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Getting the Marriage Conversation Right

March 25, AD2013 34 Comments

\"Patti

“This disgusts me, how sick for you all to discriminate against same sex marriage…Its [sic] 2013 [sic] can\’t you guys grow up and see the new age of non­discrimination and living without judgment?”

‐Comment on Catholics for the Common Good Facebook page

The above argument is one that William B. May knows well. He is the author of the new booklet, Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: a Guide for Effective Dialogue, and is the President of Catholics for the Common Good (CCG). He says that too often, proponents of traditional marriage are put on the defensive with such attacks.

“We don’t buy into the other side’s argument,” May said in an interview. “Instead, I would ask, what does this have to do with the only institution that unites children to their moms and dads?” This is a question that he hopes will be clearly addressed to the U.S. Supreme Court this week during oral arguments, which begin Tuesday, March 26th, on California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. This case will be the first presented to the U.S. Supreme Court and then will be followed by oral arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act\’s (DOMA) denial of government benefits to same‐sex spouses. May says that the real question is not whether to let homosexuals marry but whether to redefine marriage or not. Under the current definition of marriage, he says it is an institution that unites children to their mother and father. Thus, marriage between two homosexuals is not possible without completely changing its purpose.

May does not use the words “same‐sex marriage” or “gay marriage” because, according to him, those terms confuse the issue. Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: a Guide for Effective Dialoguepublished by Emmaus Road Publishing helps deprogram people’s thinking from cultural misperceptions on the purpose for marriage and then explains how to defend it  without religious arguments or discussing sexual preferences which lead people off the topic.

A key point May presents in this book is that a mother and a father are irreplaceable to children. “We approach marriage from the perspective that a child has a right to be born into a family with the mother and father as a matter of justice,” May says. “The relationship to our parents is very significant, and there is the desire to know and be loved by the person we originated from.” The bottom line is that marriage is about the rights of children. That, he hopes, is what the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering when they listen to oral arguments on the issue of marriage this week.

Society’s Loss of Understanding Marriage

William B. May acknowledges that society has lost the understanding that marriage is for children and not just a public statement about adult relationships. He points out that divorce is not the only problem depriving children of the connection with both their mother and father; but that there has been a huge decrease in people getting married. “In just 30 years, the marriage rate per 1000 unmarried women has declined more than 43 percent. Births to unmarried mothers are now over 41 percent among all women, and 73 percent among African Americans,” he writes.

“And there lies the root problem,” according to May. “Children are not being protected through marriages. Instead, society has come to regard marriage as the public recognition of a relationship rather than it’s original intent: to unite a man and women with each other and to any children born from them. The couple becomes irreplaceable to each other and irreplaceable to their children just as their children are irreplaceable to them,” he says.

May decries that half of young people think families without both a mother and father are acceptable. He states, however, that fatherlessness harms individuals and society, leading to drastic increases in crime, depression, youth violence, poverty, drugs, and gangs, out of wedlock pregnancies, school dropout and incredibly high murder rates.

The fact that society has lost respect for marriage does not dissuade May from using logic to defend it. “Even if we never knew our mother and father; or by some circumstances, felt alienated from them, the desire is still there. Contemplating this, the reality of marriage in God’s plan for creation becomes apparent to all, but is not dependent on belief in God. It is a fact stamped right into our very nature,” he writes.

May contends that the very fact that we are in the middle of a never‐ending debate about marriage is evidence of cultural confusion. As a result, a Stand with Children movement was created by Catholics for the Common Good (CCG) to help train people to evangelize the culture on marriage and family. The project was put on hold when the California Catholic Conference asked CCG to lead the lay Catholic campaign to support Proposition 8. In November 2008, a majority of voters passed it, overturning the California Supreme Courts ruling that had overturned the state’s marriage protection law adopted by the voters in 2000.

The victory restored the traditional definition of marriage by placing it in the state constitution, out of the reach of the state courts. However, the fight now continues all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Through CCG’s work on the campaign, a program to train volunteer leadership teams evolved. May’s book was written as a training manual based on Catholic social teaching, and particularly the teaching of Blessed John Paul II on marriage, the family and the human person.

“We know what marriage is down deep,” May writes. “We know what our faith teaches about it, but how to express what we know to be true and cannot be any other way is challenging in this culture.”

Effectively Dialoging on Marriage

“I wanted to help navigate those concerned through the common pitfalls and equip them to effectively dialogue on Marriage. I also wanted to help them to avoid making marriage a gay vs. Christian issue,” explains May. In this 70‐page “how to” guide for an effective dialogue on marriage, May presents clear, concise facts and helps to equip the reader to answer those tough questions many struggle with, and coaches them to avoid getting confused and going off on tangents. He encourages with hope, information, warnings against common pitfalls, and teaches them techniques for disarming the opponent.

For instance, May instructs people not to say children “need” a mother and a father, but instead, focus on the fact that every child has a mother and father, and that they have a fundamental human right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their mother and father. This takes the argument from opinion to fact.

In his book, May warns against traps such as: don’t let the discussion shift from marriage to competency of parenting, don’t say, “we believe,” when you mean “we know,” and to avoid debates about homosexuality. He explains why they are traps and provides alternative arguments.

