By Fr. George Welzbacher
July 25, 2010
In the July 19th issue of Newsweek magazine Mary Bonauto, the attorney who convinced a U. S. district judge in Massachusetts that the federal ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, is quoted as saying: "There is no relevant difference between sarne-sex couples and two-sex couples." Well, I could think of one. But in our contraceptive culture discussions about marriage are not focused on the giving of life to children and bringing them up in a loving home to become the next generation's responsible and productive citizens. And when children are thought to be a merely marginal consideration, marriage becomes whatever you want it to be. But when marriage becomes whatever you want it to be, there are consequences for society. In the July 18th edition of the Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten explored some of those consequences. Here is what she has to say.
* * * * *Gay-Marriage Efforts Build, Ominously
By: Katherine Kersten
Star Tribune--Sunday July 18, 2010
Is same-sex marriage just over the horizon in Minnesota? Many say yes. A suit to legalize it has been filed in Hennepin County, and a slew of bills on the subject were introduced in the last legislative session. All the Democratic candidates for governor-along with Independent Tom Horner-- endorse gay marriage.
At the national level, a federal judge in Massachusetts recently ruled unconstitutional the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Any day now, a federal judge in California is expected to strike down Proposition 8, which was endorsed in 2008 by California voters and defined marriage as a male-female institution in the state's constitution.
Same-sex marriage supporters assure us that redefining marriage is no big deal. "How will my saine-sex marriage hurt you?" they ask, expecting the answer to be "it doesn't."
Don't believe it.
Same-sex marriage would transform American law and social life. That's because it's grounded in a radical idea; that male-female marriage, an institution rooted in human biology and intended to create the best setting to beget and raise children, is just irrational bigotry.
The implications of this revolutionary notion are far-reaching, and many are unforeseeable. But one thing is certain. If adopted, it will put government on a collision course with religious institutions and believers, and it's a sure bet government will win.
Male-female marriage is a foundational tenet of all the major world religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. If gay marriage becomes government policy, people who believe that kids need BOTH a mother and a father will be treated with the contempt formerly reserved for racial bigots.
If you think I'm exaggerating, listen to Mark Dayton, who may be Minnesota's next governor. In 2004, he told a crowd of gay-rights activists that people who support a constitutional amendment to protect mate-female marriage are "the forces of bigotry and hatred" who "spew hatred and inhumanity," according to the Star Tribune.
Today, we're already seeing the implications of this view play out:
1. If gay marriage becomes law, churches and religiously affiliated organizations may be denied tax exemption, on the grounds that their beliefs are "contrary to public policy." The threat is "credible" and "palpable," according to Robin Wilson, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. In New Jersey, for example, a Methodist ministry had to fight government officials to defend its tax exemption for a facility after declining to allow two lesbian couples to use it for civil union ceremonies.
2. Some faith-based charities may have to stop providing social services. Catholic Charities in Boston-which specialized in adoptions involving hard-to-place kids-had to give up adoption after gay marriage began in Massachusetts. Religiously affiliated hospitals, rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters that get government contracts or deal with Medicaid and Medicare may be similarly threatened
3. Public employees may be disciplined or dismissed if they refuse to approve of homosexual acts. Recently, for example, a professor who taught Catholic theology at the University of Illinois was fired after a student accused him of hate speech. The professor had written in an e-mail that Catholic theology teaches that "sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same," and had said he agrees with this view.
4. In June, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Christian Legal Society at the University of California, Hastings, College of the Law could he denied status as a registered student group because it holds that the only rightfut form of sex is between a man and woman within marriage-a view that violates the school's nondiscrimination policy on sexual orientation. The ruling may sound the death-knell for orthodox Christian, Jewish and Muslim campus groups.
5. Small-business owners could be liable under discrimination laws if they decline to provide goods or services in contexts that violate their beliefs- providing wedding photography at a same-sex marriage, for example. Boards that license professionals, includingpsychologists and social workers, may require approval of same-sex marriage for licensure or admission to professional schools.
