen as normal and celebrated while penalizing what used to be normal. If civil unions were made legal in every state and given the same tax breaks and other rights and benefits they holler about, they would still not be happy. They would still push to redefine what is considered normal.

    Lord protect us from the current form of lunacy running rampant on the planet. And please stop sending down any more idiots – we’re full up!!

  • autom8

    If the supreme court rules in favor of same sex marriage, churches could lose their tax-exempt status
    Why are the bishops, priests and the hierarchy (USCCB) keeping the laity in the dark about the possibility of our churches losing their tax-exempt status?
    You bishops are so quick to inter the political arena to the point of neglecting
    your mission of saving souls, why are you not pushing back for the Lord on this issue?
    Could it be that there own lawyers overlooked this huge fact? Who is fighting for the laity?
    The bishops go to word these days is Pastoral, right? In years past you could expect to have a letter read in church from his Excellency to take some form of action, no more! How in God’s name can
    information come down to us concerned Catholics if they wont speak there mind, warning us of impending dangers.
    We must pray to Our Lady of Fatima that the court will uphold one man and one woman!

    • Blobee

      I hate to say this, but I heard that the Church in the U.S. is riddled with gay clerics and lay people at every level, many who have great influence over the bishops (perhaps some are bishops). If this is true, I fear we will hear nary a peep from the USCCB because the gay men in the Church are controlling what gets supported and what meets with silence.

      • autom8

        Thanks Blobee, it hadn’t accrued to me that this could be the reason for silence.
        We must pray to Our Lady of Fatima that the court will uphold one man and one woman! We must all remember that unless the consecration of Russia is performed–As Our Lady Asked, the dark prophecies of Fatima may well come to pass very soon! This action by the Holy Father and Bishops is paramount!

        • Blobee

          Yes, autom8, I am praying so hard, every day. I am praying in particular, by name, for each Justice, for a conversion of their heart, and I am praying for them as a whole, for all the people who work for them who will influence what they write and say. God has not forgotten us; there is still hope, but not if we just accept whatever is being done to us, and not beg Him for help. I know you are praying too, and I will join with you in Spirit to pray together to Our Lady in Christ, that this punishment may not visit our country.

  • VP Mary

    The best article I’ve read so far on the issue of so-called same sex marriage. I only wish our Supreme Court Justices would use this in their deliberations.

    • Really? I thought it was a lot of hand-wringing and very little substance.

      • VP Mary

        “Such nature is not a matter of social convention, or choice, or the “right side of history,” or human law, or the fruits of social science. Marriage is the permanent and exclusive one flesh union of a man and woman naturally fulfilled by the bearing and raising of children”
        No handwringing there.

  • Tom Saltsman

    “Pass not beyond the ancient bounds which thy fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28, Douay-Rheims Bible.

  • Silver

    The pope said marriage is between a man and a women. I doubt 6 Catholics on Supreme Court want the whole church mad at them

  • Silver

    Are the rabbis still pounding at Kagan and Ginsberg to step down from case?

  • Mal

    Of Course, Mr Kennedy, it is “very difficult for the Court to say, oh well, we know better.” In fact, it would be improper for the Court to do so. The politicians and the judges did not create marriage; our human nature did. Please do not try to interfere with or try to corrupt nature.
    Climate change causes some problems but marriage change will hurt society at its very foundation. Marriage is the one and only human relationship that nourishes, stabilizes and sustains society. Don’t fool around with it.

  • licjjs

    This is an invaluable article for those who want to keep a clear mind when answering those challenging why we disagree with ‘gay marriage’. To my mind, a lot of the arguments are weak precisely because what is taking place is rationalisation rather than reasoning. People – including judges – have decided that this is what they want and turn mental somersaults trying to find a good reason for it. Pros might allege the same thing against the cons but, as Justice Kennedy says, the burden of proof surely lies with those wanting to radically change what men and women have understood by marriage for millennia. Even in societies where homosexuality was accepted, marriage was still between a man and a woman. It is massively important to define what marriage is because lack of understanding not only leads two men to claim that they love and care for each other and so should be allowed to marry, but also leads some heterosexual couples to ‘marry’ when they have no grasp that feelings have very little to do with the essential meaning of marriage.

  • Jacqueleen

    It isn’t the Court’s role in government to re-define marriage…their role is to interpret the Constitution! Period! There is a law on the books, DOMA that already delivered a verdict on the definition of marriage….It is not for the court to change the definition to please the emotions of a small but loud group of protesters. The Supreme Court Justices read the news and watch TV, they know that the gay community DO NOT WANT MARRIAGE. They have another agenda and that is the catastrophic “results” of the new definition of marriage on the Catholic and other Christian Churches and some Synagogues! If the S.C judges change the definition of marriage then all citizens of the USA will know for sure that the Court is corrupt!

  • Blobee

    Want to see what homosexuals REALLY have in mind as an end game? Check out this web site. And check out the “signatories.” Not a list of lightweights.
    BeyondMarriage.org

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