I am the father of a gay son. Therefore, I have standing to defend homosexuals in the court of controversy regarding same-sex marriage and the whole of the straight-gay argument. Based on that credential and common sense, I take issue with “Catholic hierarchy supports preserving definition of marriage,” which publication appeared in the March 4th edition of the “Nicholas Chronicle.”
First and foremost, it is beyond argument, among scientists and reasonable thinkers, that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice but is a matter of nature and nurture, both of which factors determine perforce the character of every individual. No man or woman would choose freely to be sexually attracted to the same sex in a world where most heterosexuals believe such orientation is an abomination in God’s eyes and is an abomination in their eyes. A homophobe should ask himself: When was I presented with the choice of being gay or straight, and why did I choose to be straight instead of gay? No one can say that he remembers making such a choice. Because no one chooses. One just is.
No one in his right mind would choose to be gay in a world that looks upon homosexuality as an evil and upon gays as fair game to taunt, to mock, to heckle and even to stomp just because of an orientation over which they have no control. To believe that gays choose to be gay is a belief embraced to justify the natural antipathy that heterosexuals have for homosexuals.
St. Paul was not immune to such antipathy and thus expressed his homophobia in a letter that has since given his prejudice the status of the word of God, when in fact it was the word of a man. No man who is fully acquainted with the Bible and the critical scholarship concerning it and who is in command of his fantasies believes that the Bible’s authors were other than ordinary men with all the good and bad characteristics of Adam’s heirs. Man cites man when he cites Scripture—a mischievous circumlocution that inspires homophobia.
“Catholics believe: “Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. The reality of marriage between one man and one woman is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the creator.” When and how did God institute marriage? Man and woman have been mating, conceiving children and caring for their welfare for millions of years, eons before the present conception of God was envisioned and eons before the sacrament of marriage was conceived by a man-made and worldly religious entity. Otherwise, there would be no human beings and no church.
The quoted statement in the previous paragraph would be just as correct if, wherever man and woman appears, same-sex partners were to appear. It would be just as correct because, if God made heterosexuals, he also made gays. That is, He did if gays are gay as a result of nature and nurture and not choice. And that gays have no choice as to their sexual orientation is, in my mind, beyond question, just as it is clear in my mind that man has no free choice in any aspect of his being or his actions. Philosophers and scientists have argued for centuries that free will is an illusion.
Only man and woman can by sexual union create children, and thus only man and woman should be able to marry, contend Catholics. Priests marry God and dedicate themselves to celibacy. No children can come from such a union. But the church blesses their union and priests undoubtedly take spiritual comfort from such a union. Many heterosexual men and women marry, some intending never to have children and some intending to have them but who never conceive children, and yet they live a lifetime together then bemoan the loss of a partner. Gays wish to marry to have the some comfort that priests and childless couples have.
Bishop Schmitt is quoted: “God took the reality of marriage, which He created, and made a witness and a testimony of His love for the world.” This is romantic mythology and theological fantasy and has little reason or reality in it. The quote is more realistically stated in this manner: Nature created life and invented sex as a means to perpetuate it. She made male and female, adapting them and conditioning them in such a manner that they tend lovingly to cohabit and procreate. Love is a natural force created by nature to assure the union of man and woman. It is also a force that for reasons known only to nature causes some men to love men and some women to love women.
If marriage and sexual orientation originated with God or nature, then whatever one’s orientation, he or she should not be denied the right to enter into a relationship that is sanctioned by the church and recognized by the state and should have all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. If churches wish to wash their hands of same-sex marriage, they have the option. But they should not try to obstruct or prevent civil marriage as an option for gays on the ground that God would object and that the sacredness of traditional marriage is threatened by it. The union of man and woman is no more sacred than the union of bluebirds, and a homosexual union is no more a threat to a heterosexual union than the union of bluebirds is to the marriage of either of them.
It’s a notorious nonsequitur to premise on Scripture one’s argument that marriage is God’s creation, that homosexuals are an abomination to God and that therefore marriage is a state proper only for heterosexuals—when the Bible is the work of man, attributed by him to God for worldly reasons. And just as man has changed his mind about some Biblically mandated prohibitions during the past two thousand years, he is likely to change his mind about gay’s place in society, notwithstanding his homophobic position heretofore inscribed in Scripture and relied upon to discriminate piously against homosexuals.