Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pope versus Sullivan on Gay Marriage

The Pope issued a statement that seems to have been a reaction to this week's decision on same sex marriage:

The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society that can not be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions," he said.

The pope also spoke of the inalienable rights of the traditional family, "founded on matrimony between a man and a woman, to be the natural cradle of human life".



Andrew Sullivan has a very interesting response, which makes the essential point that we need to distinguish what is reasonable and appropriate in deciding the religious distinctions among relationships versus what civil law should recognize:

Actually, I agree with this in large part. I revere heterosexual unions and heterosexual marriage. When such a union produces biological children, it also reaches mystical, powerful heights of human experience. I wouldn't want it substituted by or confused with anything else. In Catholic theology, you can easily see why the sacrament of matrimony is exclusively heterosexual - because this newest sacrament is all about reproducing.

But as a civil matter, in an institution not intrinsically linked to procreation any more, I don't see why the secular law should forbid others enjoying the same rights and responsibility in the same civil institution, regardless of fecundity, children or sexual orientation. It isn't either-or. It's both-and. Of course, this Pope rejects the distinction between secular law and Catholic theology. But the correct civic response to this is to tell this guy to take a flying jump. Religious authorities should not control secular law.


Read it here.

So here is the question for religious opponents of same sex marriage: as long as your faith is free to decide whether to recognize these marriages, in a diverse and secular state like the United States, why should religious views on the matter carry weight? How is the recognition of same sex marriage hurting you?

2 comments:

seamus said...

What is so interesting in this Court's reasoning is its defense of the familial aspect of same sex marriages. If the Pope wants to conflate Catholic theology and secular law, he would be wise to read the Court's concern for the families of same sex unions. The cradle for adopted, neglected or abandonned children,is found in all unions, including same sex and is more in keeping with sacramental theology where all, through Christ, become the adopted children of God.

Chuck Blanchard said...

Seamus:

Excellent point. The children of same sex couples are often the forgotten issue here. As the parent of an adopted child, this issue hits home. My wife and I were BOTh able to adopt this child. He has been covered by the health insurance of both of us over his short life, and would receive social secutiry benefits if either of us died. If we were a same sex couple none of this would have been possible.

Doesn't sound very pro-family to me.