The gloating of liberal Marylanders over Governor O'Malley's epic cave to political pressure regarding gay marriage has forced me to turn the brain back on for some thinking.
A while back I watched a documentary called For the Bible Tells Me So, which questioned whether or not the Bible says anything about committed homosexual relationships. The conclusion was either no or probably not. However, I've since graduated from amateur documentary-level theology to the "I would believe anything this man ever said even though I don't have to" theology of Blessed John Paul II. His seductively beautiful Theology of the Body paints the picture of the human family with father, mother and child as the image of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit. Essentially, the love between the Father and the Son and between the father and the mother is so intense that it is procreative and personified by the Spirit and the child respectively.
Thus Christian theology insists that the link between human sexuality and fertility should not be severed as it has been by the use of birth control and by homosexual relationships. From the image of the Trinity comes the definition of the Sacrament of Marriage. So it should be obvious why a Catholic would say that the proposed gay marriage is a radical redefinition of marriage in that it no longer has anything to do with procreation. I know! Such intolerant bigotry to insist that words have meaning. By the way, when I use the term Catholic here, I mean someone who believes what the Church teaches, rather than those who claim to be devout Catholics and yet apparently don't believe the moral and theological teachings.
Now I know that the push for gay marriage comes from a place of love. But rather than providing a means of acknowledging a loving relationship between adults, which by itself doesn't constitute marriage, the goal of gay marriage is to legitimize gay relationships. Often when women feel that we are being denied the respect we deserve in a male-dominated environment, we strive to be one of the guys. But we soon face the consequences of jamming ourselves into a male mold rather than insisting our femininity be recognized and respected. Today, it seems we feel that jamming gay people into the straight person mold will somehow make homosexuality more palatable. On the one hand, same sex couples are being told to embrace their homosexuality, while on the other hand they are being told that they need to be more like heterosexual couples in order for their union to be acceptable. Unfortunately, there will be sad consequences because such an approach does not respect the dignity of same sex attracted persons and further degrades the integrity of the family. As someone who was raised by my mother and grandmother, I can tell you that two moms will never make a dad.
If marriage is to be founded solely on feelings of love between two individuals and, in particular, on sexual love, then limiting the redefinition of marriage to gays is a great hypocrisy. If gay marriage is okay then why not polygamy? And why can't I marry my brother like the monarchs used to? When incest exists between two consenting adults should it be contractualized through marriage? I cannot think of a reason for supporting gay marriage that would not also apply to a happy, incestuous couple. And, based on the current logic, if anyone thinks that brother and sister shouldn't be married then he or she is apparently an intolerant bigot, because it's their civil right! Might Cardinal O'Brien be right in saying that we experience "intolerance behind the mask of tolerance"?
The redefinition of marriage strips the word of any definitive meaning. Maybe we feel that it's okay to redefine marriage because we no longer feel that heterosexual marriage has meaning. Maybe we feel that it's just an optional civil contract between two cohabiting adults. In which case, shouldn't we reclaim the true definition of marriage rather than continue the process of rendering it meaningless?