Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
A Federal Judge has now told us that the definition of Marriage and its practice is changed in the state of Arizona. This ruling is similar in its imposition to that of Roe v Wade in which the Supreme Court legislated abortion on demand throughout the country. Like Roe v Wade this present juridical imposition will be divisive indefinitely since the redefinition of marriage has effects way beyond issuing Marriage Licenses. This cascade of rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in many US states is a direct result of the Supreme Court abdicating its responsibility to give us solid reasons why states, against the will of the people, need to redefine marriage.
What is so galling about this judicial decision and all previous ones on same-sex marriage is that the judges ruled based on their emotional opinion and never gave any thing approaching serious jurisprudence in their rulings. In almost every ruling whether from the Federal bench or state courts the reason given for redefining marriage has been that opposition to same-sex marriage is irrational and based on "animus" (hatred) towards gays. Basically the courts are saying that supporters of conjugal marriage are irrational and motivated by prejudice. You can read the various rulings yourself and see that with one fell swoop of raw judicial power anyone who opposes the redefinition of marriage needs to crawl back into the uncivilized cave from which they came.
Groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Liberty Counsel and many, many others have presented solid, well-reasoned arguments as to why the legal definition of marriage should not be changed. The Courts have never answered those arguments, most of the rulings side step these arguments and thus there is no solid juridical, philosophical or intellectual basis given for their redefining marriage. It seems like since judges feel they can, they did. The supporters of man/woman marriage can take an intellectual punch instead we have been tortured by a barrage of spit-balls out the mouths of unserious jurists too cowardly to write a coherent legal analysis on why the definition of marriage as a conjugal union has been wrong for thousands of years.
Among the many reasons given for maintaining marriage between a man and a woman is that marriage is a conjugal relationship ordered to the procreation and rearing of children. In the Courts view marriage is merely an emotional relationship. The other argument that has consistently been made is that since marriage as an institution preexisted the State, the State has no authority to redefine it. In the minds of many judges the State can change whatever it wants.
And that is where we all better stop and think: what kind of power are we giving to the State by allowing a redefinition of marriage? What else will the State decide to redefine and change? This opens the door for who knows what to happen. Where else will the coercive power of the law be used to force change?
Many will undoubtedly say, well just live with it. And we will. Will two 'married' women living next store to you be a problem? No they may be very loving and kind neighbors and so should we be. It is not about looking down on anyone or treating them with anything less than respect and dignity. This is not about social mores but rather some very fundamental truths that shape our society. As we have already witnessed in Massachusetts it was not enough to have same-sex marriage, next came adoption of children. And it was not enough to have adoption but any Adoption Agency that refused to place children with a same-sex couple had to shut down. And it was not enough to have these Adoption agencies, like Catholic Social Services be forced out of the adoption ministry but now any heterosexual couple who refuses to support same-sex marriage is not eligible to adopt. And on it goes.
Remember in the 80's and 90's we were told, "just let us have domestic partnerships" and it won't affect you". So we gave in and permitted them. Next that wasn't good enough and it needed to be called marriage and again we are told it won't change anything for you. Now we see Christian businesses being sued for failure to provide services at a same-sex wedding and many other lawsuits aimed at those who are not on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.
If this redefinition and acceptance of same-sex lifestyles is going to work without ripping our society apart and causing lots of resentment and hostility, the supporters of same-sex marriage and all things gay have to grow up and stop demanding at every turn that everything that anyone or any institution in the culture does or stands for pass the gay-friendly test. We can if we are reasonable and mature find our way to workable solutions.
Fr. John B.