A Catholic Knight

A Catholic Knight

13 February, 2012

The Broader Implications of Redefining Marriage


The Broader Implications of Redefining Marriage

As marriage gets redefined to include homosexual relationships in various states, religious groups whose beliefs do not allow those relationships are given assurances that they will not be forced to perform them. For my part, I believe those assurances – they will not be “forced” to perform marriages for homosexuals. That does not mean that there will be no change for those groups. It won't be very long before the lawsuits start getting filed which will present an ultimatum.

In every state, clergy are typically empowered to act as agents of the state for performing marriages. This has typically been a matter of convenience. The couple gets a marriage license which is completed by the member of the clergy and witnesses in attendance. The clergy acts as a state agent when he files the paperwork with the local county officials to record the marriage, and this is where the problem will arise.

We have already seen cases where religious adoption agencies have been stripped of their license to operate as adoption agents of the state because their religious beliefs prohibit them from placing children into the homes of homosexual couples. It is not enough that other state empowered agencies are there that will; what the advocates of “change” desire is to either force religious groups to comply with their views or force them out operation. They will accept no other outcome. (Diversity always means others accepting their views, not their accepting the views of others.)

The same thing will eventually happen to marriage. Some people will think this is not an issue. The reality is that we – people of faith – must be prepared for the attack and for what we may be forced to do as a result of it. The case of marriage won't be as extreme as that of shutting down religious adoption agencies or defunding charities that won't refer women to abortion clinics. It will start out as a matter of inconvenience.

Once clergy are stripped of their ability to act as agents of the state, people of faith will be put into the situation of having to have two wedding ceremonies. Because the ceremony officiated by their clergy won't be recognized by the state, they will have to have to go to a city or county office with a couple of witnesses to have their marriage recognized by the state. They will need to keep track of two wedding dates, the real one and the official one recognized by the state. My personal belief is that the advocates of “change” are actually hoping that people of faith will not be willing to put up with this inconvenience, so they will forgo the religious ceremony altogether. I pray that they are wrong about this, but the weakness of actual religious observance these days could mean that they won't be.

01 February, 2012

To the government of the State of Washington


To the government of the State of Washington:

For years, people told me that this day would never come, that merely acknowledging homosexual unions would never lead to a redefinition of marriage itself. I did not believe them, and I was right. It is truly sad that our leaders in government should be so far removed from the understanding of what marriage is that we are faced with this issue, and I find myself compelled to write this letter.

The debate on this issue is typically framed in terms of rights, and whether or not homosexuals should have the same right to marry as heterosexuals. People mistakenly view rights as relating to personal desires or popular opinion. In truth, a right is a positive power to inhibit the actions of others. As such, rights are not based on desires or popular opinion. Rights are only derived from two sources: nature and obligations. When considered from either of these sources, a “right” to establish a homosexual marriage cannot be established.

Nature

Marriage has always been about the sexual relationship. This is true of the arguments of both those in favor and those opposed to changing the definition of marriage to include homosexual relationships. All actions are directed toward an ultimate end, and the ultimate natural end of marriage is the continuation of the human species. The reason for saying that the ultimate natural end of marriage is the continuation of the human species is that this is the ultimate purpose of the sexual organs. All other aspects of sex, the pleasure, the emotional bonding, and any other aspects, are directed toward the ultimate goal of producing children. The fact that these other aspects can be had without producing children is irrelevant, for the very nature – the primary purpose – of the organs is to produce children. This is not religious doctrinalism, this is scientific fact.

Obligations

The purpose for establishing rites of marriage has been consistent in cultures around the world throughout history. The marriage rite formalizes the obligation of the man who has produced children to both the child and the mother. In societies where women did not have the right to property, it was marriage that secured to them and their children a right to the property and the name of the husband and father. As property was inherited down the family line, it was this right to claim the name of the man which secured the right of the wife and her children.

This right was based on the obligation of the man to provide for his wife and children. In those societies where this right was not secured, women were left with no recourse when they and their children were abandoned by unscrupulous men.

How This Applies Today

There are those who might argue that the historical context provided above does not apply to today's society. This is incorrect. Our society still holds to the obligations of the man toward the children he sires and their mothers. We have special categories of law to go after “deadbeat dads” and extract the support they fail to give voluntarily as they should. Marriage may not be the complete solution for these problems, but it exists at least as part of that solution. In the context of society, there is no other real purpose for the establishment of marriage. After all, if men are not held to have these obligations, we wouldn't go after "deadbeat dads." When such men go around having sex with women and then abandoning them and their children, it is this obligation, and this obligation alone, which justifies our condemnation of their actions.

Claims about a genetic predisposition to homosexuality are far from proven. Even if they were to be proven, it would not change the fact about the nature of the sexual relationship and its ultimate natural purpose as explained above. The natural obligations to a child simply cannot exist in a homosexual relationship because it cannot produce a child. Indeed, the establishment of that relationship serves to sever the natural relationship by separating either the mother or the father from the process and the obligation of raising the child.

Implications for the Future

If marriage is reduced to merely the emotional feelings of people, or to the establishment of tax or other benefits, on what basis will we maintain the right of society to hold men responsible for their children? It is illogical to argue that marriage is not based on biology, but that the responsibilities to children are.

If marriage is reduced to merely the emotional feelings of people, where will the limit be set? It is true that, at present, the proposed change is to establish a right for homosexual couples to marry, but for how long will that remain true? After all, it was not that long ago that we were told that providing benefits for homosexual couples would never progress to changing marriage itself.

Once you separate marriage from its natural purpose, on what basis do you establish any limitation? You may say that we would never allow polygamous marriages, but on what grounds can we deny it? We already allow minors to “legally” have sex, so how much longer will it be before that boundary is shattered for marriage as well? If marriage is relegated to just how people feel toward each other, then there are no grounds for denying marriages of all kinds involving various numbers of persons. This is especially true when the argument becomes one of denying one group benefits enjoyed by the other on the basis of marriage.

There are certainly those who will say I am being an alarmist, or even an extremist. That is what was said when I was assured that merely providing benefits to homosexual partners would never lead to changing the definition of marriage.