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5 Questions for “Same-Sex Marriage” Advocates

Marriage Elvert Barnes

Elvert Barnes

Caitlin Bootsma - published on 06/22/14

Just asking--could we stop talking past each other?

Last week’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. brought same-sex marriage into the forefront of social media discussions, from Facebook profile pictures to quick-fire Twitter arguments. What is so frustrating about this debate is that the two sides seem to talk right past each other.

Consider one exchange wherein I tweeted, “Marriage isn’t a ‘requirement’ to procreate, but every kid biologically has a mom & dad & deserves to know and be loved by them.” One actively homosexual man tweeted back “I don’t disagree but where is your concern for all the straight people shirking that responsibility?” Here, I am addressing how a baby born through sperm/egg donation to a homosexual couple will be purposefully deprived of having one of his or her biological parents in the picture. The man with whom I was conversing is talking about how there are problems with heterosexual couples, too. In this exchange, we are not tackling the same question. How are we ever supposed to reach a consensus?

At the March for Marriage, Archbishop Cordileone reminded us that there are a lot of people with goodwill on both sides of this debate (though it is only logical that they both cannot be correct). He said,

We must be careful, though, not to paint our opponents on this issue with broad strokes. There is a tendency in our culture to do this to groups of people the powerful don’t know and think they don’t like. We must not do that.  We must recognize that there are people on the other side of this debate who are of good will and are sincerely trying to promote what they think is right and fair.

It is difficult to take the Archbishop’s words to heart, however, when this debate is an emotionally charged one for so many people. Whether we think that marriage is being further eroded in our country or whether we feel that we or someone we know “deserves the right” to be married to someone of the same-sex, this is not an exercise in debate club, but an issue of momentous significance to our nation. It is for this reason that I rarely, if ever, have had the opportunity ask sincere questions of same-sex marriage advocates.

I firmly believe in marriage as defined by the Church and want to see natural marriage upheld. However, I do not think same-sex marriage advocacy came out of the blue. It is, rather, the natural progression from a culture that already supports no-fault divorce, limitless contraception, abortion, and other practices that are contrary to the true unitive and life-giving purposes of marriage. My aforementioned tweeting companion expressed the common mentality when he said that procreation and marriage do not have to be linked. His position is understandable considering the state of marriage in our nation for the last fifty years.

The following are several questions that I would ask without guile to intelligent, well-meaning advocates of homosexual marriage. Perhaps the answers would give me more insight into why they are fighting for something that seems illogical to me and, conversely, perhaps my questions would give them more insight into why I stand to defend a traditional definition of marriage.

  1. Rights. Advocates discuss the right to get married a lot. What is not discussed much at all is the rights of children involved. While not every same-sex couple will use sperm or egg donation to have children, many will. When a life is created in this way, a child is being purposefully deprived of their biological father or mother. This is different than adoption, when adoptive parents choose to adopt a child who is already parentless. How do you see a child’s rights in circumstances such as these? Do you see any worth in a child growing up with his or her biological parents?

  1. Equality. Same-sex marriage is often called the new Civil Rights movement. In the Civil Rights movement, people were fighting against laws that denied certain privileges to people because of some aspect of their identities (their skin color). Yet, marriage is not being denied to anyone. Marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman and this institution is open to those of consenting age, etc. Could you explain to me how this is a fight for equality, rather than a fight for the redefinition of marriage?

  1. What is a marriage, anyway? One thing I don’t understand is, if marriage is not between only a man and a woman, how it is any different from another long lasting relationship? Heterosexual spouses not only make a life-long commitment, but they unite sexually in a way unique to heterosexual couples, with the potential to have children. I truly am not being sarcastic when I ask: if we are going to expand the definition of marriage, why shouldn’t non-sexually involved friends get married, or even siblings? What makes marriage unique?

  1. Love is love? If there is any slogan I don’t understand, it is this one. In my experience, love is different depending on the circumstances. I love my mother in a different way than I love my husband, just as I love my friends in a different way than I love my children. Just because there is love between two people does not necessarily make it spousal love, does it?

  1. Can we talk? Since this debate ramped up several years, I have seen any number of personal insults hurled from both sides. “Deviant,” “bigoted,” “perverted,” “intolerant,” to name just a few. This does not get us anywhere. Would you agree that we should put the name-calling aside and discuss actual issues in the public square?

Ultimately, I would hope that everyone is seeking the truth when it comes to marriage. That is, what is the true definition of marriage and what would most benefit couples, society, and children. Charitable dialogue with a common purpose of truth-seeking is the first step.

Caitlin Bootsmais the editor of Human Life International’s Truth and Charity Forum as well as the Communications Director for Fuzati, Inc., a Catholic marketing company. Mrs. Bootsma received a Licentiate in Catholic Social Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome as well as a Master’s of Systematic Theology from Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two sons.

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