May also poses common questions and supplies responses in this marriage dialogue manual such as: Why do you oppose “same­-sex marriage”? Answer: “I don’t oppose ‘same‐sex marriage’; I oppose redefining marriage to accommodate same‐sex couples. There is a big difference. While I am sympathetic to the sincere and loving same‐sex couples who desire to marry, the consequences of redefining marriage are too great.”

May’s marriage guide, Getting the Marriage Conversation Right, is available both paperback and Kindle versions, for anyone wanting to learn ways to defend their values. It will help train leaders and speakers and serve as a handy reference when questions come up in conversations with family and friends. Even many secular leaders see May’s book as a “must have” in every family’s library. Former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston, Raymond L. Flynn, refers to May’s book as essential reading. He states, “This communication guide is an invaluable resource for answering questions and explaining what is at stake for the future of marriage and the rights of children if marriage is redefined. Every family should have one.”

May hopes that people who read his book will have the courage to allow the Holy Spirit to work in them as they better understand this issue, so that when the opportunity knocks to discuss marriage, they can gracefully and poignantly “get the marriage conversation right.”

In addition to what May believes are God‐given truths about marriage, he encourages humility when learning a new way to approach something ‐ especially something that is so common to us like marriage. He states, “We must all proceed with humility to recognize that we are all in need of learning and formation. We owe this to our children. After all, the children are the ones suffering here. Remember, even Jesus told us, ‘Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:4)

As we begin Holy Week, let us take to heart the wisdom from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, who May quotes: “Dismantling the inhuman parody we call ‘modern American culture’ begins not with violence but with the conversion of our own hearts. . . Your task . . . is to strengthen that spirit in each other . . . and to instill it in all the people you reach with the extraordinary skills God has given you. If you do only that, but do it well, then God will do the rest.”

© 2013. Patti Maguire Armstrong. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. Her newest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, a collection of stories to inspire family love, and Dear God, I Don't Get It and the sequel, Dear God, You Can't Be Serious; children's fiction that feeds the soul through a fun and exciting story. Read more at Catholic News and Inspiration and follow her at Twitter. Please "Like" her Facebook pages: DearGodBooks, BigHeartedFamilies, and A GPS Guide to Heaven and Earth.

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  • http://None Sharon Kass

    We won’t stop the assault on marriage until we end the fraud of the normal “gay.”

    Homosexuality and transgenderism are preventable and treatable. This is key. Speak out!

    http://www.narth.com
    http://www.gaytostraight.org
    http://www.peoplecanchange.com
    http://www.pfox.org

  • ELP

    “Why do you oppose “same -sex marriage”? Answer: “I don’t oppose ‘same‐sex marriage’; I oppose redefining marriage to accommodate same‐sex couples.”

    this is verbiage

    If people against it want to win they have to dispute the core tenet of liberalism, that egalitarianism (gender egalitarianism specifically in this case) is the highest good. Of course this argument will be viewed as reactionary by a lot of people but it’s really the only principled non-religious argument to make against it.

    Otherwise you get what you have today: meek “I believe in traditional marriage, but I respect alternate viewpoints” from people like the House majority leader, vs. people who not only don’t respect opposing viewpoints, but think they are evil.

    • Stephen

      “this is verbiage”

      I disagree; this is an important distinction. One cannot oppose something that does not and cannot exist. To state that one opposes same-sex “marriage” is to acknowledge it as a reality…precious ground in this battle that cannot be given up.

      It sounds like your bigger issue may be with another statement from that paragraph: “While I am sympathetic to the sincere and loving same‐sex couples who desire to marry…” I can see how on its face this may sound like a tacit endorsement of homosexual relations; but I don’t think that is what it is. I think we can acknowledge that those with same-sex attraction can truly feel a profound love for another person of the same sex. We can make no judgement on a person’s sincerity, or what they feel. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have in oneself both the very natural, ordered human desire to join with another person in the one-flesh union we call marriage, and the opposing disordered sexual desire toward only those with whom this union is an ontological impossibility. I don’t think this is “respecting other people’s viewpoints”, as much as acknowledging the universal human desires we all share.

      I agree that this false egalitarianism is part of the problem. It is no longer about equality, but sameness. Natural difference is seen as a barrier to equality; hence we see the current effort to detach gender from biological reality.

      It’s also important here to understand that “winning” the battle over the destruction of civil marriage isn’t the primary goal. The goal is to remain obedient to our Lord, Jesus Christ and getting to heaven, bringing as many people with us as we can. If that means we have to humble ourselves a little more to meet people where they are (without compromising the Truth, of course), then so be it.

  • http://pattimaguirearmstrong@mac.com Patti

    Stephen,
    You hit the nail on the head and I believe the author would agree with you. Showing compassion does not mean showing acceptance of choices contrary to Catholic teaching. Love does not mean loving all once choices. It’s such a fine line between rejecting sin but not rejecting persons. Unfortunately, we are human and often find it difficult not to reject people when they are fighting for issues that are contrary to are closely held values. The other side, those attacking traditional marriage, want to put us in the box of hating them so as to present us as a bunch of bigots. The author of “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right,” warns against getting pulled into that trap. He says to keep the conversation about marriage and don’t make it about the homosexual movement.

