It Ain’t All about Us
“The goal of gay marriage, as I have said many times, is to create a legal basis for persecuting and, if possible, legally suppressing the Catholic Church. That’s the goal.”
Please tell me I’m misreading this statement, because Shea seems to be saying that all those same sex couples taking to the streets in public witness and lobbying public servants in hopes of one day participating in the institution of marriage are either motivated by a desire to create a legal basis for persecuting and suppressing the Catholic Church or are unwittingly participating in this nefarious plot. Really? Should I be interpreting their shouts of protest and tears of upset and success as expressions of an unstated, underlying goal to harm my faith?
I suppose if same-sex civil marriage becomes universally recognized some obsessed grudge-holding anti-Catholics may use the Catholic Church’s refusal to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies as a pretext for persecution or suppression, but that possibility hardly translates into Mark Shea’s “That’s the goal.”
Besides, it’s not as though any heterosexual couple can get married in the Catholic Church. The bride and groom have to be free to marry, both in accordance with civil law and canon law. If either one of them has a previous marriage not declared null, then the couple won’t be allowed by the Church to set a date. Other impediments can just as surely put a halt to any wedding planning. If either of them intends to deny the right of the spouse to have children, the couple won’t be walking down the aisle at their parish. Even pregnancy, cohabitation, or a signed prenuptial agreement can give the pastor cause to deny marriage.
If same-sex marriage establishes a basis for persecution and suppression, then why do not other differences here between U.S. civil law and the Church’s canon law create such a basis? Have there been serious legal challenges to the Church’s denying marriage to the previously married, to those who openly plan measures to prevent any children, or to those already living and sleeping together?
Perhaps I’ve been tricked into letting my guard down by Jason Kuznicki, who argues that churches don’t need to fear being compelled to comply with anti-discrimination law if same-sex marriage becomes legally available throughout the country, but I don’t think so.