As you may be aware DC Council Member David Catania has introduced Legislation requiring the District to recognize so-called “Same-Sex Marriages.” Here is a statement from the Archdiocese of Washington. My own comments follow in RED below:
Statement of the Archdiocese of Washington on DC Council Bill to Redefine Marriage in the Nation’s Capital:
Marriage is a personal relationship with public significance. Marriage between a man and a woman transcends cultures, religions and all time. Marriage is about more than two people who love and are committed to each other.
It also is about creating and nurturing the next generation. As natural law and biology dictate, this requires both a man and a woman. Men and women complement each other physically, psychologically and emotionally and each has distinctive gifts for a child’s upbringing. They are not interchangeable.
Nature intends for children to have a mother and a father. Research tells us a healthy marriage with a father and mother provides the most stable and nurturing environment for a child. This is the reason that civil governments have given marriage special recognition throughout time.
The bill introduced today by some members of the District of Columbia City Council to redefine marriage is at odds with marriage’s fundamental purpose. You cannot redefine biology.
The “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009” is not about religious freedom. In fact, there are legitimate concerns that this legislation will result in a loss of religious liberty of the people of the District of Columbia. If passed, the bill could require Catholics to make choices between a “law” and the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church.
This is the second time in six months that the DC City Council has sought to redefine marriage. In the spring, the Council pushed through a bill recognizing same sex marriages from other jurisdictions, without an opportunity for residents to give input.
Today’s action by the DC City Council would put the District of Columbia in the minority nationwide. Forty states have constitutional or legislative protection of marriage, while only five states have redefined marriage. We urge our elected officials to respect the purpose of marriage as the union of one man and one woman for their mutual benefit and for the rights of children.
A request for a ballot initiative to define marriage as between a man and a woman was filed by a coalition of groups in September. The Archdiocese of Washington submitted a letter supporting thatrequest before the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
Learn more about marriage and the Catholic Church at www.MarriageMattersDC.org.
You will note that the Archdiocese in setting forth its objections has done so on the basis of Natural Law. Scripture is not quoted in the document. This is done in speaking to a secular world to make it clear that our objections are not on religious grounds only. They are also based on psychological, sociological and biological grounds. It is clear that nature itself intends that nurturing and raising a child is to be done under the influence of both a father and mother. Men and women are not interchangeable and both provide aspects of development that the other cannot simply supply. Men (fathers) have important things to teach their children. So do women (mothers). It is true that even in the world of nature, sometimes due to death, both parents cannot be present to raise the child but this is an exceptional situation and law should not be based on exceptional situations.
I am also pleased to see that the statement indicates the conception and raising of children to be “marriage’s fundamental purpose.” Many do not think of marriage in these terms today. They speak of it merely as existing for the happiness of the couple and the expression of their love. These purposes are not unimportant but marriage has its fundamental design from nature and God for the sake of children. Marriages should be heterosexual and stable (no divorce) for the better sake of children. Children are best served by a stable marriage where they are conceived and then nurtured by both a father and mother, receiving from their parents the complimentary witness of masculinity and femininity. This is what marriage is essentially and fundamentally about: the good of children. This is why the Church must oppose redefining marriage in this way. It also explains why the Church has opposed no-fault (easy and quick) divorce laws.
While it is true that the Archdiocese has spoken today on the grounds of Natural Law, as seems necessary since not all share or agree to religious premises, many of you who read this blog do accept religious grounds as a basis for discussion. For that reason I might encourage you to read a previous post at this blog which discusses the biblical basis for opposing same-sex “marriage.” You can read it here: Same Sex Marraige is Contrary to Biblical Teaching I also preached a sermon on this topic that you can listen to or download to iPod here: Sermon on Same Sex “Marriage“
Please note that the Church’s position is both principled and respectful. There are bigots in our world today who may reject Gay Marriage from less than noble motives. But the Church is the servant of God’s Word and the Natural Law. We cannot be otherwise and we cannot thus remain silent on this matter. But we speak with respect and from a principled poosition that reverences what God has taught us an told us to proclaim.