Marriage equality: Be careful what you wish for

Under the guise of “marriage equality” the dignity of tradition marriage as the permanent, faithful and fruitful union of a man and a woman is under attack. The institution of marriage has existed for 2000 years and, despite our secular culture, has withstood the test of time. It is not a civil right as some would claim. States have regulated marriage and have put limits on who can and cannot be married for the good of society and the welfare of children. For example Polygamy is outlawed. First cousins cannot marry. Brothers and sisters are prohibited. In over 30 states “gay marriage” is against the law, so one can see that same sex couples are not the only people to be denied the right to marry the person of their choosing.

From a purely secular viewpoint “gay marriages” does nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society. Therefore there is no reason to grant them the costly benefits of marriage unless such couples serve some other state interest. The burden of proof is on those who favor “gay marriage” to show what state interest these marriages serve.

With the push for marriage equality comes a redefinition of marriage. When once defined, universally, as the union of one man and one woman for their well-being as well as the procreation and education of children, marriage is now focused on the happiness of the couple rather than the good of the child or the social order. The result is that couples are more willing to abandon these responsibilities leading to broken homes, a plummeting birth rate and other social problems that weaken the mores of society. The marriage of same-sex couples will contribute to this decline and further weaken marriage as the basic pillar of society.

Lastly, marriage equality may sound good and American as apple pie but be careful what you wish for. The danger in legalizing “gay marriage” is enshrining into law the idea that sexual love is the sole criterion for marriage. If the state must recognize marriage of two men or two women simply because they love one another, then what basis can it deny recognition to polygamy, or a sterile brother and sister who claim to love one another.

Again, for “gay marriage” to be treated on the same basis as heterosexual marriage sets up a special class of people protected by law. It also calls into question why the sexual love between two people of the same sex is more worthy than the love between three or five people, or that of an adult and a minor or between two fourteen year olds. If sexual love becomes the primary purpose of marriage, the restriction of marriage to heterosexual couples loses its logical basis-leading to marital chaos. Be careful what you wish for.

Father John Neff is the Pastor of St. Luke Catholic Church, Youngsville and St. Anthony of Padua Church, Sheffield