  • ELP

    Stephen — nah I didn’t have an issue with that quote. I’m speaking as someone who was raised Catholic and has recently been going back to church but has difficulty accepting all of its teachings (and if I can’t resolve this I would not continue to go because I feel that’s dishonest.) I think it’s clear that homosexuality is generally not a choice, although there is some ambiguity (bisexuality) that kinda puts me off its complete normalization, which of course is the goal.

    My point in saying it’s verbiage is that the guy’s basically just rhetorically dressing up what still amounts to being against same-sex marriage. I think the issue is that people have internalized the gay marriage movement’s equality rhetoric and want to somehow frame their opposition in egalitarian terms. A better response might be, why shouldn’t we have gender in some way in family law? Why do we need stuff like “Parent 1 Parent 2″ on forms to be fair (and this will happen, as a logical consequence, in a post-gay marriage society?) I realize this might strike some people as grasping for straws, but I am interested in a possible middle-ground consensus that society comes to, that does not shun homosexuals/try in vain to “cure” them like this country did in the past but acknowledges principled reasons for making a distinction. It’s probably too late though.

  • Nathan

    Great points, but I wonder if a purely secular argument will ever ultimately succeed. The ancient Greeks and Romans were in favor of abortion, homosexual activity (although not marriage), etc. The early Church changed ancient culture (and the law) not through secular arguments, but by converting the society to Christ. We are, increasingly, living in a post-Christian society and widespread acceptance of homosexual activity (and with it SSM) is a direct result of our neo-pagan culture. Perhaps, the only way we will reestablish Traditional Marriage is by making disciples, is to make this a fully Catholic country. He is Risen, Indeed!

    • Patti Maguire Armstrong

      I agree that without God our society is headed down the wrong path. The author, William May, points out that things are not true because they are in the Bible, but they are in the Bible because they are true. He is a solid Catholic seeking to serve God and teach the truth. Given that hard-headedness of so many and the fact that those in favor of same-sex marriage reject God-given truths, he shows people how to defend traditional marriage without God. He explains it from tradition and history across all cultures as an institution that unites children with their parents. Truly though, Christians need to be like those of early times–on fire for Christ and being strong in a culture that rejects us much of the time.

  • http://www.alabamacatholicresources.com Steve

    I think the article was very well done. I might have mentioned, too, that much of this problem began with acceptance of artificial birth control. The late Pope Paul VI predicted it all. If we accept artificial contraception, then sex changes from being primarily about creating new life to “my pleasure.” Once that happens, then the door is open for “legalized” abortion, euthanasia, rampant divorce, homosexuality, and all sorts of other ills, eventually leading to the total demise of society.

    Part of the problem, too, is our broken educational system, where children are no longer taught critical thinking skills. They cannot follow a thought through to its logical conclusion. They are taught to “feel” now instead of “think.” This is now generational. We now have a society who gets their information mostly from the national media, who have a clear, anti-God agenda. I could go on and on about these things, but suffice it to say that the moral demise of a nation always precedes its ultimate demise. That’s where we are now.

    • Patti Maguire Armstrong

      Amen to that! Pope Paul VI was prophetic but few listened. Now we are reaping the results.

  • Travis

    “Under the current definition of marriage, he says it is an institution that unites children to their mother and father.”…

    …and he is wrong. That is called “birth”. Millions of children are born to unwed parents, parents that play active roles in the upbringing of a child. To say that without marriage that there is no union between the child and his/her parents is astoundingly ignorant and dismissive.

    “For instance, May instructs people not to say children “need” a mother and a father, but instead, focus on the fact that every child has a mother and father, and that they have a fundamental human right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their mother and father. This takes the argument from opinion to fact.”

    No it doesn’t as “rights” are the opinions of man and not facts. Nowhere in the Bible does God dole out the rights to free speech, the right to fair and speedy trial, the right against unlawful searches and seizures, or many of the other “rights” we receive in America. Also, they are not “rights” if someone can take them away, they are just privileges.

    Also, if “every child has a mother and father, and that they have a fundamental human right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their mother and father.” then Catholics should be against adoption, especially the adoption of babies as babies don’t have a choice/voice in the matter at all. By advocating adoption, Catholics are allowing the parents of a child to trample on the rights of the child.

    Homosexuals are not asking for the Catholic church to allow them to be married in the church, just to be married legally so they can receive the same legal benefits as others. If Catholics want to keep them from being married in their church, go ahead, it’s your club and you can decide who you let in or not but please, keep your flawed ideology and blatant bigotry out of the public forum. Catholics don’t really seem to know how to handle homosexuality within the church itself, let alone telling people outside of it how to handle it.

  • Patti Maguire Armstrong

    The book author, consistently argues that making this about homosexuality is getting the marriage debate off track, although I know that this is the issue at hand. The big problem in our society is a lack of respecting marriage as an institution that unites families. Sociologists agree that the breakdown of families due to a lack of 2-parents, is having serious consequences in our country. Prisons and impoverished are largely represented by those that come from fatherless homes.

    As for adoption, it is an act of charity to care for children who are unable to be raised by their own mother and father but every child does have a mother and a father–it’s a fact of nature. It is natural to want to feel that connection to having a mother and a father, also. At any rate, saying the Church is telling people how to handle homosexuality is simplistic. The fact that there is moral teaching is the work of the Church. But the marriage issue goes far beyond the church. Allowing same-sex couples to marry, redefines marriage and will make it unconstitutional to promote traditional marriage because it would be showing preference and could be seen as discriminatory. Also, already in states such as OR, there are lawsuits for business that feel it goes against their conscience to provide services for same-sex weddings. But with such laws, people are forced to or be charged with discrimination. So this issue affects us all in many ways.

