Can a non-heterosexual man marry a woman in the Church?

Is there any circumstance in which a non-heterosexual man may marry a woman in the Church?
Let’s imagine:

  1. There is no deception or hiding of the facts going on (the woman knows he is not that physically attracted to her, although he is emotionally attracted).
  2. The couple have dated for a suitable amount of time and discerned that they should marry.
  3. The man fully intends to have relations with his fiancee if/when she requests, after the wedding.
  4. Although it may be difficult for him, the man is capable of having relations with her; he is not impotent.
  5. The couple agree with and accept all Church teachings, and will raise their children in the Church.

I think the couple could marry in this case.
Is marriage like the priesthood, where same sex attraction is an automatic disqualifier?

Impediments are :

underage (men 16, women 14)
perpetual impotence
marriage of catholic with unbaptized
prior valid marriage
sacred orders
public perpetual vow of chastity

Same sex attraction is not one of them.

Also the lack of intention to procreate. My favorite priest told me and the class last Saturday about it. He says that if in the interview the fact that they are not interested in having kids came out, he will absolutely not marry them.

He’s very strict, one reason I like him.

The situation you describe does not seem to involve a non-heterosexual man… Why would a non-heterosexual man agree to marry? I’m having difficulty seeing how a man who is truly not heterosexual can “discern” that he should marry a woman. Sure, there are no material impediments, but if a man decides - after dating “for a suitable amount of time” and prayerfully discerning - to marry a woman, it seems to me that he is heterosexual.

Perhaps he decided to marry her not for sexual reasons, but for romantic and spiritual reasons. He feels called to be with her, raise a family, etc. although the act itself is neutral or unattractive to him.
Or, his family introduced them to each other for an arranged marriage, and they decided together to go ahead with it.

Responses have been helpful. Thanks!

Romantic love and Spiritual reasons (“without”) Fidelity of Conjugal Love and Procreation doesn’t fulfill the moral commitment to a valid sacramental Catholic Marriage.

If this non-heterosexual man cannot fulfill his full commitment to his wife he cannot legally marry under the laws set by the Catholic Church.

T**he fidelity of conjugal love **
1646 By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” The “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them.”[155]

1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.

1648 It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God’s faithful love. Spouses who with God’s grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community.[156]

1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.[157]

1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery”[158] the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:
They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.[159]
The openness to fertility
1652 “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”[160]
Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.[161]

1653 The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators of their children.[162] In this sense the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life.[163]

1654 Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.

People have been doing it for ever.Dont ask dont tell.

I actually have a gay cousin who got married and had kids. More of family pressure, expecting him to marry.

Not sure if I follow your statement here.

Please elaborate.

What if the man is faithful, and can (and, once married, does) fulfill his commitment to his wife, even though he feels no physical attraction?

What if he’s a virgin and not completely sure if he can fulfill the “commitment” before they get married? They can’t try it out beforehand, of course!

No, that is not Catholic Church approved. I have looked a lot at the Catholic marriage rules; deliberately tricking someone into marriage is grounds for an annulment, and definitely immoral.

I actually have a gay cousin who got married and had kids. More of family pressure, expecting him to marry.

We were both in love with him,I fell out of love with him,but he did'nt.   Zsa Zsa Gabor.

I’ve eliminated your first sentence to give greater consideration to your stipulations 1 to 5, which, it seems to me, constitute the requirements for a valid marriage.

I think #3 deserves a closer look. Having marital relations only be initiated by one spouse is certainly not the ideal expression of “mutual total self-giving” (to use a phrase I think I read in JPII’s Theology of the Body), but I’m not sure whether that, in and of itself, is grounds for invalidity. He would be totally giving of himself in the actual marital embrace, but does he ever have to initiate it? I don’t know.

What if the man is faithful, and can (and, once married, does) fulfill his commitment to his wife, even though he feels no physical attraction?

If such a man feels no physical attraction for his wife and yet has sexual relations with her , their is something within himself Body, Mind and Soul in choosing to become One with his Wife that fails in expressing the fullness within Natural Act and Subject in Marriage.

"The Catholic Church teaches as absolutely required that in any use whatsoever of marriage there must be (“No”) impairment of its natural capacity to procreate human life" (Humanae Vitae 11). “This particular doctrine, often expounded by the Magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break between the unitive and procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act” (Humanae Vitae 12)


One cannot separate the full unitive expression of husband and wife joining One in Body, One in Mind and One in Heart (Soul).


Hello GiveMePeace,

My answer to the first question is “yes” and to the second question is “no.” The reason is that the homosexual inclination is generally understood to be something that is along a continuum. The person in this example seems to be toward the end of the continuum which would leave his marital capacity intact. On the other hand, someone whose inclination is grave and irreversible is likely to be incapable of marriage since he can’t assume the essential obligations of marriage.

Canon law says “those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage are incapable of contracting marriage” (cf. c. 1095.3). If a person says his intentions were proper, he had a basic understanding of the nature of marriage, was freely choosing to marry, yet was homosexual, this canon would be applied (if a Tribunal was asked to investigate the validity of the marriage)

Thanks for your time.

I am curious, can you cite where getting these impediments from.

Same Sex Attraction is considered by the church to be a disorder, not itself an impediment to marriage, but it is an issue to be dealt with in marriage prep.

Acting on that same sex attraction is the sin, not having the same sex attraction.

It’s definitely an issue to be worked through carefully, with prayer, and honesty.

In the Cathehism of the Catholic Church.

2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, B]is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."143

2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude."145 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure
2363 The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: **the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family. **The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.

In your senario the sexual relations of the couple are not out of love. The man does not feel any pleasure in having this relathionshiops with his wife. The act is then transform in a simple biologycal act for having children. I don’t really see it as a real marriage. Me as a woman i would never go to bed with a man whom i know dislikes to have me. I would have no pleasure knowing he is not doing this out of love but only for obligation.

But love is a choice, not an emotion. I don’t think they would be reducing the marital embrace to the simple biological act for having children. There is still the unitive aspect that they would be fulfilling too.
I can totally understand that you would never marry a man who is not attracted to you, and other posters have mentioned that this is something to be worked out before the couple ever gets to the altar, but if they do work it out, I still think it would be valid.

Given the two choices in the OP, the answer would seem to be that it would be difficult to understand any situation where a “non-heterosexual” man would marry, unless influenced by outside pressure, such as family. And in such case, if the marriage were to go south, methinks an annulment would be simply a formality.

Now…let’s say the SSA revealed itself only after the couple was married…say…10 years i.e. that the man had absolutely no inkling of SSA ever in his life previous to the marriage. Would that change things?

I knew a guy from my high school who, after going as far as being engaged to a woman couldn’t deal with the conflict of his SSA and tragically took his own life. He tried to “go straight” but couldn’t. I guess the only fortunate thing is that he didn’t go through with the marriage, possibly adding kids that would have lost their dad in the tragedy. To this day his family is divided by this sad, sad situation. Family pressures can be overwhelming.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit