Same-sex Marriages

I came across this interesting article in Catholic World News (CWN) regarding same-sex marriages. As more countries and states legalise same-sex marriages, what if one day Singapore faces this option? How should you as a Catholic argue against the legal recognition of same sex marriages?

The same-sex marriage proposal is a scam. Here's why.

A) Eric is married to Kate. Their marriage provides the state with many significant benefits.

1) They produce in their children the next generation of citizens.

2) They provide a very great part of the education and socialization of their children, teaching them to communicate, to cooperate with others, to do their fair share of the common toil, to restrain their appetites in service of a common good. Most of the values that incline citizens to contribute to society (and to act so as to stay out of jail) are learned in the home and inculcated and reinforced by parents and siblings.

3) When the young behave in harmful ways, most of the needed disciplinary correction will be meted out by their families and the more stable the family, the more effective the correction is likely to be.

4) Eric and Kate are interested in the welfare not only of their children but of their children's children, and consequently have a vested interest in the long-term prosperity of the state (and neighbourhood), and inculcate the same sense of responsibility in their children.

The state can, in unusual circumstances, provide or attempt to provide benefits 2, 3, and 4. The state will almost never succeed in providing them as well as an average family, and the expense involved will always be grotesquely disproportionate to the effect, as compared to the same benefit provided in the context of married family life. Because Eric and Kate make sacrifices in order to stay married and raise a family (sacrifices involving career choices, education and health expenditures, etc.), the state traditionally acknowledges the benefits provided by partially compensating Eric and Kate in legally "privileging" their marriage: recognizing the marriage as a civil reality, making it difficult to dissolve, penalizing polygamy (whether serial or concurrent), protecting property by inheritance law, and so forth.

B) Greg and Charlie graduated from college together and both have entry-level jobs in business. They are friends, and room together to cut expenses by sharing rent and utilities, and because they enjoy each other's company. Their main interests are in providing economic prosperity and security for themselves and in pursuing their own amusement. Their conjunction, in and of itself, provides no benefit whatever to the common good; each individually makes contributions as a working and tax-paying citizen, but each would make the same contribution if he lived alone.

C) Dave and Jason live in the apartment below Greg and Charlie. They graduated from college together and both have entry-level jobs in business. Their main interests are in providing economic prosperity and security for themselves and in pursuing their own amusement. Each individually makes contributions as a working and tax-paying citizen, but each would make the same contribution if he lived alone. Dave regularly sodomizes Jason. The principal reason they share the domicile is to facilitate this conjunction.

Question: what good does the conjunction of Dave and Jason provide the state that the conjunction of Greg and Charlie does not? How do we, their fellow citizens, benefit from their partnership? In what sense is their relationship productive of the common good such that the state would want to assimilate it to the marriage of Eric and Kate? Keeping in the mind that the recreative appetites of Greg and Charlie were not specified and so may be heterosexual or homosexual or some combination thereof what is it that we, the citizenry, stand to gain by the fact that Jason is sodomized by his roommate?

Or, if this picture is seen as too reductionist, what public, civilly verifiable fact about Dave and Jason's relationship makes it a "same-sex partnership" in a way that distinguishes it from the same-sex co-habitation and friendship of Greg and Charlie? What, in short, is the state imagined to be rewarding in granting civil recognition to their partnership?

Edit: Link provided.


ChrisYeo said...

Can you provide us the actual link? I can't find the original article in CWN.

Seems like a very poor argument.

Daniel said...

I was hoping to generate our own discussion based on that bit that I provided, and see how far we fall from the article in CWN's archives.

In the meantime, here's a CathNews article on gay marriage:

Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill

Pope Benedict, speaking in the context of this year's Italian general elections, yesterday condemned gay marriage and the use of the so-called "abortion pill"..

Reuters reports that he was immediately attacked by gay leaders and leftist politicians who accused him of interfering in domestic affairs.

The Holy Father, speaking to political leaders of the Rome region, said marriage is not a "casual, sociological entity" but "a question of the correct relationship between a man and a woman".

Italy goes to the polls on 9 April. The elections will pit former European Commission president Romano Prodi's centre-left grouping known as "The Union" against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling centre-right. Italy's Catholic Church has already served notice to the center-left that it will fight any move to recognise civil partnership for unwed heterosexual couples and gay couples. Prodi has promised some form of recognition for unmarried couples but has stopped short of supporting gay marriage.

