Is Same Sex Marriage Inevitable?

Is legal recognition of same-sex marriage inevitable?

President Obama’s endorsement last month has some folks speaking as if it were.

The success of a marriage referendum in North Carolina the previous day–the 31st consecutive win for one-man, one-woman marriage when put to a referendum of the people—suggests otherwise.  As I’ve argued before in this space, there is no reason for the effort to redefine marriage to succeed unless Catholics and other Christians give in to what sociologists call “the spiral of silence.”

Many Catholics wrestle with the consistent teaching of the Church and the Bible. I recall the stressed reactions of several readers to a post on marriage I put up at some time ago. Some commenters were encouraged, but many were skeptical.

One woman expressed despair about defending marriage at any level: “I don’t know, I can’t get all riled up about gay marriage,” she wrote, going on to say that “heterosexuals have already messed up marriage enough.”

Another didn’t see the harm in same-sex marriage in the first place: “When people say that gay marriages threaten my marriage, my husband and I just look at each other incredulously. How, exactly?”

Several people admitted they find it hard to defend marriage when called upon to do so. One such person wrote, “I just feel like a bully when people say I’m trying to deny other people their rights.”

Those and other comments led me to do a series of posts on the blog in an effort to sort out the different issues at play. I hope they helped, but I can’t help wonder in the end if our apathy towards defending marriage doesn’t spring from a failure to love our brothers and sisters with same sex attraction.

Bear with me on a tangent. Have you heard of Lacy Dodd? She’s a Notre Dame alumna who protested that university’s honoring the President a few years’ back. She wrote in the First Things blog at the time about her experience being pregnant out of wedlock her senior year. Her boyfriend, also a Catholic Notre Dame student, offered to pay for her abortion. When she protested this was wrong, he replied, “all that pro-life stuff is just talk.”

Dodd ends her essay inquiring of Notre Dame’s president, “Who draws support from your decision to honor President Obama –the young, pregnant Notre Dame woman sitting in that graduating class who wants desperately to keep her baby, or the Notre Dame man who believes that the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion is just dining-room talk?”

In a speech before European politicians, Pope Benedict XVI taught: “…when Churches or ecclesial communities intervene in public debate, expressing reservations or recalling various principles, this does not constitute a form of intolerance or interference, since such interventions are aimed solely at enlightening consciences, enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice, even when this should conflict with situations of power and personal interest.”

In other words, when Catholics and others say that abortion is an evil, it is not for the sake of placing our rosaries on anyone’s ovaries as the crude slogan has it, but out of respect for each person’s right to hear the truth, and hope that open-minded persons will respond to it. We speak the truth as winsomely as possible, but the truth. To do less is not courtesy, it’s apathy.

To return to the case at hand: to whom are we being nice when we fear to call homosexual acts risky, or frankly just don’t care much about same-sex marriage as an issue?

Not to children whose guardians deliberately plan for them to lack either a mother or father.

Not to the adolescent passing through a (very common) phase of conflicted sexual feelings who will naturally develop a heterosexual orientation if he isn’t prematurely labeled and his other feelings aren’t encouraged.

Not to persons struggling heroically to bear the cross of same-sex attraction with chastity and dignity, but find that not even the Christian community supports them.

How many souls fall into tragic lifestyles because no one ever loves them enough to speak the truth – and love and befriend them anyway?

And what will we who kept the truth to ourselves out of misplaced courtesy say to the Lord on the Last Day about these little ones whom He loves and to whom we are sent?

This article is courtesy of Catholic News Agency, and has been edited for content.

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  • Vicolivares

    This president and this culture is allowing this to happen. God save us!

  • John

    Exactly.  It may take courage, but we should never feel guilty about speaking the truth about human sexuality.  People may not always want to hear it, but it is an act of charity.


  • QuoVadisAnima

    Once people understand how redefining marriage affects them, has already begun affecting us all, in order to accomodate the views of a very small minority, the response generally becomes more pro-active.

    I point out to them that redefining marriage
    has ALREADY PROVEN to deprive Americans of their Constitutional rights to free
    speech & the free practice of religion without govt interference.

    Many people of faith (no, it’s not just Christians who believe that
    homosexual behavior is offensive to God, but all the major religions of the
    world) have been fined & jailed, lost their business or job, been legally
    harrassed – even for words spoken within a church, have been refused their
    parental right to exempt their children from homosexual proselytizing in school
    whose goal is to teach kids that their parents are homophobic bigots and that
    the faith they’re being taught is wrong, too.

    Homosexuals are not being deprived of the rights granted by the Constitution
    to EVERY American; however, their effort to redefine marriage clearly DOES deny
    others their most BASIC of Constitutional rights.

