Homosexual "Marriage" and complying to the law


#1

Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.


#2

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples?

[/quote]

No.


#3

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:305795"]
No.

[/quote]

Up until last year I would have agreed, but now I'm not so certain. As speech against homosexuality is labeled as "hate speech" more often and government intrusions on religious freedom continues I can see a possible suit against the Church for not doing so. What I think might be most likely though is that religious ministers that won't perform same sex marriages might be disbarred as acting as the official on marriage licences. In that case Catholics might have to have a civil license signing and a religious wedding.


#4

No, for the same reason that I can't file a discrimination suit against the Catholic church for refusing to marry me in their church with a Catholic ceremony. They cannot be compelled by the state to do that.

And if they could don't you think that Mississippi minister who refused to marry an interracial couple would have been sued?


#5

There is no way to know what persecutions Christians will be facing in coming years.

Cardinal George said in 2010:
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”


#6

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:5, topic:305795"]
There is no way to know what persecutions Christians will be facing in coming years.

Cardinal George said in 2010:
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

[/quote]

May we live in interesting times indeed.


#7

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
... Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? ...

[/quote]

Not if the US Constitution is followed because of the fact the federal government is prohibited from both establishing a religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Of course the signs that the US Judicial system has even heard mention of the US Constitution have been vanishing quickly......

What I see more likely is the states refusing to allow priests to perform the civil ceremony at all. Ie. Because you are "discriminatory" the state refuses to recognize the marriages you perform.

What you folks are facing in England is different because, as I understand things, the CoE is established by the civil government and hence must comply with its demands. But who knows I could be missing something.


#8

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.

[/quote]

About the worst that could be expected to happen would be that Catholic priests and deacons would no longer be allowed to act as witnesses for the state. In other words, Catholic weddings would no longer result in civil marriages. This is similar to how things already work in some countries.


#9

[quote="bitznbitez, post:7, topic:305795"]
Not if the US Constitution is followed because of the fact the federal government is prohibited from both establishing a religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Of course the signs that the US Judicial system has even heard mention of the US Constitution have been vanishing quickly......

What I see more likely is the states refusing to allow priests to perform the civil ceremony at all. Ie. Because you are "discriminatory" the state refuses to recognize the marriages you perform.

What you folks are facing in England is different because, as I understand things, the CoE is established by the civil government and hence must comply with its demands. But who knows I could be missing something.

[/quote]

This is more likely what will happen. Right now the priest acts as an extension of the state government when he signs the license. In other countries a couple has to have both a civil marriage (license signed by clerk at the court/state office) and a sacramental marriage in a Catholic church.

Ministers in other faiths and Christian denominations who are willing to marry any couple (or combination of people) will probably still be allowed to sign state licenses. Although to make things easier, the state may not let them do it either.

Since marriage is on the downswing anyway, I don't see too much objection coming from the general public. :(


#10

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.

[/quote]

Until this past election, so-called same sex marriage occurred only because some politicians and judges decided to make it legal, overriding the will of the people. For Catholics, there is no debate. Whatever the law does is not the issue, the truth is. As it stands, there is no reason for same-sex so-called marriage. If the entire country allowed such, it would do nothing to change the Church's position.

A careful reading of the gay press shows that the primary issue is a benefits package. Two gay men who are having sex and living together now, will see no change in their status except for access to this benefits package. As persons, they will continue the same routine they've already been practicing, plus benefits.

The stance the Church will take is to not allow any formal cooperation with this phenomenon.

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

Peace,
Ed


#11

[quote="PaulfromIowa, post:5, topic:305795"]
There is no way to know what persecutions Christians will be facing in coming years.

Cardinal George said in 2010:
"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

[/quote]

On the bright side, martyrdom might be my only shot at sainthood. Otherwise, I foresee a long stint in purgatory for myself.


#12

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.

[/quote]

Lots of good answers so far....I have two points to offer.
1) If we consider the recent situation in Massachusetts where the Catholic Adoption ministry had to close due to a mandate that they accept applications from Same sex couples, I could see the same thing happening in the marriage realm....Just as others have said, Catholic priests would simply no longer act for the state...

2)As well known as the Church's position on Same Sex marriage is, any couple who would approach a priest with a request that he marry them are most likely just looking for an opportunity to make headlines...
So - while it is possible that the Church might be taken to court over the matter...The outcome would most likely be simply that presented in point one above.

Peace
James


#13

One potential problem- if parishes are accustomed to renting out their facilities to non-parish groups, this could open the door for homosexuals to seek to rent parish facilities for their same sex "weddings." If denied rental, they could conceivably sue the parish for discrimination. This has already happened elsewhere, with same sex couples suing a church for refusing to rent its facilities.:(


#14

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.

[/quote]

Well marriage license are issued by the State the people wishing to be married reside in. The State can decide that those Churches that refuse to marry same-sex couples can no longer be allowed to marry anyone. The State can also decide that any Church that is a non-profit that refuses to not allow gay members to marry will no longer have tax exempt status. In many States now if a church discriminates against people based on their skin color they can be denied tax exempt status. There was a case a few years ago where the world wide Church of the Creator, a white separatist church, was denied tax exempt status by the State of Illinois.


#15

On some other thread recently (I forget which one), somebody suggested that a tax-exempt status is actually unbiblical, that it is failure to "..render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." Perhaps the lack of such a status deprives the state of a club with which to beat any religious body.


#16

[quote="bitznbitez, post:7, topic:305795"]
Not if the US Constitution is followed because of the fact the federal government is prohibited from both establishing a religion and prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Of course the signs that the US Judicial system has even heard mention of the US Constitution have been vanishing quickly......

