Same-Sex Unions

 After much  research and  contemplation on the writings of Pope Benedict XVI, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and scholars, we continue with the moral aspects of marriage. This article by no means is intended to be judgmental, it simply states the position of the Catholic Church on how she sees marriage.

Respecting the dignity of homosexual persons does not conflict with upholding God's intent for marriage in which sexual relations have their proper and exclusive place. Christians must give witness to the whole moral truth and also oppose as immoral both homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges that homosexual persons “be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (No. 2358). It also encourages “chaste friendships" (USCCB, Statement, 6). Such friendships, whether between homosexual or heterosexual persons, are a great good benefit to society (See CCC, 2347).

Today, attempts to redefine marriage and questions about same-sex unions have originated a national debate on the nature and purpose of marriage. Many people believe that same-sex marriage will become available to all loving, committed adult couples throughout North America and western Europe sometime in the next few decades.

We have an obligation to see that civil laws reflect the proper moral order.  Just because something is legal does not make it moral.  Homosexual unions simply do not conform to the definition of marriage. Even if recognized in civil law, they are not true marriages. In God's plan, human history and experience, a man and a woman come together to form a permanent life-giving union and at the same time to become a family. Civil law cannot legitimately redefine this human reality.

"Marriage is a gift to be cherished and protected", proclaims the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a statement issued at their November 2003 meeting on the sanctity of marriage, "Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-sex Unions". Largely in reaction to recent court rulings that potentially redefine the institution of marriage in the United States, the bishops took a bold stance in defense of the institution.

Marriage, as both a natural institution and a sacred union, is rooted in God's plan for creation. The truth that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman is woven deeply into the human spirit.  This truth has been confirmed by divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture. Jesus Christ made marriage a symbol of His love for His Church (Eph 5:25-33). This means that a sacramental marriage lets the world see, in human terms, something of the faithful, creative, abundant, and self-emptying love of Christ.

In marriage, husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in their masculinity and femininity (see CCC, no. 1643). They are equal as human beings but different as man and woman, fulfilling each other through this natural difference. This unique complementarity makes possible the conjugal bond that is the core of marriage.

Marriage is about more than just the feelings of two people. Feelings are important, but they aren't the whole of it. We all know that feelings change and that any marriage has its ups and downs. A good marriage has more ups than downs. Emotions change from one day to the next. Sometimes they're very loving, and sometimes they're very negative.

Marriage does involve very personal feelings, but this does not mean that it is merely a private matter. Whether it succeeds or fails, a marriage has a huge impact on the couple, their children, those around them, and the entire society. As an institution, marriage is the business of everyone in society. It takes more than emotion to hold a marriage together.

Marriage is the foundation of the family. The family, in turn, is the basic unit of society. Thus, marriage is a personal relationship with public significance.

Marriage is the fundamental pattern for male-female relationships. It contributes to society because it models the way in which women and men live interdependently and commit, for the whole of life, to seek the good of each other.

Same-sex unions contradict the nature of marriage.  It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.

When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened.

Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.