Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Juan R. Vélez

12/24/2008 (6 years ago)

MercatorNet (www.mercatornet.com/)

Defenders of true marriage often have trouble defending the obvious precisely because it is self-evident and defies sound bites.

The 'crowning' ceremony is an ancient and beautiful part of the Eastern Christian (Orthodox and Catholic) Marriage Liturgy. It underscores the extraordinary significance of the Sacrament of Marriage as a participation by the spouses in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ through His Church. the 'Domestic Church' of the family is the smallest cell of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The "crowning" ceremony is an ancient and beautiful part of the Eastern Christian (Orthodox and Catholic) Marriage Liturgy. It underscores the extraordinary significance of the Sacrament of Marriage as a participation by the spouses in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ through His Church. the "Domestic Church" of the family is the smallest cell of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Highlights

By Fr. Juan R. Vélez

MercatorNet (www.mercatornet.com/)

12/24/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


LOS ANGELES, California (MercatorNet) - The people of California, Arizona and Florida recently voted to amend their state constitutions to defend the age-old truth that marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman with the object of mutual love and the raising of a family. Ever since, those in favor of recognition of same-sex marriage have complained that they have been deprived of their civil rights and denied equality. The recognition of same-sex partnerships with legal and financial benefits akin to marriage is not enough for them. They repeatedly lament the supposed loss of their civil rights and compare themselves to oppressed slaves.

Is there any truth in these claims?

None. In fact proponents of same-sex marriage are usurping the natural and civil right to marriage between a man and a woman. Unfortunately defenders of traditional marriage often have trouble defending the obvious precisely because it is self-evident and defies sound bites. Here I’d like to present a few simple reasons why defending the uniqueness and dignity of traditional marriage is not discriminatory and unfair.

Biblical revelation about God’s creation of man and woman and his plan for marriage is abundant, but arguments for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage are not exclusively religious. Far from it. The most convincing ones are based on universally recognised natural rights which exist prior to the state and are not created by government fiat or popular consent. Civil rights are the legal recognition of rights which derive from natural rights.

All one needs to do is reflect upon the human experience. It is easy to grasp that each human faculty, including the generative faculty, has its proper functions and ends. We can also discern basic human goods that are necessary for existence and social life, such as procreation, health, safety, freedom, friendship and religion.

Throughout the centuries people have come to recognize different rights -- such as the right to just trials, the right to practice a religion, and the right of universal suffrage. Civil rights are important mainly because they safeguard these basic human rights. Governments protect natural rights, but they do not create them.

Marriage is one of these basic human rights, one which is based on complementary sexual differences between men and women and the good of procreation. Marriage joins a male and a female in a way the involves the total person: soul, body and affections. Usually this union brings forth offspring and the children are raised in a stable environment where the children learn about manhood and womanhood. Children need both a father and a mother because each parent is different and as male and female provide for different needs.

For example, boys need a father to teach them how to respect women, to develop masculine traits and to learn discipline. A Nobel Prize laureate in economics, George Akerlof, has shown how the breakdown of marriage (1) and the absence of a father in the family or some good father figure is related to the sharp rise of delinquency in the US. This alone is nearly conclusive evidence that there is no natural right to same-sex marriage.

What about the mutual affection of homosexuals? Isn’t that enough for marriage?

Not really. Homosexual persons can be united by an emotional union, but never by a biological union. Their sexual activity does not lead to procreation. Heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, involves more than this. “The same sexual act that unites the spouses is also the act that creates new life.”(2) Heterosexual marriage provides offspring for society and a home where children are raised with the love of a father and a mother and the corresponding masculine and feminine role models.

Homosexual sex is essentially different from heterosexual sex within marriage. The conjugal act has an inherent language of self-giving expressed by the man’s giving of his progenitor cells to his wife. Their love is always linked to procreation even though procreation does not always follow the conjugal act. Widespread contraception and co-habitation have separated procreation from sexuality in such a way so that sexual acts between two persons of the same sex are now considered normal by many. But the sexual union of a man and a woman is objectively different.

Are we just quibbling about words here? Partnerships are more or less like marriage, people often argue. Why be so defensive about a few syllables?

But this approach is completely unrealistic. Marriage is more than a word. Words are subject to development, but they mean something. Words are conventional, but they represent fixed realities. No change in language or law can alter reality. Sodomy by any other name is still sodomy. Sexual intercourse between persons of the same-sex is not procreative. A meal is not a snack; work is not play; adultery mere consented sexual behavior among adults. Language both describes reality and defines moral standards. By changing accepted language about marriage, new moral standards regarding marriage and procreation gradually emerge.

If traditional marriage is natural, why does it need to be fenced around with laws? Can’t it fend for itself?

Yes and no. Traditional marriage will survive, but it needs the support and protection of society to flourish. Laws not only recognize existing natural rights; they create and solidify social habits and standards. A bad law creates social standards that others gradually come to accept as good and true. Abortion is an instructive example. What began as a rare concession has become a "right" to take the life of an innocent human being.

So the consequences of legal recognition of same-sex marriage are serious. The first will be moral damage to our understanding of human beings and marriage. By elevating human choices to the status of human rights, governments undermine the very idea of natural rights, which is the recognition of what corresponds to our human make-up and the basic goods necessary to flourish as human beings.

Legal recognition of same-sex marriage also threatens freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Those who disagree with same-sex unions, including educators, doctors and adoption agencies, are already being treated with contempt and intolerance by proponents of same-sex marriage. The next target is surely the tax-exempt status which churches enjoy because of their important service to society.

