This post continues a series of reflections that I began here.
I want to pause a moment, and go back to Leah Libresco’s blog post that kicked off this set of reflections. She says,
There are a lot of out, queer people in relationships, raising children, or hoping very much to wind up in one or both of those categories. Pro-traditional marriage movements are a threat to their relationships with the people they love most.
Leah suggests that when we oppose same-sex marriage, we are in effect asking these people to leave their partners; that we are saying that they should break up with people who love them, for their own good. Or, perhaps, she is saying that that’s what people in committed same-sex relationships hear us saying. In essence, we appear to be saying, “This relationship in which you have found love and joy—it’s bad. There’s nothing good about it. The love and joy you’ve found: it’s an illusion. We reject it, and you should, too.”
It struck me when I read Leah’s post, and I continue to think, that this extreme point of view is indefensible. It might be what “queer people in relationships” hear; and it might be what some of us do in fact think. And it might be true in certain cases; some relationships are simply toxic for one or both partners.
But consider two people who have made a commitment to each other, who have agreed to support each other through thick and thin, who have taken on the commitment of raising children as best they know how, who are practicing patience, loyalty, forgiveness, charity towards each other: is there nothing there that is good?
Is there sin in such a relationship? Surely, because there is sin in every human being we meet, and hence in every relationship. But there can be great goodness as well. We need to recognize that, and we need to love what is good.
Are there moral issues involved with same-sex marriage? Certainly there are (for the record, my views on sexual morality can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). It must be difficult for a same-sex couple approaching the Church to put aside those aspects of their relationship. But that is not to say that everything must be put aside. It may be necessary to make changes, but against charity there is no law.