In his address, the Pope said the defence of traditional marriage was "not a peculiarity of Catholic moral teaching but part of an elementary truth regarding our common humanity".

Original article: http://www.cathnews.com/news/601/36.php

ChrisYeo said...

I would have argued exactly the same way that the Phil guy did:

1) Why do you assume that gay couples cannot be loving and life giving families through adoption? You will need to give a reason.

2) Whatever argument you make against gay marriages, it seems to hold for couples that have decided not to have children. Are you going to ban them from getting married?

Thankfully, there's no real need to argue it in Singapore because the government will not allow it. They'll simply say that we are a conservative society with 'asian values'.

Daniel said...

Marriage is described in Canon Law as a "covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children." (can. 1055)

1) Gay couples can be loving yes, but can they be life-giving? Can a gay couple bring about life through their sexual union, the way a man and a woman can? By definition in the Catholic Church, a marriage must be between a man and a woman. A union between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, is not, and cannot be, marriage.

2) Indeed the argument does hold for couples who decide not to have children, which is why the Catholic Church is against the use of contraceptives. In fact, if a couple have decided not to have any children at the point when they make their wedding vows, that is grounds for annulment of marriage i.e. the marriage isn't valid in the eyes of the Church.

This is another reason why this debate does affect us, because I am sure that we know Catholic friends who feel this way. It is one way in which our faith is applied to our life and the choices we make.

The issue of same-sex marriages may not take place in Singapore any time soon, but it will one day be an issue for us. This is one of the impacts of globalisation.

Already couples are getting married with no intention of having children. It is indeed a cause for concern, not just for members of the Catholic Church, but obviously for the government as well (since population seems to be Singapore's only natural resource).

ChrisYeo said...

I thought you were talking about the state and not the church. So why are you using arguments from the church? The secular state will never accept them.

Daniel said...

Since apparently, approval of homosexual union by the state isn't a concern of readers, there isn't really much to say.

But I would like to add that conservative nature of the state isn't going to last forever. Ten years ago, no one would openly talk about promiscuity, but now it seems to be the 'in' thing.

Legal homosexual union is coming here, make no mistake about it. It's only a matter of time. The question is, are we ready to stand up and speak out against it?

ChrisYeo said...

First you say that "approval of homosexual union by the state isn't a concern of readers".

Then you say that "legal homosexual union is coming here(to Singapore)" and that we should "speak out against it".

Doesn't the "it" here refer to the "approval of homosexual union by the state" ?!

??? Did I miss something here ???

Daniel said...

It seems to me that no one else here is concerned about the reality that such a situation will come to Singapore in the future.

ChrisYeo said...

Hi Daniel,

It's not that we are not interested about the possibility of Gay Marriages in Singapore, but first of all we are confused as to what you are trying to address here. Are you arguing against legal adoption, or the mere idea of gay marriage? Whom are you addressing? The state, the average citizen, or only Catholics?

If you would like to prevent Singapore from legitimising gay marriages, then you should be providing reasons that a secular state can accept. You appear to be using reasons based in church teachings that are not geared towards this purpose.

If instead you are trying to reach out to the general population, then again, your arguments need to be a bit more general. This is a good analogy with the sexuality debate that is going on right now. Why should a Hindu, or a free thinker' pay heed to Canon Law or the CCC?

In truth, if you want to prevent gay marriage laws, the most effective way is to simply feel offended. Claim that marriage is sacred and that gay marriage offends your sensibilities. Write letters to MPs and the media saying that it would be unacceptable. The state, which is ever respectful of religious sensitivities, will not dare to legalise it. At most, gay legal unions may become recognised, but 'marriage' will not happen.

Would you have a problem with that?

Daniel said...

Thanks Chris, that is a great idea. Hope it works when the time comes.

You are right in saying that I have been using religious reasoning, because it seemed to me (though I might be wrong) that our Catholics believe that there is nothing wrong with homosexuals getting married, hence the apparent silence. Before addressing the secular world, we need to be grounded in the teachings of our faith, otherwise we don't even need to talk about speaking out when the time comes.

The mere idea of gay marriage is unacceptable to the Church. I hope that every Catholic would actively take the same stand, through a greater understanding of why the Church says this.

Would appealing to natural law would work across religions in this situation?