Five Problems with Homosexual “Marriage”

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin - Without a Doubt

It’s a sure sign of spring, as predictable as the Red Sox at spring training, the swallows returning to Capistrano, and the flowing of green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m referring of course to the public re-appearance of the determined proponents of homosexual marriage.

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It seems that each year at this time the left-leaning columnists, the organized advocates, and the lobbyists at the State House awaken from their hibernation to take-up their perennial campaign to redefine marriage in Rhode Island and impose their personal preferences upon the citizenry of our State.

The public debate about same-sex marriage always includes questions like: “What’s the problem with same-sex marriage?” and “How will it affect my life?” Although these questions have been answered repeatedly and clearly in a variety of contexts, including this column, permit me to summarize once again just some of the problems that accompany the proposal to legalize homosexual marriage.

1) The proposal to legalize homosexual marriage is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage as it has existed from the very beginning of human history. Marriage between a man and woman was designed by God and has two fundamental purposes: It affirms the difference and the complementarity of males and females in a loving relationship, and it provides the foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Marriage thus described has been the fundamental unit, the building block of every human culture and society. Think about it: God created two different genders for a reason – so that males and females could come together, complement one another, procreate, and continue the species.

And be very clear about this – same-sex marriage isn’t about procuring civil rights for beleaguered homosexual persons. The recently adopted civil-unions legislation, as ill-advised as it was, it provided the legal protections activists have been lobbying for, but the opportunity has been widely ignored. Same-sex marriage legislation is about distorting a venerable institution – not about civil rights.

2) Homosexual marriage enshrines into civil law immoral activity. Let me emphasize once again, as I have repeatedly in the past: our opposition to this legislative initiative, to same-sex marriage, should not be construed as an attack on or rejection of individuals with same-sex attraction. Homosexual persons are children of God who possess the same human dignity as every other human being. That affirmation, however, doesn’t mean that their sexual activity needs to be accepted and celebrated.

The natural law, the Holy Scriptures and long-standing religious tradition are very consistent in stating that homosexual activity is immoral, an offense to God, a serious sin. Heterosexual relationships are normative in nature; homosexual relationships are not. The promotion of homosexual marriage is an attempt to rationalize such behavior and to give it the affirmation, the “blessing” of the state. It upgrades private behavior to another level.

3) The concept of same-sex marriage is a social experiment with unpredictable outcomes. Supporters of same-sex marriage often say something like: “Well, they’ve had same-sex marriage in Massachusetts for several years now and the sky hasn’t fallen in.” Well that’s true of course, the sky hasn’t fallen. But the reality of marriage and family life, and its effects upon society, are far more subtle and profound than that shallow assessment would allow. The attempted marriage of homosexual individuals is a significant change in the human landscape; it’s a social experiment, the consequences of which may not be realized for many years to come.

4) The establishment of same-sex marriage will pose yet another threat to religious liberty. This fear been constantly pointed out, and indeed already realized, even before the invasive Obama HHS Contraceptive Mandate was foisted upon us, a development that confirms that the full-frontal assault on religious liberty in our nation is well underway. We’ve already seen that if you oppose same-sex marriage, even for personal or religious principles, you’ll quickly be labeled an intolerant bigot. And while proponents insist that religious communities will not be required to officiate at same-sex ceremonies, there are other impositions upon religious institutions and private citizens that have already been realized. The truth is that the homosexual lobby that seeks tolerance for itself isn’t quite as generous in extending the same courtesy to others.

5) The debate over homosexual marriage will again distract our state leaders from other important issues and will further divide our community. The State of Rhode Island faces enormous challenges, especially in responding to the economic crisis that continues to weigh heavily upon us. The stagnant economy has resulted in a host of complex issues that demand the full attention of our state leaders, issues such as unemployment, pension reform, tax rates, school funding, homelessness, and funding of social services. Other issues such as immigration, casino gambling and voting rights will also be on the docket. Do we really want our representatives to be dragged into the tiresome controversy over homosexual marriage yet again? The general public will continue to be divided over this emotional issue with accusations and angry rhetoric sure to follow. Do we need that again, here and now?

So . . . there are several critical problems that arise with the promotion of homosexual marriage. Proponents have already argued that momentum is on their side, and since a few other states recently approved the marriage of homosexual persons, we should do the same. Well, Rhode Island has a long history of being independent, and the fact that other states have adopted this ill-advised social experiment doesn’t sway me at all.

Please be assured, dear readers, that if the debate over same-sex marriage finds its way to the State House once again, the Diocese of Providence, joined by its allies in our community, will be fully engaged in the battle. We will work hard and pray hard for the defeat of this immoral, misguided proposal that erodes the foundation of our society and offends the moral values we cherish.