    • Travis

      The only reason there is a discussion about redefining marriage is because many religious groups, especially Catholics, have been instrumental and very successful for years in denying homosexuals the same rights in the public arena that heterosexuals enjoy. This has been done in large part by elected officials taking their religious beliefs and legislating them.

      While true that prisons and the impoverished are largely represented by those that come from fatherless homes, it’s unfair to use that statement because poverty is the factor that drives the others, not vice-versa. Poverty is directly related to crime, and crime is directly related to fatherless children. It’s pretty hard to have kids that grow up with fathers around when we’re busy jailing them left and right or they are ending up on the business end of a bullet.

      Saying the church is telling people how to handle homosexuality is simplistic because that is exactly what it is. The church makes no bones about the fact that they view homosexuality as a sin and that it is expressly forbidden. There are no minced words or maybes about homosexuality within the Catholic church at all.

      Also, saying that “allowing same-sex couples to marry, redefines marriage and will make it unconstitutional to promote traditional marriage because it would be showing preference and could be seen as discriminatory” is a ridiculous notion and has no basis in fact. No church or private business is obligated to service same-sex couples and their right to speak out against it is covered under the 1st Amendment so your whole fear right there has just been denounced. Additionally, redefining marriage is not a change in the Constitution, it is the change in/of DOMA, thus further squashing your notion of the church having to stop promoting traditional marriage. Promote it all you want but do it within the confines of your Chateau de Jesus and your homes but don’t bring it out into the public square where it affects everyone.

      Again, just as blacks were not kicking down the doors of the Supreme Court to get government-forced membership rights into the KKK or Augusta National, gays are not trying to get their marriages legitimized by the Pope. All they are asking for are the same marital rights as heterosexuals enjoy in the civil arena. Civil marriage is not the same as religious marriage and you can have one without the other.

  • Patti Maguire Armstrong

    I will not apologize for following the Catholic Church. I don’t pick and choose the easy teachings but submit to them all.

    This would be redefining marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage is a recent one. All Christians should treat one another with love and respect, but that does not mean we must accept all actions. The problem has become that we are not allowed to hold to our religious beliefs. There are lawsuits of discrimination if someone does not want to do business for a gay wedding. Fifty years ago, the idea of same sex marriages was not even imagined in our society. Now, anyone who does not go along is called a bigot.

    • Travis

      “All Christians should treat one another with love and respect, but that does not mean we must accept all actions.”

      If you do not accept all of their actions then you do not truly respect them and that phrase is just a cop-out. These people are not murderers, rapists, or child molesters (people who don’t deserve anyone’s respect). They are people that simply want to have the same benefits that heterosexuals have. Again, they are not asking that the church accepts them, they just want to be treated as equals by the government, which they should be.

      Also, it is perfectly acceptable to call people who are against gay marriage bigots because they are exactly that: someone who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. Being against homosexual marraige is just as prejudice as trying to keep black children out of white schools or making them sit in the back of the bus. Hatered and disgust of homosexuals is something that is taught and reinforced through religion and it is shameful that you should sit there and tell others that they shouldn’t be able to legally enjoy the same things you do just because they are homosexuals.

      Again, if you want to keep them out of your Catholic club, then by all means, go for it but to exclude them from the public square is not very Christ-like of any of you. But as you do, you should remember this: Every social issue this country has faced from blacks to women has blown up in the face of the hatred and bigotry spewed at the minority group. Gays will eventually get the right to be married legally under federal law, as well as state law, it’s just a matter of time and it’s not because this country has lost it’s moral compass, it’s that we are finally finding it.

    • Nathan

      “If you do not accept all of their actions then you do not truly respect them and that phrase is just a cop-out. These people are not murderers, rapists, or child molesters (people who don’t deserve anyone’s respect).”

      We fundamentally disagree. Murderers, rapists, etc deserve respect because they are still human beings, thus we ban cruel and unusual punishment in this country. Further, you must not respect me or any Catholics as you don’t approve of all my actions (such as opposing “gay marriage”). Does that make you a bigot? Surely you must consider yourself a bigot, that is “someone who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices,” as you are quite obstinate in your belief that homosexuals should have the right to marry. You seem very confused. I’ve never heard anyone argue that there should be a ban on homosexuals marrying. Show me one law in one state that requires the couple getting married to be heterosexual. Everyone already has an equal right to marry in this country – any unmarried man can marry any unmarried woman (regardless of sexual orientation) and vice versa. The question here is not one of allowing same sex attracted individuals to marry, the question is WHAT IS MARRIAGE. We are arguing that marriage simply IS the union of one man and one woman ordered to the procreation of children. That simply is what marriage is. It is no more discrimination to uphold that than it is to uphold that only human females are women (i.e. that human males are NOT women). Do you feel that definition of “woman” is bigoted? Should we change that definition if some human males “feel” like women?

    • Travis

      “Further, you must not respect me or any Catholics as you don’t approve of all my actions (such as opposing “gay marriage”). Does that make you a bigot?”