What I see more likely is the states refusing to allow priests to perform the civil ceremony at all. Ie. Because you are "discriminatory" the state refuses to recognize the marriages you perform.

What you folks are facing in England is different because, as I understand things, the CoE is established by the civil government and hence must comply with its demands. But who knows I could be missing something.

[/quote]

That's the impression I get as well from what I read, namely that the Constitution seems to forbid certain things that are being enforced currently.

By the way, I'm in German and live here. ;)

[quote="Dakota_Roberts, post:6, topic:305795"]
May we live in interesting times indeed.

[/quote]

We certainly do.

[quote="Faithdancer, post:13, topic:305795"]
One potential problem- if parishes are accustomed to renting out their facilities to non-parish groups, this could open the door for homosexuals to seek to rent parish facilities for their same sex "weddings." If denied rental, they could conceivably sue the parish for discrimination. This has already happened elsewhere, with same sex couples suing a church for refusing to rent its facilities.:(

[/quote]

While I guess that would happen, I really don't see how it could be "discriminatory" within the bounds of sanity. Why can't the parish have those willing to rent the premises sign an agreement that specifically says that no same sex "marriages" are allowed? It's a legal agreement and valid isn't it? If not, why can't I go and sue any Unitarian parish for not allowing me to be married there by one of their ministers with Trinitarian liturgical elements? It's basically the same. I go against what they believe and require them to comply with my wish, and they refuse. Same scenario, different judgement I guess. If they want to get "married" in a church environment, they have enough other options that will provide what they want. it's just too bad for them if the Catholic Church doesn't fit their wishes. This is absurd. And honestly, the more I think of it the more I am appalled by this movement's arrogance.


#17

[quote="CutlerB, post:16, topic:305795"]

While I guess that would happen, I really don't see how it could be "discriminatory" within the bounds of sanity. Why can't the parish have those willing to rent the premises sign an agreement that specifically says that no same sex "marriages" are allowed? It's a legal agreement and valid isn't it?

[/quote]

This would seem to be correct...but it depends on how the law is written. One cannot simply put into a contract anything that they wish. For example it is illegal to put in a rental contract anything that discriminates on the basis of race color or creed.

If a SSM law were to include wording that likewise forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation then one could not include it in the contract.

If not, why can't I go and sue any Unitarian parish for not allowing me to be married there by one of their ministers with Trinitarian liturgical elements? It's basically the same. I go against what they believe and require them to comply with my wish, and they refuse. Same scenario, different judgement I guess.

Well the issue isn't just about the "wedding" itself, or trying to forcing a priest to perform the ceremony.

Some parishes and/or Catholic groups like the KofC have halls that they are willing to rent for gatherings, parties, receptions, etc. In the case of weddings, many times the people will be married elsewhere earlier in the day and simply come to the hall for the party in the evening.

So the matter of hall rental may not be very clear cut in so far as "religious liberty" is concerned. It will depend on how the laws are written and interpreted.

If they want to get "married" in a church environment, they have enough other options that will provide what they want. it's just too bad for them if the Catholic Church doesn't fit their wishes. This is absurd. And honestly, the more I think of it the more I am appalled by this movement's arrogance.

Agreed. From the perspective of civil law, they would have many options and the principle of religious liberty should protect our priests and church buildings from being forced to submit.

In other matters though if gets trickier. Hall rental is just one. There is a recent thread HERE asking if a Catholic who is a wedding photographer would be obligated to photograph a same sex wedding. Some good information in that thread.

Thankfully, in the places where SSM has been legalized I've not heard of much friction. It seems that in general, the "arrogance" of those in the movement is restricted to a relatively small number. It seems that most, having obtained the ability to civilly marry are satisfied to "live and let live".

Peace
James


#18

I could also see that a form of the Obamacare Mandate could be employed in the future as a model for enforcing same sex marriage. What they would do is take it to the next step and tax the Church for not providing this service. They would say, you have the option to not perform same sex marriages as that is your right; however, you'll pay a fine (tax) for not offering it to homosexual couples.

Joe B


#19

[quote="CutlerB, post:1, topic:305795"]
Dear community,

although I am not American, I am following the current situation about homosexual "marriage" in the US. I am not very well acquainted with the US system of justice or public administration, so please forgive me should I get something wrong.

From what I have read, it is already legal in a few states and the debate rages on in many others. Now, if it were to become legal in every state, will the Church eventually be required for reasons of "discrimination" (which I do not think it is), to "marry" homosexual couples? If it were, I hope it won't comply and think it won't either. What kind of opposition and problems will the Church face, should this case come true?

Pax vobiscum.

[/quote]

No. In the United States, we have the First Amendment that prohibits the state from encroaching on the prerogatives of the Church.


#20

[quote="JButky, post:18, topic:305795"]
I could also see that a form of the Obamacare Mandate could be employed in the future as a model for enforcing same sex marriage. What they would do is take it to the next step and tax the Church for not providing this service. They would say, you have the option to not perform same sex marriages as that is your right; however, you'll pay a fine (tax) for not offering it to homosexual couples.

Joe B

[/quote]

Actually, I don't have the citation handy, but that has been tried and found unconstitutional. This was tried in the early days of the Republic as a way of taxing the Church out of existence in the United States by Protestant state governments.

There is a big difference between the doctrinal definition of marriage and health insurance law. Doctrine and liturgy are areas that are totally prohibited to the State. That is well established case law. Marriage is a matter of doctrine (where the state is not allowed to venture at all).

The general attitude of the courts is that if you don't like a church's doctrine, go start your own. (Of course if you listen to [edited] the National Catholic Reporter and [edited] Jerry Slevin, it would be quite the opposite.)


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