Furthermore, although proponents of same-sex marriage contend that they only want equality of rights for their own personal choices, they also want equality of esteem. The normality of same-sex marriage will be taught to school children, beginning with those in public schools and eventually reaching schools with religious affiliations.

Already in Massachusetts an adverse judicial ruling was passed against a parent who did not wish his children attending public school to be taught that two fathers can constitute a family. In San Francisco, young children have been obliged to witness a same-sex "marriage" ceremony. Forcing children to accept same-sex marriage as normal constitutes a grave abuse to children and their parents.

To be sure, every person deserves equal respect before the law; but equality is not sameness, and there can be no true respect for human rights apart from a clear understanding of human nature with the sexual and psychological differences between male and female, and the needs that children have for a father and a mother.

_____________

Fr. Juan R. Vélez is a Los Angeles Catholic Priest. Before becoming a priest, he worked as a physician.This article frist appeared in MercatorNet. The journal has dedicated itself to "..plac(ing) the person at the centre of media debates about popular culture, the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion and law." This article is used with the kind permission of the Editor.

****
Notes

(1) Akerlof, GA, et al. "An Analysis of out-of-wedlock childbearing in the United States". Q J Econ. 1996 May; 111(2): 277-317.
(2) Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles, The Witherspoon Institute, Princeton, June 2006, p. 47.

---

This article was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons Licence. If you enjoyed this article, visit MercatorNet.com for more.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Growing rift in the Republican party exposes the corruption within, thankfully dramatic change is coming Watch

Image of The rift is growing, one side represents itself, the other the basic principles of liberty, responsibility and freedom.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The media would have you believe there are two kinds of Republicans, the "moderate" Republicans and the "TEA Party" Republicans. This is an artificial construct, a myth perpetuated by the media. In reality, there is the Establishment versus the people. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where's the truth anymore?: Secretary of State John Kerry insists we will defeat ISIS Watch

Image of The destruction created by ISIS in Syria is unbelievable.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The arrival of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, into the United States, has sparked controversy among the Congress and the Presidential administration. Although National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, stated Netanyahu's arrival would be "destructive to the ... continue reading


Saved in nick of time: Congress approves one-week bill to keep Department of Homeland Security open Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just just in time - with new terrorist concerns at an all-time high, Congress finally voted 357-60 in the House in order to keep the Department of Homeland Security open. The final vote came little more than an hour after the Senate cleared the measure. LOS ... continue reading


U.S. at War with Israel? Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets if they attempt to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities Watch

Image of The Netanyahu government decided to strike Iran some time in 2014 after Israel discovered the U.S. and Iran had been involved in secret talks over Iran's nuclear program and were about to sign an agreement without consulting Israel.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The news is SHOCKING. Evidently, U.S. President Barack Obama is either hidebound to improve relations between the U.S. and Iran, or no longer values Israel's friendship in the Middle East. According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, a reliable source says Obama ... continue reading


BANNING BULLETS: Obama to use executive action to ban ammo for popular hunting rifle Watch

Image of The inexpensive 5.56 M855 ammo, commonly called

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Banning all firearms across the United States would take a massive effort, and certainly not many Americans would willingly give up their protection. According to a memo, U.S. President Barack Obama intends to use his executive powers to ban the bullets for the ... continue reading


Abercrombie & Fitch's 'looks policy' under fire for stark employee discrimination of Muslim girl Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Abercrombie & Fitch faces yet another lawsuit for potential discrimination. The hip clothing store has previously been under fire for lack of racial diversity in both employment and advertisement and for limited sizing choices. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


SHOCKING REPORT: Social Security card in hand, illegal immigrants can claim back tax benefits Watch

Image of Lawmakers have expressed distress that amnestied illegal immigrants could be potentially rewarded for illegal work.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Workers living and employed here illegally appear to be on a fast track to join the American dream. According to a Congressional Research Service, or CRS, memo, those illegal immigrants able to obtain Social Security Numbers and work permits due to President ... continue reading


NOT SO FAST! Net neutrality to get onceover before approval Watch

Image of Democrat Mignon Clyburn on the Federal Communications Commission wants to narrow the scope of new net neutrality rules set for a vote later this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The hotly debated "Net Neutrality" - which will determine how the 21st Century's preferred mode of communication and information - is not a sure thing, just yet. Democrat Mignon Clyburn on the Federal Communications Commission wants to narrow the scope of new ... continue reading


Democrats can dish it out - but are now shying away from Obamacare penalties Watch

Image of As those taxpayers discover the penalty they owe, they will already be racking up a new, higher penalty for 2015.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It looks like Democrats can dish it out, but can't take it. One of the stipulations of health care reform, or "Obamacare" was those who chose not to enroll had to pay a penalty come tax time. Now, as millions begin to file their taxes, Democrats are having ... continue reading


Human Tide: Texas' porous border allows thousands to flood in from Mexico Watch

Image of Speaking out on CBS's

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Porous borders - one where demarcations are hazy and ill-defined, allowing people to cross over into another country without proper accounting, was one of the reasons for the Ebola crisis in East Africa. There exists a similar situation between the United ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 18:18-20
18 'Come on,' they said, 'let us concoct a plot ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:5-6, 14, 15-16
5 to your hands I commit my spirit, by you have I ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:17-28
17 Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 4th, 2015 Image

St. Casimir
March 4: Casimir grew up in a world where his life was not his own. As a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter