Struggling with where I stand on the gay "marriage" debate

So let me clarify a couple of things right off the bat just to make sure my actual question is clear.

First, I do believe that homosexual acts are sinful. Also, I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman only.

Now that is out of the way, here is what I am struggling with. We are told that we should not support gay marriage because homosexuality is sinful. At the same time, we are taught early and often that we should not discriminate against people, and that we should forgive sinners, and that we should not judge others. Now, I do not believe any religious organization should be forced to marry people in a way that contradicts their faith. But, in the US, that is not what we are talking about with gay marriage. We are talking about civil marriage, performed by the government. To me, this is not marriage, this is simple contract law and gives homosexual people the same rights as people who are religiously married, or heterosexual couples that are civilly married. Wouldn’t it be discrimination to deny them these rights? This is what I am struggling with, I believe that homosexuality is wrong, but I also believe that discrimination is wrong.

Thoughts?

The “perks” offered by society to married people are not rights they are more like privileges. Offered for the protection of the “weaker” sex.
The tax breaks ect. are society’s payment to the couple for their part in the maintenance of society,that is having children. SS couples can not do that for it is impossible for them to maintain society.
Isolate 100 SS couples and 100 HS couples, both with equal opportunity and come back 100 yrs later and see who still has a society.

I think that the important thing in this discussion is to make sure our definitions are not only precise, but well-understood. In this context, it’s difficult enough to reach consensus as is, let alone if one person defines things one way and another defines them another, and we think we’re agreeing or disagreeing, when really we’re talking about different things altogether! With that in mind…

‘Homosexuality’ is an inclination; it’s not a sin. ‘Homosexual behavior’ is sinful, in a Christian context. So, I think that it would be more fair to say that Catholics “are told that we should not support homosexual marriage because”… it implicitly lends support to homosexual sexual activity, which is sinful.

At the same time, we are taught early and often that we should not discriminate against people

What does ‘discriminate’ mean, though? Give everyone everything they want, just because they want it? Give everyone something different than what I have, because I have something and they should have something, too, even if it’s a different thing? Or, perhaps, discrimination means that one should not be denied a thing that another has, purely on the basis of some group to which he belongs.

(You can see where I’m going to go with this, right? That marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is not the same thing as a marriage between a man and a woman.)

, and that we should forgive sinners

We should, but there’s more to it than that. Jesus didn’t just forgive sins: He told them “now go and sin no more.” In a Catholic context, in the sacrament of reconciliation, there are two things necessary: being sorry for one’s sins, and having a firm purpose of resolve not to sin again.

On the other hand, what if someone walks into a confessional and says, “Father, I just robbed a bank, and I want absolution… 'cause, as soon as I walk out of here, I’m gonna go rob another bank, and I don’t want to do that in a state of mortal sin!” …??? In that case, there’s no way the priest will give absolution, since the person doesn’t intend to even attempt to not repeat his sin!

(Side note: that’s why the divorced and remarried can’t receive the sacraments – their sin is adultery, and even if they go to confession, they will go right out and continue committing adultery! It’s not until the adultery ceases that they can go to confession & communion…!)

So, I would say that there’s more to it than “we should forgive sinners”; maybe “we should forgive repentant sinners”, or “we should forgive sinners who are trying not to sin again”.

We don’t forgive someone simply because he’s a sinner; we forgive him because of his contrition and his resolve to avoid sin. :thumbsup:

, and that we should not judge others.

Again, there’s more to it than that. What does ‘judge’ mean, anyway? That we shouldn’t notice when our loved ones fall into sin? That we shouldn’t help them to get out of it? The Bible pretty explicitly tells us to address sin in our midst.

What we can’t do, though, is act like God and judge people. That means that we can’t go to somebody and say “there’s no hope for you; you’re going to hell; your sins are unforgivable, and God hates you for them.” That’s what judging looks like, and that’s something that we cannot do!

(See what I mean, then? Lots of definitions that we have to get out of the way before we can begin the discussion…)

But, in the US, that is not what we are talking about with gay marriage. We are talking about civil marriage, performed by the government.

But, don’t we have a right and a duty to be involved in the laws our country makes? And, if we believe them to be immoral, don’t we have the duty to stand up and say, “no, that’s not good!”…? What if the context were euthanasia? What if the government were to make a law that said “everyone must be euthanized on their 66th birthday”? That would be a civil act, performed by the government. Nobody would be forcing us to kill anyone ourselves. Wouldn’t we be morally obligated, though, to fight against this immoral law?

To me, this is not marriage, this is simple contract law and gives homosexual people the same rights as people who are religiously married, or heterosexual couples that are civilly married.

Funny you should mention that. You’re talking about “civil unions”, which give equal civil benefits to those who wish same-sex unions. The government already tried it. The LGBT community said “no thanks, we want marriage.”

Wouldn’t it be discrimination to deny them these rights?

My take on it is that this isn’t discrimination. What’s in play isn’t giving someone the right to an existing thing (marriage, which as defined, is between a man and a woman) – after all, no one is telling anybody that they’re not allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex. What’s really in play is that the push is to change the very definition of marriage. That’s why it’s not about ‘definition’ but about ‘political activism’ and social engineering.

Totally agree. For me it comes down to the natural law.

I use to think this way, until a realized there is a fine line between discrimination and relativism. Our society would like to make you think this is discrimination when it is truly relativism. Relativism is a slippery slope. How does the old saying go give em an inch and they will take a mile. Once you give a small group of individuals the power to define what is ethically true for society yo have just thrown away societies natural law and sooner or later nothing is off limits.

You’ve probably seen this it has been passed around in different forms for years now. I just did a quick google search and this wast he one at the top of the list. But this is were relativism has lead us.
**
What Happens When You Take God Out Of Schools**

I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare complained she didn’t want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school… the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he’s talking about so we said OK, we won’t spank them anymore.

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don’t want any bad publicity, and we surely don’t want to be sued. (There’s a big difference between disciplining and touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.) And we accepted their reasoning.

Then someone said, let’s let our daughters have abortions if they want,and they won’t even have to tell their parents. And we said, that’s a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they’re going to do it anyway, let’s give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won’t have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that’s another great idea.

Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn’t matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn’t matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.

And then someone said let’s print magazines with pictures of nude women (and nude men) and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female and male body. And we said we have no problem with that.

And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said they’re entitled to their free speech.

And the entertainment industry said, let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex.

And let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it’s just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

Dear God,
Why didn’t you save the little girl in Michigan?
Sincerely,
Concerned Student

AND THE REPLY

Dear Concerned Student,
I am not allowed in schools.
Sincerely,
God

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says.

Funny how someone can say “I believe in God” but still follow Satan who, by the way, also “believes” in God.

Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged.

Funny how you can send a thousand ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them.

Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me.

Are you thinking?

Pass it on if you think it has merit! If not then just discard it…no one will ever know what you did, for sure. But, if you discard this thought process, then don’t sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in…

You said a mouthful about definitions. Amen, brother! Sometimes words like “love” are too broad in their meanings, while other languages have different words for fine tunings.

“Judge” is one of those words that frequently get bolluxed up. “Who am I to judge?” could mean "pass judgement’, as in deciding another’s guilt or innocence like a judge in court. But when used as “discriminate” (another word that has been turned inside out and upside down, compounding the problem) it should carry the meaning of “discern”, nothing wrong with that!

Excellently stated, MT 1926.

If we were to see the devil fully for who he is, we would run in horror. He knows this. So he presents himself a little at a time to make himself more palatable, acceptable to us. He chips away at our values slowly and our thoughts are transformed as a society. In the name of tolerance, non discrimination and acceptance we embrace sinful ideas.

To save our civilization and our souls, it is time to repent and return to the arms of our loving Father. If this not done soon, we will self -destruct. The Ten Commandments were given to us for own good. We cannot accept gay unions and other sins in the name of non discrimination and tolerance. If we do, we are going down a fast slippery slope.

I really appreciate all of the responses so far, and I get what everyone is saying. I want to be clear that I am not trying to start a debate, I am just trying to get some help with my beliefs.