    Their legal issues & concerns could be readily addressed by means other
    than trying to force the rest of us to accept their so nebulous as to be
    meaningless redefinition of marriage. The fact that they are not pursuing those
    more easily won solutions makes it pretty clear that it is precisely that effort
    to force the rest of us to submit our beliefs to theirs that is at the heart of

  • Marriage has really taken a downward spiral the last 50 years.  With divorce high, cohabitation the norm, a record number of kids growing up without a mother or father, sex before marriage commonplace, and now redefining marriage to be between two males or females, we are in serious need for a radical wake up call in this country and our world.  We are in need of holy married saints.  We are in need of people truly living out their vocations in particular Catholic married couples.  We are in need of all Bishops and priests to speak up and the laity to follow.  May the Holy Family pray for us so that the true sense of marriage would be restored!

  • Victoria

    “Not to the adolescent passing through a (very common) phase of conflicted sexual feelings who will naturally develop a heterosexual orientation if he isn’t prematurely labeled and his other feelings aren’t encouraged.”

    This is what concerns me. It is not my marriage that will be affected, but my son’s and daughter’s and my grandchild’s, after they have been taught that sexually disordered acts are perfectly fine.

  • Robert Feely

    Great message Tony!   We have a holy priest in Stockholm, Sweden where I live.  He helped me embrace my Catholic Faith again (reversion). He gave a sermon once on the Feast of the Wedding in Cana.   He said in his sermon that the last time he referenced marriage a parishioner said to him in reply.  Please, please Father do not give a beautiful sermon about Marriage because …it never turns out so beautiful in reality!!    You are right we need holy married couples who strive for sainthood.  This topic Marr@202e2e66ffd580f15787f2418f306b75:disqus 
    age/Family is CENTRAL to our Faith as Christians because Jesus who is God and Our Savior was born of woman in a marriage/family with Mary and Joseph.  Joseph and Mary were Faithful to God and to each other.  Even on Trinity Sunday last week our Priest discussed the Holy Trinity but should have said something about the Holy Family which has been described as “Trinity”….The Father Joseph, the Son Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.    I am often praying for, and thinking deeply about this sacrament in reflection!     I am an American born Catholic and I have lived in many places in the world and seen a lot. I also was blessed to grow-up in a traditional Catholic home and neighborhood where the men were out working and the women were at home to manage the family and children (READ TITUS 2).  Many families in our neighborhood had between 4-10 children and the ladies were at home and out shopping with curlers in their hair during the day!!   Why because they wanted to look nice for their husband when he came home.  The husband was tired and hungry when he came home and he could rest in the soft embrace of his beautiful wife.   The best description and example of Faithfulness to God and Marriage/Family is our example of the Holy Family and what the Church offers us that marriage is a SACRAMENT.  Marriage is Sacred.   At the same time we are human and broken.  We are secularized and lead by socialist and capitalist teachings instead of by Biblical teachings of what is IMPORTANT.   We need to live according to Gods Word and not according to the world views and norms.  Titus 2 gives a perfect example of this and Ephesians 5.  Titus 2 says a lot in a few sentences.  Titus 2
    Doing Good for the Sake of the Gospel2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older mento be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderersor addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.Many young men and women are learning to travel, to be lawyers, doctors, engineers, career people but who is teaching them to love their husbands and children, to be busy at home, pure and subject to their husbands?  Who is teaching younger men to be self-controlled, seriousness and integrity?   Let us start here and continue on in Faith …. begging God for Mercy and for His Holy Spirit to teach and guide us.  

  • plowshare

     Let’s also not forget that many children go through what psychologists call a “latency” period just before puberty in which they have no sexual urges, but children of today are bombarded by “sex education” which does not exempt those in the stage of latency.

  • ND Alum

    Comparing abortion to same-sex marriage is a straw-man argument, sorry.  I’m getting tired of non-alums talking about Notre Dame.  You people don’t realize that if you don’t pay tuition or aren’t a benefactor, nothing you have to say interests us in the least.

  • Matt

    Jews are a smaller minority than homosexuals. Perhaps Jews don’t deserve equal rights either?

  • QuoVadisAnima

    You do not seem to have concerned yourself with actually reading what I wrote – homosexuals are not being deprived of any Constitutional rights. They have the exact same rights as everyone else. It is only if same sex “marriage” is legalized that people of faith will lose their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free practice of their religion. Maintaining marriage as it has always been in no way deprives anyone of equal Constitutional rights so how could that be comparable to discriminating against an ethnic or religious group?