In California in 2008, we saw what's in store for traditional-marriage supporters who stand up for their beliefs. Same-sex marriage activists there vandalized property, targeted jobs and defaced houses of worship. Here in the Twin Cities, leaders of the recent Gay Pride celebration also refused to tolerate dissent. They went to court in au unsuccessful attempt to bar a lone Christian evangelist from handing out Bibles in the public park where their event took place.
In its early years, the gay-rights movement marched under the banner of tolerance. No more. Activists are demanding conformance with and approval of their agenda, and are punishing those who dare to disagree.
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Predictably the New York Times gave voice to the contraceptive secularist mind-set, applauding the decision of the federal district judge in Massachusetts. The following editorial appeared in the Times for July 10th, shortly before I cancelled my long-standing subscription in protest against the paper's latest attack on Pope Benedict-more than two full pages of ludicrous charges and insinuations from David Halffinger and Laurie Goodstein. Laurie has made a career of attacking the Catholic Church.
* * * * *Redefining Marriage
New York Times
July 10, 2010
For 14 years, as states, courts and many Americans began to CHANGE their minds on the subject, the federal government has CLUNG to its official deftnition of marriage as ONLY between a man and a woman. On Thursday, a federal judge in Massachusetts FINALLY stood up and said there was NEVER A.RATIONAL basis for that definition. [Yep! That's what he said]. Though we are a little wary of one path Judge Joseph L. Tauro took to declare the definition unconstitutional, the outcome he reached is long overdue.
The definition is contained in the Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. At the time, there was no legal same-sex marriage in the United States, but now five states and the District of Columbia issue licenses to all couples. Because of the federal law, thousands of couples in those states cannot receive the same federal benefits as opposite-sex couples, including Social Security survivor payments and spousal burials in national military cemeteries.
There were two cases that came before Judge Tauro on this subject, allowing him to arrive at the same conclusion in two different ways. In one case, brought by Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, the judge said the marriage act exceeded Congress's powers and infringed on the state's right to regulate marriage. This does not appear to be a legitimate basis for overturning the act. Many of the biggest federal social prograins-including the new health care law--deal with marriages and families, as the Yale law professor Jack Balkin noted on Thursday, and states should not be given the right to supersede them.
The judge made a better argument in the other case, brought by a gay rights group, that the marriage definition violates the equal-protection provisions of the constitution. There is no rational basis for discriminating against same-sex couples, he ruled, discrediting the reasons stated by lawmakers in 1996, including the encouragement of "responsible procreation " and traditional notions of marriage and morality. In this argument, he was helped by the Obama administration's obligatory but half-hearted defense of the law, which since last year no longer supports Congress's stated reasons.
Courts should generally give Congress wide deference in writing laws, but should not be afraid to examine them when challenged, to make sure they serve a legitimate purpose. The Defense of Marriage Act was passed and signed as an election-year wedge issue, and the brief debate leading up to it was full of bigoted attacks against homosexuality as "depraved" and "immoral " One congressman said gay marriace would "devalue the love between a man and a woman." Laws passed on this kind of basis deserve to be upended, and we hope Judge Tauro's equal protection opinion, which, for now, applies only to Massachusetts, is upheld on appeal.
Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court actually predicted this moment would arrive when he DISSENTED from the court's 2003 decision to STRIKE DOWN anti-sodomy laws. That decision left laws prohibiting same-sex marriage "on pretty shaky grounds," he warned, since it undercut the traditional moral basis for opposing homosexuality. The Justice Department cited those words when it abandoned its defense of the law as related to procreation, which, in turn, helped lead to Thursday's decision. The process of justice can take years, but in this case it seems to be moving in the right direction.
* * * * *All in all, an accumulating density of evidence is showing how prophetic was the warning of Pope Paul VI back in 1968 to the effect that once the procreation and proper education of children are rejected as the primary purpose that marriage serves, the whole fabric of sexual morality begins swi:ftly to unravel.
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