I think that the problem that I am really struggling with is that if we do not allow any type of civil union, then we are denying people rights that others have. For example, the ability to make end of life decisions for your partner, or the right to have your partner on your health insurance. It just seems to me that this is wrong. It also seems wrong to encourage something that as others have pointed out will lead to sinful behavior, and that is a big part of the reason that I feel caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue, because either way I turn on it, it feels wrong.

So okay, I just need to question this. This is an example of an unjust law that directly affects ME, because they will be coming for me, eventually. The problem isn’t that “Nobody would be forcing us to kill anyone,” the problem is that they will be killing us!

Could you expand/modify this objection? Because I am of the mind that it is the Civil Gov’s responsibility to protect our “Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness”, and frankly I’m in the same boat as the OP, I don’t see how homosexual marriage infringes on my life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness…

The problem is that we’ve given Civil Gov. too much power over our lives for far too long. We’re all continually fighting for our rights, or fighting to have rights taken away from other people.

It astounds me that we set up an institution that is so swayed by the prevailing public opinion. It seems to me that you’re right, they are redefining marriage, but we gave them that ability, just like we gave them the ability to define marriage in the first place.

Yes, yes, I know that the sacrament of Marriage is only defined by God and the Church, but I’m talking about when the State created Laws, they created marriage for themselves, not for God. I don’t think they are the same thing.

Laws are basically arbitrary, and I think activists are realizing that they could be changed on a whim if you should loud enough. This may sound like a cop-out, or maybe a little naïve, but I don’t say that I am “For” homosexual marriage, rather I am “Not Opposed” to it.

No one is denying civil unions and in fact, in most Western countries there is no discrimination either. On the contrary, this group has suddenly risen to privileged and protected minority status. There has been a real inversion of values here. As many of these “unions” are fluid, there is no need to dissolve the definition of marriage for the convenience of a few, and the utter importance it has for society and the protection of children.

I think this is the source of your struggle.

A civil marriage is still a valid marriage. Marriage pre-dates all religions and governments. Anyone can validly marry (according to the definition of what marriage actually is), not just religious people. For Christians, marriage is elevated to the level of “sacrament” by virtue of our Baptism. And for Catholics, the validity of a marriage is dependent upon following the pertinent canon law that we are all obligated to follow as Catholics. But that doesn’t mean that two atheists getting civilly married aren’t entering into an actual, valid marriage. They are. It’s not just “simple contract law.”

This is why the Church is invested in the outcome of this social issue. It’s not about getting everyone to believe what we believe. It’s about protecting the common good. Since society is founded on family and family is founded on marriage, we cannot arbitrarily redefine marriage without undermining society as a whole. It won’t end well.

If there are concerns about other legal matters (e.g. hospital visitation, inheritance rights, etc.) these can be solved in many other ways outside of redefining marriage. Such issues are often brought up as a rhetorical ploy to pull at our heart strings and play off our impulse for things to be “fair.” But none of that requires “gay marriage.” Indeed, many of those issue had already been resolved before last year’s Supreme Court decision.

I agree that we do not need to change “marriage”. At least not how I understand it. Marriage is done in a Church. What is done by the government can be called unions, contract law, marriage whatever you want, it doesn’t make it marriage. But why should we be opposed to government “marriage” that only gives the same legal (not religious or moral) rights to same sex couples? Is that not discrimination?

Are you coming into this debate just recently? You seem to be unaware of the rejection of ‘civil unions’ by those who call, instead, for a redefinition of marriage.

But why should we be opposed to government “marriage” that only gives the same legal (not religious or moral) rights to same sex couples?

Because it changes the definition of ‘marriage’. It makes marriage become something that it had never previously been, and which had never been part of what the state has a compelling interest in protecting.

Is that not discrimination?