      No, it does not because all you have done here is try to meld two separate things I put forth here into one. Yes, I don’t agree with Catholic teaching because it is historically and scientifically wrong (which is a whole other argument), but I respect your right to believe whatever it is that you want to believe when it comes to religion and what it practices and teaches. It doesn’t however mean that you are not wrong. If you believe that blacks should have the same rights as whites but not that homosexuals should have the rights as straight people, you are indeed a bigot. I don’t qualify for a bigot because of the part of the definition of bigot that says “and prejudices”. I do not hold prejudices. The Catholic church on the other hand teaches prejudices towards homosexuals and women on the reg.

      “I’ve never heard anyone argue that there should be a ban on homosexuals marrying. Show me one law in one state that requires the couple getting married to be heterosexual. Everyone already has an equal right to marry in this country – any unmarried man can marry any unmarried woman (regardless of sexual orientation) and vice versa”

      As of Nov. 7, 2012, gay marriage has been legalized in nine US states (ME, MD, MA, CT, IA, VT, NH, NY, and WA) and the District of Columbia. Thirty-eight states have banned gay marriage through either laws or constitutional amendments or both. THIRTY-EIGHT states. Got that? Do you know what “gay marriage” is? It’s when two people of the same-sex want to get married. If two people of the same sex want to get married it’s pretty safe to assume that they are having sex and if two people of the same sex are having sex with each other, they are homosexuals. Gay marriage almost 100% of the time involves homosexuals. You can lawyer and wordsmith all you want but the fact remains that religious bigots like yourself seek to deny those that are not heterosexuals the right to marry.

      “We are arguing that marriage simply IS the union of one man and one woman ordered to the procreation of children.”

      You are arguing for what Catholics believe should be the law, a law which specifically excludes homosexuals. Now why would you do that? Maybe it’s because of the hatred and bigotry the church has for these people? Nauh, it certainly couldn’t be that at all.

    • Nathan

      Firstly, I’m glad to see you have repudiated your previous comment, i.e. “If you do not accept all of …(someone’s) actions then you do not truly respect them” as that is an insane proposition. I didn’t think you actually believed that. I can’t think of anyone who I accept everything they do as good, including myself.

      Secondly, I never said “gay marriage” was not banned (it is impossible and as such has been “banned” by every government in the history of mankind), I said homosexuals are not banned from marriage. EVERY man (regardless of sexual predilections) has the right to be married to exactly one woman at a time. There is NO state (and never has been one) where a man cannot marry a woman because that man is attracted to men, such a law simply does not exist (and never has).

      Thirdly, “I don’t qualify for a bigot because of the part of the definition of bigot that says “and prejudices”. I do not hold prejudices.” I don’t hold prejudices either. I simply conform my mind to reality. It is not a prejudice to acknowledge a FACT of nature, a Scientific Fact, that the sexual union of a man and a woman is Qualitatively (not just quantitatively) different from the union of two men or two women. You may not like that, but it doesn’t make it untrue. You may call nature a “bigot” but it doesn’t make it untrue. You seem to equate “prejudices” with “things you don’t agree with.”

      Fourthly, your analogy between a black and white person marrying to two men marrying is ridiculous and insulting to the brave black men and women (primarily motivated by Christianity) who fought against racial discrimination. Just saying “a black and a white used not to be able to marry” does not make every restriction on marriage invalid. Does “a black and a white used not to be able to marry” mean that 5 people should be able to marry each other? Or 1 person? Or person and a building? Or me and my dog? Of course not. Some restrictions on marriage are just, others are unjust. Not allowing a black man to marry a white woman is unjust. Not pretending two men are married is just. Your analogy crumbles because you fail to show the moral equivalence between being black and being attracted to members of your same sex (because there isn’t one). Why is it unjust to forbid the marriage of a man and woman from different races? Because of what marriage IS – namely the conjugal union of a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of children. Being of two races has nothing to do with what marriage IS, being of the same sex does.

      Fourthly, have you read the article or any of the comments? No one has called anyone hateful names (except you yourself). No one has spewed hatred (except you yourself). No one is acting like a bigot (except you yourself). I know you are arguing for a demonstrably false position, but avoiding being hateful might be a better way to convince people your opponents are the haters.

      Lastly, you said that I am “arguing for what Catholics believe should be the law.” Yes, I am arguing for what I believe should be the law. You are arguing for what you believe should be the law. That’s why we are arguing. That’s not bigotry, that’s sanity. What should I be arguing for? What I believe shouldn’t be the law?

      God Bless.

  • Patti Maguire Armstrong

    Marriage throughout all of history and cultures has been an institution that unites children with their parents. You now want to make it something else and call anyone who does not agree a bigot. Marriage is not a public announcement on two people’s feelings for one another.

    • Travis

      “Marriage throughout all of history and cultures has been an institution that unites children with their parents.” No it hasn’t. That is just rhetoric that has been masterfully crafted by someone to exclude certain people.

      “You now want to make it something else and call anyone who does not agree a bigot.”

      Yes, I will call them a bigot because that is what they are. Just because it has existed for thousands of years does not make it right. Until the New Testament came along it was perfectly acceptable for kings, preists, and judges to carry out the old laws of God (and in some faiths it still is).

      “Marriage is not a public announcement on two people’s feelings for one another.” Oh yea? Then why is there usually a large wedding ceremony? If they wanted to keep it between themselves then they wouldn’t have a big party with all of their friends and family.

