Same-Sex Marriage Law is Deeply Disturbing
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Minnesota. I am deeply disturbed by this new law. Nature, reason, and Divine Revelation all tell us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, who promise to love each other in a faithful and permanent way, which is open to the conception of children. Same-sex marriage is something totally other than this. How can two realities, so essentially different from one another, be viewed as the same according to the law?
As chaplain for Courage in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for ten years, I have spoken with hundreds of men and women with same-sex attraction, and with parents of sons and daughters who have same-sex attraction. Having listened to them and having learned from their experiences, I find myself deeply concerned for couples with same-sex attraction who enter into same-sex marriages. There are few who question whether or not such relationships are good for couples who have same-sex attraction. It is assumed that same-sex marriage is good for them.
From my experience, I think that same-sex marriages will cause undo harm spiritually, emotionally, and bodily to those who enter into them. Those with same-sex attraction deserve our love. But legalizing same-sex marriage is not a loving response to same-sex attraction. Prayer, friendship, encouragement to live chastely, love, and support are what we should give.
I am concerned as well for the families of those who enter into same-sex marriages. I have looked into the eyes of parents and family members who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters living in same-sex relationships. I have listened to their stories. I have seen so much confusion, anger, internal conflict, and hurt in these situations.
What about children? An abundance of research has shown that, all things being equal, children do best on any number of measurable outcomes when raised in an intact home by their mother and father. Given this, I worry about our new public policy which communicates that it is not necessary or even ideal to create and raise children in the context of a marriage between a man and a woman.
I am concerned for the Catholic Church and for Catholic laity who in conscience stand for the authentic definition of marriage. Will their freedom of conscience and religious liberty be respected? In Canada, where same-sex marriage has been legal for six years, the conscience rights and religious liberty of those who do not agree with the law are under attack. The Most Reverend Terrence T. Prendergast, archbishop of Ottawa, spoke in Minneapolis recently and shared some of those stories, and I think we will see similar problems here.
I call upon all of us to pray for marriage and family life, and for those with same-sex attraction and their families. I ask that we reflect on the meaning of marriage and family life and on the language inscribed in the humanity of man and woman. What does this language say to us about the relationship of man and woman? Does it not communicate that man and woman are made for each other in a way that is essentially different from man and man, and woman and woman?
The Diocese of New Ulm will continue to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Church, which includes the truth about the definition of marriage, and love and respect for all of God’s children. I ask the special protection for our diocese and for the Church through the graces of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.