Thursday, February 11, 2010

Same-sex marriage case closes: Roman Catholic teaching says 'marriage is between a man and a woman'
by Peter Menkin

Of the kind of argument posed in San Francisco regarding the California initiative Proposition 8 that disallows homosexual marriage in the state, is the argument offering religion is a major cause of anti-Gay and Lesbian prejudice. Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports on the case recently before the Federal Court in San Francisco:

Court witnesses arguing against California’s Proposition 8 have described religious beliefs of those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman as biased and a “chief obstacle” to homosexuals’ “political progress.” The comments were part of a “troubling” attack on religion, Proposition 8 defenders say.

The plaintiff witness was Gary Segura, a Stanford University political science professor, is noted by Catholic News Agency finding religion onerous to homosexual marriage based on deep religious conviction:

“It's difficult to think of a more powerful social entity in American society than the church,” he commented, according to a transcript of the trial.

Segura noted that America is a very churchgoing nation and religion provides an opportunity for people to meet together on a weekly basis. In his view, religious groups are “arrayed against the interests of gays and lesbians.”

He said that the biblical condemnation of homosexuality and the teaching that gays are “morally inferior” affects a “huge percentage” of the public. This makes the political ground “very hostile to gay interests.”

Asked to explain his understanding of an earlier witness, Dr. Young, he said Young “freely admits that religious hostility to homosexuals is an important role in creating a social climate that's conducive to hateful acts, to opposition to their interest in the public sphere, and to prejudice and discrimination.”

In a related story regarding the Federal Case under consideration by the Judge, reporters for “The San Francisco Chronicle,” Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross note: "There is nothing about (Vaughn) Walker as a judge to indicate that his sexual orientation, other than being an interesting factor, will in any way bias his view," said Kate Kendell, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is supporting the lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8.” Judge Vaughn Walker is homosexual.

Roman Catholic teaching offers marriage as between man and woman and Christ, sacramentally bound, and it isn’t about romantic love or sexual love in matters of binding relationships—not wholly or even most significantly so the Roman Catholic Church offers. Hence, the issue is not animus of a given special group of people, but faith in God that is the issue. (It isn’t for this article to delve into the secular nature of the Federal Trial on same-sex marriage, but to offer a religion’s view on marriage and a skeletal look at some issues of the San Francisco based trial.)

Roman Catholic teaching offers that homosexual marriage as wrong. During the 2008 campaign favoring Proposition 8, The Knights of Columbus gave more than $1 million to pass the proposition, banning Gay marriage. Individual Roman Catholics have found themselves the target of those in favor of Gay marriage, in what is a heated and frequently mean issue in California. Catholic News Agency reports:

Allan Leatherby, 46, told CNA that he and other family members decided to contribute to the Yes on 8 campaign after Bishop of Sacramento Jaime Soto personally called him to ask for his support.

Members of the Leatherby family, which owns Leatherby’s Family Creamery, gave $20,000 to the campaign. “It was a response to his personal request. Otherwise we might not have supported it in that amount,” he explained to CNA.

“Obviously as Catholics we value marriage,” he said, saying they saw some “huge red flags” about the effects of same-sex marriage.

When the family’s support for Proposition 8 became public, protesters targeted their business. The ice cream shop was picketed, employees in company sweat shirts were harassed and angry callers phoned the business. The business reportedly received hundreds of angry e-mails and was targeted by bloggers.

Leatherby also received obscene Valentine’s Day cards in the mail.

“There is no way we could have prepared for the kind of reaction…”

As a trial by law, “The Sacramento Bee” says of the San Francisco based Federal Court case that is now concluded that… the ongoing federal trial is less about presenting evidence than "a sociological and philosophical debate," with some saying same-sex couples have the right to marry and others saying there is no such right. (So reports United Press International of the paper’s statement.) Speculation on the trial’s outcome is a favorite game among many, especially those in the San Francisco Bay Area Gay and Lesbian Community.

“The Sacramento Bee” comments in their wrap-up piece that is thoughtfully presented:

In reviewing the evidence, Walker will be guided by U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Notably, in Romer v. Evans, that court struck down an initiative that was handily approved by Colorado voters on the ground that the real basis for the initiative was anti-gay animus. This, the court said, was not a constitutionally acceptable or sufficient justification for singling out lesbian and gay people for differential treatment.

Thus, one of the core questions presented by the Perry case in California is whether there is any justification for the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage other than animus.

The February 7 article by Bee writers Courtney G. Joslin and Lawrence C. Levine makes the important point brought up in the trial calling the exclusion of same-sex couples the result of animus, the powerful argument that those opposing same-sex marriage are prejudice against Gay and Lesbian citizens.

The Roman Catholic Church sees marriage as a sacramental bond between a man and a woman, a special relationship in Christ, tied to the family and part of human procreation. One writer recently wrote of Roman Catholic marriage, “…because it explicitly and sacramentally unites the spouses with the infinite love that Christ has for each one of them, sacramental marriage overcomes the tragic limits of natural marriage and achieves the infinite and eternal character to which every love aspires.” In her essay distributed by CNA titled Marriage: the Mystery of Faithful Love, Alice Von Hildebrand remarks as her theme, “In our society, the beauty and greatness of married love has been so obscured that most people now view marriage as a prison: a conventional, boring, legal matter that threatens love and destroys freedom.”

Witnesses at the Federal Trial testify that Gay and Lesbian marriage will weaken marriage as it is known now, and has been known traditionally throughout history.

Despite Roman Catholic teaching on marriage for procreation, essayist Alice Von Hildebrand indicates “…Even though official Catholic teaching had until then [1923] put an almost exclusive stress on the importance of procreation as the purpose of marriage, the practice of the Church had always implicitly recognized love as the meaning of marriage. She had always approved the marriage of those who, because of age or other impediments, could not enjoy the blessings of children.

But conscious that he was breaking new ground in making so explicit the distinction between the purpose and the meaning of marriage, my husband sought the approval of Church authority. So he turned to His Eminence Cardinal Pacelli, then the Papal Nuncio in Munich. To this future pope (Pius XII), my husband expounded his views, and to his joy, received from the future Pontiff a full endorsement of his position.”

There is no doubt that Roman Catholic teaching tells its faithful, marriage is between a man and a woman, regardless of even special circumstances like age. That it is based on love between man and woman, that it is sacramentally bound in Jesus Christ as a love in heaven and earth.

Fr. Richard Neuhaus - Truth, Marriage and The Church

Father Richard Neuhaus talks how one should view the truths and teachings of the Catholic Church. For more formation resources for single Catholics visit

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