No. By the very fact that the definition of marriage must be re-tooled, it’s clear that something new is being created. In other words, people are not being denied something that exists – instead, they want access to something new that no one has ever possessed. Therefore, it’s not ‘discrimination’, but rather, ‘social activism’. :shrug:

Fine – let’s refine the example, then, if you wish to argue the example rather than the point at hand. :shrug:

Let’s frame it up like this, then: suppose that the U.S. Congress passes a law saying that South Beach is a national treasure, and as such, only beautiful people should have access to it. Therefore, anyone over the age of 65 found in South Beach shall be immediately euthanized.

Now we’ve met your objections: if you don’t live in South Beach, then the law doesn’t affect you, inasmuch as your life isn’t at risk. Yet… it’s the epitome of an immoral law. Don’t we have an obligation, as citizens, to resist such efforts to legitimize immorality?

Could you expand/modify this objection? Because I am of the mind that it is the Civil Gov’s responsibility to protect our “Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness”, and frankly I’m in the same boat as the OP, I don’t see how homosexual marriage infringes on my life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness

Your responsibility as a citizen transcends those things that affect you personally. If that were the case, then the response to the anti-slavery movement is “hey - you’re white! this doesn’t affect you!” or to the suffrage movement, “hey - you’re a man! this doesn’t affect you!” And yet, in each of these cases, all citizens had the right and duty to address these issues.

Marriage is done in a Church for Catholics. Non-Catholics can get married anywhere they want (for the most part) and it is still a valid marriage.

Marriage exists outside of the Church.

I must be thick as a brick because I still don’t understand your “point at hand”…This is not Euthanasia or Abortion. This is not a matter of life and death, which civil governments should rightly protect.

And you’re right, we do have an obligation to object immoral laws that affect peoples lives:

Reject Slavery! Agreed! Slavery is immoral, it affects the slave’s ability to govern himself the way he choses.

Work for sufferage! Awesome! Women should have the right to vote! It affect’s the lives of women to have a say in politics.

By all means, it is our right and duty to teach the world the real meaning of Marriage, and to work for the conversion of the world, but I still fail to see how homosexual marriage affects my life, or the life of anyone else, except for those who desire to participate in it.

A perfect example of relativism.

I would have to guess you don’t work in the wedding industry. The government sure did a great job protecting the “Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” of the people that refused to bake cakes or cater SS weddings, for religious reasons. The government sided with the SS couples and they were sued out of business.

I guess only the squeaky wheel gets the happiness now a days.

Matthew 19:26

Now this is an argument I could get behind!

You’re right, that does infringe on the right of people who are not willing participants, but do you think this is a problem because of the one’s getting “married” who complained, or a problem of the Government sticking it’s nose in places they shouldn’t be?

I would argue that the Government had no right to force the baker/photographer/florist to serve anyone they object to. What do you think?

As someone else said, Gay people don’t want the benefits alone. That would make them “second-class citizens.” They want a one to one idea that same-sex marriage is 100% equal to heterosexual marriage.

I don’t understand why people can’t see that this is a totally arbitrary change to what Marriage actually is. Should fathers marry their daughters or brothers their sisters? Why not? This IS a social engineering experiment - 100%. It is false.

Two men.

Two women.

One man, one woman.

You can’t call two apples, one is an orange and one is an apple. But the massive, media supported, gay activist propaganda machine is forcing this wrong thinking on people. Should a man and his sister get government benefits because they live together and are committed to each other? Why not?

Wake up people.

Ed

I can agree with you that the government quite often sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong. But you are failing to see the whole picture. The American mindset of it doesn’t affect me is the whole reason the government is able to stick it’s nose where it doesn’t belong.

Step 1 allow SS civil unions and wait for people to be OK with it.
Step 2 redefine marriage.
Step 3 now that marriage is redefined we need to introduce SS unions and sexual practices into our schools sex education classes.

Is it affecting you yet? Cause I’m just starting to pick up some speed on this slippery slope that we are on.

Matthew 19:26

Step 3 is already there - in motion.

Heard of “Diversity Day” in schools?

amazon.com/Beyond-Diversity-Day-Curriculum-Sexualities/dp/074252034X

How about this father who complained when his little boy in school was given a storybook that showed gay marriage was OK/normative?

abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=1230620

Ed

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