I was a member of this Forum years ago but seem to have forgotten my previous account's information, so I made a new one. This is my first post with my new account, and I guess I'll just jump right in...
The "right" of persons of the same sex to get legally married to each other is, of course, a cause célèbre right now in the United States and much of the Western world. As Catholics, obviously we do not believe that a sacramental marriage can exist but between one man and one woman. Legal marriage, i.e. marriage defined by the state, however, is of course a different animal - it reflects the Christian understanding of marriage in some ways, but not in others. For instance, one can dissolve his or her legal marriage through a divorce, whereas according to perennial Christian doctrine "divorce" is impossible - valid marriages last until the death of one of the spouses.
In any case, here is what I am concerned about: we often here from the Church's bishops (a holy and humble group of men, increasingly, of whom we should all be proud) that we must oppose efforts to legalize gay marriage. My question is: is it truly a Catholic's duty, is a Catholic truly not living in accord with the Church's teachings, if he faithfully holds to the Catholic Faith in believing that a marriage in the eyes of God could only ever be between a man and a woman, but who does not necessarily believe that the state can legitimately deny to same sex partners their desire for a (legal/civil) marriage?
Although I certainly don't subscribe to the view that a legal marriage to a person of the same sex is a Constitutional "right" as we hear so often by the gay marriage lobby, neither can I find a foolproof reason why, if the majority of a state's citizens (by state I mean each of the 50 states, not the federal State) decide to vote in favor for it, why we must oppose that. Often it seems that the Church's bishops imply or even explicitly state that we, as good Catholics, must vote against these measures, whereas to the best of my knowledge, there is no Catholic doctrine that says "You must vote to make laws of the nation reflect exactly the Church's doctrines" - all I am aware of is that there is a Catholic doctrine that says "marriage, in God's eyes, is only between a man and a woman" - something I certainly agree with.
I think the bishops mean well, and they mean to stem the tide of sexual depravity gripping our nation, but at the same time I think it's quite dangerous to try and make something appear as if it's part of the Church's immutable dogma when it is not.
Can someone help here? Tell me where I'm going wrong, or if I'm going wrong?