      Marriage is not some strictly defined term as you are trying to make it just to argue that gay/homosexual marriage shouldn’t be legal. Marriage within a church is different than marriage within law. The two are separate entities and thus should and do have different meanings. It was decided long ago that letting the church make all the rules/laws was a very bad idea and that there should be a separation of them and while that hasn’t really been the truth in this country, what has been true of it has proven to be a great success.

  • Patti Maguire Armstrong

    I like how Archbishop Chaput explains it in a recent National Catholic Register article.
    Proposition 8 passed by a clear majority in a 2008 statewide popular vote. DOMA passed by large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. In the years since, same-sex lobbyists have relentlessly attacked both laws. To one degree or another, many of the nation’s mainstream media have joined in the effort to reshape public opinion and to argue for what partisans describe as “marriage equality.”
    The latter slogan — marriage equality — has essentially shut down serious thought. Persons with same-sex attraction have the same basic dignity as other people and the same right to be free from fear and intimidation. But a right to redefine the nature of marriage does not follow. In fact, the marriage debate has now morphed into emotionally streamlined theater, with same-sex couples cast as victims unjustly denied their rights, and supporters of traditional marriage cast as misguided fearmongers and bigots.
    The high court itself may be unwilling to deal with the moral and physical realities key to the marriage debate. Marriage is a gendered institution. It’s ordered, in principle, toward the procreation and rearing of children. Subverting its nature has deep organizational consequences for society and subtly increases the power of the state.

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/tools-for-knowing-the-nature-of-marriage-and-the-source-of-human-thriving/#ixzz2PjHJUNvp

  • Mark

    I appreciate the argument that the Mays is trying to make, but it really paints him into a corner. If it were true that the sole purpose of marriage was to unify children, then we wouldn’t allow anyone over age of 55 to marry. How many widows and widowers have re-married later in life? My grandfather was 70 years of age when he took his second wife and there was certainly no way that they were having children. Does that make him immoral? Was he abusing the sanctity of marriage?
    Though well-intentioned, the argument is logically inconsistent. If we truly believed that the sole purpose of marriage is to have children, we would be confirming that ANY couple who wants to get married is fertile and biologically capable of having children. Everyone recognizes that the benefits of marriage extend beyond the ability to have children. This is simply a false argument. I respect that the argument is trying to uphold the sanctity of marriage, but false arguments will always fail.

    • Nathan

      I think you are misunderstanding the definition of marriage argument, it is subtler than how you are presenting it. Marriage is the institution which is ORDERED to the procreation and rearing of children by their biological mother and father. The word ORDERED is what you are missing. Every marriage between a man and a woman is ordered to procreation, even though not every such union may be capable of achieving said end. No marriage between two men or two women is so ordered, thus it is not a marriage at all. Ask yourself this question, what are eyes for? Seeing. What about my blind grandmother? She can’t see at all. Does that mean her eyes are not FOR seeing and by extension eyes are not for seeing? Of course not. My blind grandma’s eyes are still ordered to seeing, they just cannot fulfill their natural function because of disease and the natural consequences of aging. The same is true of a marriage between infertile people (whether they are too old to bear children or are infertile for another reason is insignificant). Such a marriage is still a marriage because it is still a union ordered to the procreation of children because that is what coitus is FOR. Intimate homosexual relations (and all forms of what was commonly called sodomy, whether homosexual or heterosexual) are NOT ordered to procreation, thus such a union is not ordered to procreation, thus such a union falls outside of the definition of marriage. In the end we can play with words all we want to, but the essentially different characteristic (qualitative not quantitative) of coitus vs. sodomy (hetero or homosexual)will always remain and with it the essential difference between the union of a man and a woman and the union of same sex partners. God Bless.

    • Travis

      “I said homosexuals are not banned from marriage.” Yes they are. Thirty-eight states say no, and nine specifically say yes. You are just lawyering and wordsmithing to get out of what you know is true. “Gay marriage” and “homosexual marriage” is the same thing. It is two people of the same sex who wish to marry and are, in all probability having sexual relations with each other. The words “gay” and “homosexual” are used in the popular lexicon as wholly interchangeable just as “black” and “African-American” are. Lawyer and wordsmith all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that at the core of all this, you know what you are doing and advocating against is based squarely in religious doctrine and not in the interest of letting people be free to do what they want. I know you’ll refute this, but homosexuality is something that occurs naturally. Humans are far from the only species that partakes in this behavior and it has existed within our species for as long as we have written records. Within the Catholic church alone there are homosexual priests that have been molesting boys for decades, if not centuries. With that being an undeniable fact, you cannot sit there and tell me that homosexuality is not common within our species, especially when some of those that are supposed to be the heaviest keepers of the faith are participating in homosexual behaviors.

      Sorry Nathan, but the definition of marriage nowhere outside of a “religious definition” if you will says that “Marriage is the institution which is ORDERED to the procreation and rearing of children by their biological mother and father.” Nowhere. Not in any single place. That is just something you and other religious people have made up to use as fodder to exclude homosexuals from being married.

