Gay marriages by Catholic priests?

Someone mentioned in another thread the possibility of the government requiring the church to perform same sex marriages, or perhaps lose the ability to perform marriage ceremonies.

In the event that this becomes law someday, what do you think are options opened to the church? And what might be the consequences and outcome?

Right now catholics are under the threat of performing abortions in hospitals, which also involve catholic doctors.

So maybe this isn’t too far off. What would/should the church do?

This is a free-for-all thread since I’m certainly not qualified to lead this discussion.

I absolutely cannot fathom the Church doing this.

I can imagine the government doing this, though.

If such a thing would happen, I’d hope that bishops/priests/deacons would give up the right to sign government marriage licenses and perform the sacrament only…and have the happy couple go to the JP for the license.

I cannot see how this would be any different from other situations where the Catholic Church does not witness marriages between people it deems unfree to marry. For example, civil law allows divorced persons to marry–the Church does not. (Decrees of nullity aside)

The Church has, for years, declined witnessing marriages that would meet civil law requirements–why would this particular impediment be different?

In the USA that can’t happen. In other countries Priest could lose the ability to perform civil marriages. So the people that want a legal marriage would get married in civil procedure and then have a religious wedding at a Catholic Church.

Catholic shouldn’t ever do that.

If Catholic marriage doesn’t count legally, I’d marry in the Church, and tell the Gov’t to go pound sand.

If the Church would have married us anyway, I would have foregone the marriage license. I put absolutely zero stock in the State of New York’s view of marriage.

God Bless

The government cannot require the church to perform gay marriages as that would be unconstitutional i.e. violation of freedom of religion. What you may be thinking is that given that priests becomes agents of the government as a result of having the power to perform civil marriages, there is an existing issue with priests functioning as.government agents that may backfire against the church. For example, what the government can do is passing a law saying all justices of the peace and all government agents performing marriages have to do xxxxx. Then given that a priest by law acts as a government.agent then that priest would be forced to do xxxxxx. Now sincerely I cannot think of any regulation that can actually be madelike that, that May cause a priest to marry two gays so it seems very unlikely to me, but the government could regulate a priest action as justice of the peace under a law that has an indirect effect on the church.

Actually that is the way it is in most Latin America, sacramental marriages are not legally married. I must also add that churches in those countries would not marry anyone that has not been already legally married. In fact where I am from, the Catholic church won’t marry you unless you have been legally married for six months, I don’t understand the logic behind the six months but no you can’t get married in the church without being legally married.

This is what I thought might happen, to force priests into this situation against their faith.
Just as they want to force catholic doctors and hospitals to commit abortion against their faith.

I don’t want to get to far adrift from my original post, but I rather think to myself sometimes if there really isn’t something amiss in our government to try to break down religion piece by piece, little by little. Simply to eliminate any conflict of interest in our society mistakenly thinking this ideology would then make everyone touch the same base. But that is for some other time.

How does that make any sense? The Church is encouraging people to live in sin, or at least near-occasion o sin, for 6 months before they will allow them to really get married?

That’s absurd. I’d appeal to Rome.

God Bless

However I still want to reiterate that situation is very very unlikely so unlikely that I would say the odds are close to zero with the current laws. Government cannot say either all justices of the peace have to marry gays, so it is extremely difficult to come out with a regulation not directed at religion but that has the indirect effect on the Catholic church of performing gay marriages.

Yes as you read it, six months. Again I have never understood why the.six months and it seems outrageous to me (oh and believe me I know people who have complained already) but that is pretty much a set up rule that i know at least since the 80`s. Other countries require one or two months…I am almost sure Mexico requires one month of civil marriage but no priest down there will marry you without being already civilly married.

By signing the marriage license, the minister (keeping it generic here) is acting as an agent of the State. And I will wager that, at some time, somebody is going to push it. And don’t think that somebody isn’t thinking about it. From Time, June 26, 2011:
**The Bittersweet Victory: Why Gay Marriage Still Isn’t Marriage **


Marriage without a church or temple wedding isn’t the real thing. Why can some people have all the bells and whistles in the church of their choice but not me? Of course, there have been and will be congregations and churches that allow gay men and lesbians to be married in their midst and to bless those unions, recognizing that God loves them just as much as Governor Andrew Cuomo does. But some rich and influential religious institutions are not only free to continue to reject gay men and women as equal beneficiaries of all aspects of faith but will now also rally their congregants to reject politicians who are willing to abide with this extension of secular civil rights — no matter how much acceptance there is of same-sex marriage elsewhere, no matter how many wedding announcements appear in the New York Times.

This author doesn’t believe that he has equal rights until he is able to get married to his boyfriend in St Patrick’s Cathedral with Cardinal Dolan presiding. Don’t, for a second, think that he’s alone. And don’t, for a second, think that he won’t do anything to make that a reality.

I really hope you are right but it seems like in the past 20 years some amazing things have happened to our society and I used to be rather sure that we live in a good country who would protect us. But any more, I’m not so sure about anything where the gov. is concerned.

In fact, I’m having a harder time singing the national anthem. Before it’s over, we may even have the wording changed, because right now it is ripped up one side and the other by all the renditions when sung. Opps, but that is for another thread.

I am not worried about this issue in the USA…

… but things are really looking bad for the Church in Canada, I hear you can go to prison for speaking out against homosexuality.

To not recognize the new law or the authority behind it. And if they want it, make them waste state resources to enforce it.

Let’s just say that while its fun to pick on those calm, composed Catholics, the secularists won’t be so eager make mosques, temples and synagogues—or Southern Black Churches—do something they don’t want to do.

For me, it comes back to the central that this is not about principle but about getting democrats votes.

I do believe a group of folks at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign made the case that religious groups should be forced to do that because otherwise gay “rights” could still be rolled back. :rolleyes:

It is a very evil thing.

Because those politicians need votes, and the best way to do that is to hand out free things and special, made-up Constitutional “rights”.

The usual.

Your arguments are sound, of course, but those who fight for big government are not of the rational universe.

Where I am from you must first have the civil marriage first. My parents had their civil wedding “about two weeks” before their Church Wedding. I think they just went to the Notary Public. They did not live together during that period and never celebrated that day. Their Wedding anniversary was always the Church date.

I would say this will be the right thing to do.

I’d go further.

The Church should perform the Sacrament, and instruct the faithful NOT to get married civilly.

If the state redefines marriage into something that is intrinsically wrong, all Christians should boycott the state’s form of marriage.

God Bless

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