|Credit: Chuck Berman of the Chicago Tribune|
Contributing to the discussion of “marriage” between persons of the same sex is as challenging as the subject is complicated. The first word right now should be one of gratitude to the many citizens of Illinois who have said to our legislators what we know to be true from nature itself: two persons of the same sex cannot be physically joined in a marital union.
A word of special thanks is due the Protestant pastors from the African American community, for whom the Word of God in the Bible is a sure and absolute guide to life, in public and in private. The words of Jesus are as true today as when he spoke them to the Pharisees: “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two but one” (Mt 19: 4-6).
For many, the concern most often expressed in the public debate is for the family, for recognizing the ties between a child and his or her mother and father, together in marriage for the sake of protecting and forming the next generation of the human race.
The opposite voice in the discussion speaks from a different base. The plausibility of the legislative proposal to create a marriage based on sexual relations between people of the same sex comes from a cultural shift regarding marriage. Many, unfortunately, now see marriage only as a private, two-person relationship based on love and sexual attraction rather than as a public social institution governing family life. Further, the claim that one is not equal under law is powerful in our society; it makes one a victim. And the claim that one is being demeaned and personally wounded is even more powerful evidence of victimization. Finally, in a post-Freudian culture one should be free to act on every sexual desire, provided there is no coercion in the relationship.
Nonetheless, the legal creation of what is naturally impossible is not inevitable. Cultural change can be redirected so that the long road to obtain respect that has been traveled by many homosexually oriented persons can be maintained without destroying the institution of natural marriage. Since the difference between men and women is different from racial difference, same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. A newly invented civil right cannot be used to destroy a moral good, lest society itself go into decline.
What comes next in this public discussion? Concern for strengthening family life was a topic for the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council recently. The results of their excellent deliberations and suggestions for help on this issue can be found by going into the “Archive” section of the archdiocesan blog on our website, www.archchicago.org/blog.
continue at Catholic New World