Talking About “Gay Marriage”

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I’ve been told by more than a few people who support “gay marriage” that my take on it is somewhat unique. Given that I am virulently opposed to “gay marriage”, this is no small victory. It may be my absolute lack of fear when it comes to self-criticism (which may spill over into self-loathing if I am not careful), my willingness to unload heaps of criticism on those with whom I agree (lovingly of course), and/or my high level of intolerance for self-congratulatory nonsense that is responsible. I don’t really know. But I will tell you what I think about “gay marriage”, a phrase I will never utter or write sans-scare quotes, and you can decide.

First and foremost, I’ll acknowledge that a lot of criticism of “gay marriage” just misses the mark. Just the other day I witnessed a college-age conservative Catholic attempting to argue to a mob of atheists, some gay, some straight, that homosexuality was not a valid expression of human love. Woven in were concepts from modern Catholic teaching on the theology of the body and things of this nature. Setting aside the validity of such arguments, I have to say that attempting to argue that what someone experiences as “love” is not really love is going to be a pretty tough sell. I can’t imagine it working at all, especially coming from a stranger. Arguments that homosexuality will naturally lead to the acceptance of pedophilia or bestiality don’t tend to go over well either.

Arguments that homosexual acts violate the natural law, are intrinsically disordered, etc., more “traditional” arguments shall we say, also miss the mark. Of course I believe they are true and I would employ them all against self-identified Catholics or even other self-identified Christians who were attempting to defend “gay marriage.” In these arguments the authority of the Church, or at least Tradition, or at least small-t tradition, or at least Scripture, ought to suffice. Even if you don’t persuade, you can’t lose either.

But much of the time, those of us who are opposed to “gay marriage” are arguing with people who are secular, people who in an earlier time would have rightly been regarded as pagans of some variety. They may or may not be militant atheists, but in such debates their secularism will become more evident, militant and hostile. The only way to hold your ground is to enter into secular territory and beat them at their own game. It isn’t as hard as it sounds.

So what are my primary arguments against “gay marriage”? My first is a disarming tactic: we must acknowledge that “gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom. It is the devaluation of marriage and family ties, especially through divorce, contraception and abortion, that creates an environment in which a demand for “gay marriage” can arise. The ease with which people can enter into and out of marriages or maintain childless unions are the chief culprits here. What emerges is a conception of marriage as a romantic union for the purpose of finding self-fulfillment in another person. The primary and secondary reasons for marriage, producing and educating offspring, are shoved way into the background. Why not, when the state can support single-parenthood and working parentage with social programs and public schools?

In any case, when marriage becomes a means to self-fulfillment first, it can only be expected that people who identify as gay will feel a bit short-changed. The less meaningful and purposeful marriage becomes, the more arbitrary it appears to deny it to certain groups. So opposition to “gay marriage” cannot possibly be meaningful itself unless it is accompanied by strident opposition to divorce, contraception and abortion – not to mention fornication, adultery, the porn epidemic, voluntary single-parenthood, voluntary sterilization, and similar problems. As a strategic aside: convincing the Protestants in our lives and communities that the Church’s positions on divorce and contraception are the truly Christian positions would be an excellent place to start. Without holding in contempt all of the serious threats to marriage and family, contempt for one of them will simply ring hollow.

Secondly, we must oppose “gay marriage” because it threatens the future of human civilization, and this is as much a “secular” concern as it is a religious concern. Granted it is one threat among many, and not even the worst one at the moment. I would say the porn epidemic is an even greater problem, since more straight men are addicted to porn than there are gay men in the entire population. In either case, the spread of a self-centered conception of sexual gratification, be it through heterosexual fornication, homosexual acts, or pornography/masturbation is like a corrosive acid eating away at the foundations of civilization.

We can see this harm expressed in the collapsed birth rates of the developed world, including Western Europe, the United States, Japan, the “commonwealth” countries, and Eastern Europe as well due to the legacy of anti-family Communism. Even those who would point to the prospect of gay couples adopting children (which is a terrible idea, by the way) can’t argue with the fact that such unions cannot produce new life. They can do absolutely nothing to restore the birth rate to replacement levels. They even harm such prospects in that the children they adopt are statistically more likely to develop homosexual orientations. To legalize and celebrate the homosexual lifestyle in the midst of a demographic crisis such as the one faced by the developed countries is an act of sociocide.

Who will pay the taxes for the massive social welfare programs that most of these secular advocates also support? Who will support these childless people in their old age? Europe’s answer was to allow millions of people from poor, undemocratic, and culturally-backward countries to flood into their own to do the work, purchase the goods and pay the taxes that the children they never had couldn’t perform, buy or pay. So in addition to its demographic crisis, Europe faces a horrific culture war of its own, between a sleepy secularism and militant Islam. The United States has a similar problem with its southern border, with a growing and still unappreciated Mexican separatist/nationalist movement threatening to Balkanize the Southwest. And in both cases, waves of immigrants end up putting more of a strain on an already strained system instead of reinforcing it. The legitimization of homosexual relationships is far from the most serious cause of such problems, but it is still one of the more disturbing manifestations of a culture that has lost its will to survive.

Third, of what moral and philosophical significance are the radical egalitarian presumptions behind “gay rights”? Like feminism before it, and socialism before that, the “gay rights” movement is rooted in an idea has been severed from its Christian roots and therefore its rational limitations.

