The decisions of the Supreme Court regarding marriage today were disappointing but not surprising. Especially disappointing was the decision turning away “Proposition 8” where California voters rejected the status of legal marriage for same-sex attracted couples. The court seemed to set aside that proposition for technical reasons. This is not a legal blog, and hence I am not equipped to speak to legal aspects of the questions. And frankly, I am not at all certain that a Proposition 8 were it voted on again today, would pass.
For indeed, I think many of us who support traditional marriage are bewildered by the kind of tsunami that has swept over our culture in regards to this matter. DOMA passed not so long ago with an overwhelming majority in the House and Senate, and was signed into law by a relatively liberal President, Bill Clinton. More recently, Proposition 8 passed in the rather liberal state of California. Now, just a few years later, polls show that over 60% of Californians want Proposition 8 removed.
Yes, there have been dramatic shifts, and within such a very short number of years! Perhaps “tsunami” is a adequate description, or that it almost seems as if some hallucinogen has suddenly had its effects on American opinion.
And while this is also not a political blog, it seems, culturally that proponents of same-sex unions have scored their victory by successfully shifting the terms of the discussion away from marriage per se, to the rights of the individual adults in the question. The legal analysis of the attorney for the plaintiffs in these cases indicated that a crucial factor in his victory was that his side was able to demonstrate damages incurred by the plaintiffs, whereas of those who opposed them could show forth “no damages” in permitting the same-sex unions to be recognized.
Culturally and politically this also seems to be the essence of the problem, that the focus is on the rights of the adults in the question, not on what is best for children. And we Catholics too, who engage to debate on behalf of traditional marriage, often fall into this trap of focusing on the adults in the equation, not on the children, and what is best and just for children.
Simply put, the Church has, and must continue to oppose every erosion of traditional marriage because traditional marriage is what is best for children. And while it is true that we have a pastoral concern to call to repentance those who commit serious sexual sins, such as fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts, from the public policy point of view the Church’s stance on marriage is that traditional marriage is what is best and just for children. Hence to act in ways, or adopt policies that further erode traditional marriage, is to act unjustly. It is unjust because it fosters and encourages a climate that is increasingly poisonous and problematic for the children who are raised in it.
And hence, our objection to the legal recognition of Same-sex unions is not only an objection to homosexual aberrations, but also to other assaults on the family such as fornication, cohabitation, polygamy, no-fault divorce, intentionally single motherhood, and fatherhood, and so forth. Every child deserves, and has the right to be raised by his father and mother, who have committed themselves to a lifelong stable union.
Psychologically as well, every child deserves to have a father and mother. The father both teaches and forms his child in the way a mother cannot. Likewise for the mother, she also teachers and forms a child in ways that a father cannot.
Given what is best for children, the Church holds that it is reasonable to expect that traditional marriage and the traditional family be upheld and encouraged in our culture. Fornication and cohabitation should be shunned. Where adoption is necessary, the traditional family setting should be sought and have the preeminence among any other sort of setting. Only in rare cases where a traditional setting absolutely cannot be found, the children be put into less than ideal settings such as with one mother, or one father, or same-sex couples and so forth.
Further, as a culture, we ought not go on celebrating all sorts of other “diverse” forms of family and marriage. This does not help children, but it harms them by further fostering less than ideal family settings.
One may wish to argue the legal aspects of giving special recognition in terms of benefits and other legal rights to traditional families. There are possibly legitimate legal arguments about the equal protection clause etc.
But as a principle, it is not unreasonable that a culture might seek to foster traditional family settings and bestow special benefits upon a traditional family to encourage such settings. And thus, prescinding from all the legal questions that may surrounded special benefits, as a principle the Church does support certain special benefits and prerogatives be given to traditional families.
Again, the bottom line is we want to support and foster what is best for children. The traditional family setting, with a father and a mother in a lifelong committed relationship of marriage, and raising their children in that setting is what is best for children. It is what we must seek to promote.
As a faith community, we set forth what God himself has set forth. God’s wisdom is also vindicated by the common sense of natural law. Traditional marriage, is what is best, and what is just for children.
Supreme Mistake – The systematic dismantling of traditional marriage through sexual irresponsibility, fornication, adultery, easy divorce, and now elevating as same sex unions to the status of legal marriage, all shred what children need and deserve, namely, traditional marriage.
The Supremes of SCOTUS have weighed in on the topic, but it is we who have made the supreme mistake, as a culture. We have made a mess of the family over the last 60 years. Sadly, it our children who suffer, and our children yet to be born will suffer by our supreme mistakes.