This post continues a series of reflections that I began here.
Note to anyone who comes to this page looking for a fight: please read the post carefully. If you’re a supporter of same-sex marriage, you probably won’t like my reasons for opposing it. But please take the time to discover what they are, and what my notion of “opposition” is before you start cussing me out.
Previously I’ve written of my responsibility to others as a Christian, and in particular that I must not lie to them. I’ve written of my rejection of coercion in most spiritual and moral matters (including this one). I’ve written on the moral necessity of knowing and loving what is good. I’ve talked about the many benefits, both physical and spiritual, of communal living, and particularly of married and family life. And I’ve talked about what I call “foundational sin“, sin that lies at the center of your self-image and is consequently the hardest to repent of.
And here’s where we come to the nub.
It should come as no surprise, given that I profess to believe what the Catholic Church teaches, that I think that certain specific acts are morally wrong. These include having sex with another person outside of traditional, heterosexual marriage.
A same-sex couple who seek out a same-sex marriage are presumably planning to have sex of some sort together. And by getting married, the couple have embedded this sin of sex outside of traditional marriage at the heart of their lives, where it will be difficult if not impossible to repent of. It’s hard enough to root out a foundational sin in your life when it’s just you. When rooting out that sin would involve the betrayal of a loved partner, it’s much harder.
Please note what I’m not saying.
I’m not saying that gays and lesbians are abominations. God loves us all.
I’m not saying that gays and lesbians are more sinful than straight people. It should be clear from what I’ve said that I regard cohabitation of straight people and re-marriage after divorce to be equally problematic, and there are six other deadly sins to think about.
I’m not saying that same-sex attraction is sinful. Me, I’ve got many attractions to things that I ought not do. So does everybody.
I’m not saying that devoting your life to the good of your loved ones is wrong; in fact, I’ve said the opposite.
But for me to vote in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage would be to say, “Go ahead; build your lives on this sin. It’s OK. It will do you no harm.” Or worse, it would be say, “Yeah, I think it will hurt you, but I don’t care.”
I cannot coerce anyone to open their lives to God’s grace. It doesn’t work, and attempting to do so is deeply sinful. But I mustn’t lie to them either. I mustn’t pretend that it doesn’t matter.