      “Your analogy crumbles because you fail to show the moral equivalence between being black and being attracted to members of your same sex (because there isn’t one).”
      You’re right there isn’t one and I never said there was. My statement clearly puts the moral equivalency test on YOU in which you fail. You are the one saying that it is OK for blacks and whites to marry but not for gays/homosexuals when neither the black-skinned person nor the gay/homosexual person had a choice in the matter of what you are discriminating against them for. My statement was not “ridiculous and insulting” at all, it was used as an analogy with no racial bias at all. As stated before, homosexuality is a naturally occurring thing in some species, including humans, and that is a scientific fact. It’s not scientific theory, it’s scientific fact that some members of our species are sexually attracted to and have sexual relations/relationships with members of the same sex.

      “No one has called anyone hateful names (except you yourself). No one has spewed hatred (except you yourself). No one is acting like a bigot (except you yourself).”

      The only thing I’ve called anyone here was a “bigot” and you only perceive my actions and words to be hateful because you disagree with my position on the issue at hand. I’m not spewing hatred at all by calling you or anyone else a bigot, I’m speaking the truth as the word applies. Would I also be spewing hatred if I said that Hitler was a bigot? No I wouldn’t be because you and I probably both agree that he was a detestable human being. Amazing how that works eh?

      “Lastly, you said that I am “arguing for what Catholics believe should be the law.” Yes, I am arguing for what I believe should be the law. You are arguing for what you believe should be the law. That’s why we are arguing. That’s not bigotry, that’s sanity. What should I be arguing for? What I believe shouldn’t be the law?”

      I am arguing for what SHOULDN’T be law but unfortunately is law. At the core, I don’t believe marriage should be a legal institution at all. I don’t think the government has any place in anyone’s love life. If you want to be married, it should be strictly within your religion of choice if they allow it. Every religion can be as open or closed to gay marriage as they want but government should not be. The issue of whether people have the legal right to be married is to me, ridiculous. However, since the government does regulate marriage with laws and the purpose of our great republic was to ensure that everyone has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, then everyone, whether you be black, white, gay, straight, transgendered, young, old, short, tall, smart, dumb, whatever should have the equal chance at achieving that.

    • Nathan

      1) You are confusing the right of someone who is attracted to members of their own sex (homosexuals) to marry with the right of homosexuals to marry a member of their own sex. These are two distinct issues. There is no law which forbids a gay man from marrying, he is free to marry a woman, just like any other man is. You are assuming gay men can only marry men. This is obviously false. This is not playing with words, this is stating the truth – no one is being denied the right to marriage based on their sexual orientation.

      2)The essence of our argument is over the definition of marriage. Those opposed to SSM have one definition (grounded on the natural law, not on religious revelation) and you have another. The natural law definition of marriage does include it being an institution ORDERED to the procreation of children. That definition is as old as the institution of marriage itself, much older than the movement for homosexual marriage. It is simply absurd to suggest that people, in all cultures of the world, 6,000 yrs ago made up a definition of marriage simply as “fodder to exclude homosexuals from being married.”

      3) You cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”. Are there people who are attracted to members of their own sex? Yes (that is an “is”). Is having sex with a member of your own sex therefore a moral good? That doesn’t follow (that is an “ought”). Follow your own logic. Their have been murders for as long as their have been people and other species also have murders (there’s our “is”). Does it follow that murder is morally good? Obviously not (because you cannot derive and “ought” from an “is”). You rightly are indignant over the priest pedophile scandal. But there has been pedophilia since time immemorial and other species feature pedophilia. Further pedophiles don’t choose to be attracted to children. Do these scientific facts make pedophilia morally good? No. Why, if those same facts make homosexuality good? Morality is not a science experiment.

      4)No one has called you any names. You insist everyone here, myself included, are bigots for not agreeing with you. I suppose all of mankind for 6,000 yrs was made up of bigots as well. To compare me to Hitler because I disagree with your definition of marriage is beyond ridiculous and makes you hard to take seriously. Just because you don’t have any solid arguments doesn’t mean you should stoop to name calling, isn’t that bullying? How would you respond to an opponent of SSM calling you homosexual slurs? Would that be a good argument? Of course not, because it isn’t an argument at all. It’s an attempt to shut down the argument.

      5)You don’t believe marriage should be a public institution because you don’t understand what marriage is. If marriage is simply a government Valentine Day’s card saying Joe and Nancy (or Joe and John) have romantic feelings for each other, then I’d agree with you – the government has no interest in regulating it at all. BUT if marriage is the sole institution ordered to the procreation and rearing of children by their biological parents, then the government has a great interest in regulating marriage, as marriage becomes the foundation for the family, which is the foundation of society. The simple fact that the government sees marriage as important enough to regulate shows that your definition of marriage is wrong.

      This entire argument, far from being about bigotry or denying people “rights” is simply an attempt to answer the question “what is marriage?” If marriage is what you claim it is, then it might as well be abolished, thus there should be no marriage – including no Gay Marriage. If marriage is what I claim it is, then it ought to be protected by the government, but if it is ordered to the procreation of children then there should be no Gay Marriage. Either way, there should be no Gay Marriage.

      God Bless.

    • Travis

      “You are confusing the right of someone who is attracted to members of their own sex (homosexuals) to marry with the right of homosexuals to marry a member of their own sex. These are two distinct issues.”

      No sir, you they are not. Once again, you continue to lawyer and wordsmith to get something favorable to your religious intellect. The only reason you use the above as a point is because DOMA doesn’t say that as a homosexual, you cannot marry someone of the opposite sex, it only defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In the end, you seek to stop homosexuals from being married to each other. You seek to stop them from having the same rights to marry as a heterosexual based ONLY on the fact that their sexual preference is towards the same sex. That is why I call you and everyone else that is against allowing homosexuals to marry someone of the same sex a bigot because it is your religious-based prejudice (and it is indeed a prejudice because outside of religion, it is not taught that homosexuals are lesser humans or sinners, etc.) against homosexuals in general that leads you to seek to keep them from marrying.

      “To compare me to Hitler because I disagree with your definition of marriage is beyond ridiculous and makes you hard to take seriously.”

      Sorry sir, but again, you are wrong. What I really said was “Would I also be spewing hatred if I said that Hitler was a bigot? No I wouldn’t be because you and I probably both agree that he was a detestable human being.”. In no way did I compare you to Hitler, I simply stated that you would not have a problem agreeing with me that Hitler was a bigot. How is that comparing you to Hitler? Oh, it’s not, unless you are purposely looking to be a victim here. Your bigotry and Hitler’s bigotry are on different shelves. Hitler killed people for his religious beliefs and unless you start doing the same thing, I would never clump you in with him ever. You saying that I’m comparing you to Hitler because I called you a bigot is like me saying that you would be comparing me to Jimi Hendrix because you called me a guitarist. Your logic is lacking, and thoroughly backwards.

    • Nathan

      This is, far from ‘wordsmithing’, a very important point (one which has nothing to do with DOMA). Homosexuals are simply NOT forbidden to marry under any law. There is no test to ensure that a man is attracted to a woman prior to a marriage license being granted. Any homosexual man has the exact same right to marry as any heterosexual man – in either case they are free to marry any unwed woman. Even two homosexuals are free to marry in every state of the union – they simply must be of opposite sexes (e.g. a gay man and a lesbian are free to marry one another). So we are not talking about the right to marry being restricted here as no one’s rights are being denied. So what are we talking about, if homosexuals may marry and if it is legal for two homosexuals (of the opposite sex) to marry? Simply put, you object to the fact that a homosexual cannot marry someone that “turns them on.” Something which you find to be an injustice. But is it unjust for the state to prohibit someone from marrying someone that sexually arouses them? What if I’m only aroused by my sister? Or my neighbor’s (already married) wife? Or my dog? Or myself? Or children? etc. etc. Obviously it is not an injustice to prohibit someone from marrying those that “turn them on.” Therefore, as homosexuals are not prohibited from marrying under the same rules as heterosexuals AND as it is not unjust to prohibit people from marrying those that sexually arouse them, it is not unjust to forbid a man from marrying another man. And as all violations of human rights are unjust, denying a man from marrying another man is not a violation of human rights. Thus Gay Marriage should not be made legal.

  • Siegfried Paul

    I think you can stop your discussion: “gay marriage” is not a problem for America because in the USA citizens live mostly in suburbs where you don’t find appartment houses. The problem of “gay marriage” has to be solved within the social structure of appartment houses. The real question is: do I want my children to grow up within the social structure of an appartment house dominated by “gay marriage”? The political decisions about the KINDERSPIELPLÄTZE – CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUNDS – of a whole city can be dominated by the interests – or rather: A LACK OF INTEREST – of “gay marriage” within the social structure of appartment houses. That’s the problem at the moment. I was a guest in Moscow and in Leningrad before Russia denied that it is a communist country: to remember the ceremony, when you wanted to get into an appartment house in Moscow, could teach you something.- My DOCTORAL DISSERTATION is to a certain extent on “HOMOSEXUALITY”, I found a copy of it also in the UNIVERSITY LIBRARY of REGENSBURG, http://www.uni-regensburg.de/bibliothek/ .

  • Siegfried Paul

    I’m afraid you forget that children can be adopted: the ROMAN CITIZEN PAUL could certainly not forget that. On the other hand, your argument is too weak. The SON OF ABRAHAM AND OF THE WIFE OF ABRAHAM, PAUL, from TARSUS, who may have been given his name in the ARABIAN DESERT, warns that A WOMAN UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTY YEARS should NOT be called a WIDOW. – MY name is not the name of the ROMAN CITIZEN PAUL.

  • MLP

    “Sorry Nathan, but the definition of marriage nowhere outside of a “religious definition” if you will says that “Marriage is the institution which is ORDERED to the procreation and rearing of children by their biological mother and father.” Nowhere. Not in any single place. That is just something you and other religious people have made up to use as fodder to exclude homosexuals from being married.”

    yeah, people have never connected marriage to procreation ever, it was just made up recently

    what a bunch of bullshit

  • K C Thomas

    It is difficult to convince when the listener had already decided that the other point is trash. The minds of some, specially in the western countries, have lost balance on account of the faith that eating and mating are the only things for which we are born. Marriage is meant for living together as a family where children are born out of love of the man and his wife. If we believe that marriage is just for sex pleasure, then any arrangement that can satisfy sex can be counted as marriage. But the civilization has been built up by generations through experience and wisdom. marriage between a man and a woman is the result of that wisdom and experience. But some in the world do not want to accept it. Yes, many things will happen and if same sex marriage, abortion, polymorous relationship, incest , infidelity, beastiality are all made easy and legal, the present civilization will get destroyed.

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