The concept of “equality” has no foundation in nature. Dominance and domination are facts of life. This has also been the case throughout most of human history. Christianity introduced humanity to exactly the greatest amount of egalitarianism it could possibly handle without self-imploding. But the same religion that is responsible for legitimizing any sort of notion of egalitarianism to begin with also put some rather severe limits on it. Equal dignity in the eyes of God was never meant to translate into the abolition of distinct social roles or their division into a hierarchy in which some command and others obey, as Scripture clearly attests. There may not be any slave or free, man or woman, Greek or Jew in Christ – but in the fallen world, servants are to obey their masters, wives their husbands, and society is to guided by the Church.

To sum it up: if you take God out of the picture, nature destroys all egalitarian notions and aspirations. At this point your faith must be placed entirely in the proposition that the advance of technology will overrule nature before nature overrules your egalitarian aspirations. Return God to the picture, and there is absolutely no justification for “gay marriage” whatsoever, as homosexuality is condemned in Scripture and is a violation of the natural law recognized by the Church.

Finally, I express to those I discuss “gay marriage” with that this is not about some kind of radical intolerance. I have libertarian leanings politically; with St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, I believe certain vices can and should be tolerated socially to a certain extent, for the sake of the greater good.  I really don’t care what people do behind closed doors or in a brothel on the edge of town, far away from neighborhoods where children go to school and families go to church. But I will not label what is morally evil good; I will not grant it “equal rights” with what is good; and I will maintain that in this case, as in a few others, the good of society overrides the desires of the individual.

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  1. Good luck finding someone that will argue in good faith.

    I’ve yet to find a single person who won’t go straight to the “then why should whites and blacks marry?” card– apparently, they think there’s as much difference between someone with dark skin and one with light as between two biological sexes.

    Who’s the racist, again?

  2. Fox,

    They don’t really think that. It’s just intellectual laziness.

    And I have found some people willing to have an honest debate about the issues. Or at least somewhat honest.

  3. Then I wish– for the umpty-bazillionth time– that I were around less lazy people.

    It’s a sad thing when the most intelligent person of my generation that I know can’t tell the difference between “saying everyone needs college” and “we shouldn’t have everyone go to grade school.”

  4. GOP President Lincoln said something to the effect of, “You can call that tail a leg. But, that dog still has only four legs.”

    It makes little sense to argue with moral bankrupts and imbeciles that equate “love” with sodomy.

    Possibly, the problem’s root is in the 1960’s birth control defeat. That moral disaster separated the sex act from its biological purpose: procreation. Now, it’s all recreation.

    The world is ruled by fornicators.

    People of Faith are in the world, not of this world.

    The moral moron will lisp, “But, they’re in love (sniffle).” That’s not love. That’s lust . . . and perverted lust.

  5. “In discussing the question, he used to liken the case to that of the boy who, when asked how many legs his calf would have if he called its tail a leg, replied, ” Five,” to which the prompt response was made that calling the tail a leg would not make it a leg.”

  6. I agree that arguing that someone doesn’t love someone else is not productive. For one thing, it’s not true. We are all called to love one another. There is nothing wrong with someone loving a member of the same sex, but one should not act on that love in a sexual way. I know some very devoted same sex couples who love each other very much. That doesn’t make their sexual relationship right, but the whole relationship is not based on “perverted lust.”

  7. I agree completely with your first point, that gay marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of societal breakdown. Non-Christians, and even gay churchgoers, make the point that gays can’t break down marriage. It’s already been broken, by a Christian’s own standards, through co-habitation instead of marriage, divorce, and porn, as you said, and though you did not explicitly mention the contraception mindset, I think it’s worth adding. The logic of concentrating on gay marriage seems like a malicious persecution separated from the larger reality of general disorder concerning love and marriage. Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.

    And they’re not making a tu quoque kind of fallacy, either. “Well, you Christians are messed up too, so you can’t talk to gays about their issues.” It seems to me that “they” have highlighted a real structural flaw — one we really must continue to answer and be responsible for.

  8. The more you discuss something that is either ludicrous or lacks any validity the more you give it credence. You are playing into the hands of those who want you to take the notion of same-sex “marriage” seriously.

  9. All good and substantial points, especially the “symptom, not cause” situation.

    But, Bonchamps, how does the moral Libertarian approach enforcement of laws against same-sex cohabitation or union? If, in fact, a marriage in its moral sense cannot exist between members of the same sex (which is both Scripturally aand doctrinally proven,) then there can be no law broken with respect to those who would pretend to, but could not actually, enact such a relationship. Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies? I doubt any attempt at that would pass muster, nor would it be effective to any degree should it actually become law.

    As well, short of Thought Police viewscreens, how does one know the details of the relationship between two very good friends who have been “roomies” or co-domesticants for years, but remain inscrutable and respectable in public? No outward indications of their relationship are given – private lives are nobody else’s business – so who can tell if they are lovers, friends or even relatives? In decades past, unmarried women had such arrangements quite commonly. Such distinctions would be necessary for laws to be enforced properly, but how could that information be gathered without violating the Constitution?

    Finally, is the Constitution of the US, or of any state, the place to “define” marriage? Constitutions are supposed to be the enumerations and definitions of, and limitations on, particular governments. It seems incongruous that a definition of marriage would go there. Even Roe v Wade did not produce a Constitutional amendment – it’s codified law.

    The estate of marriage has already been defined in a much higher text of authority. To quote Max Lucado: “God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” What God has ordained let no man put asunder, to borrow a phrase.

    If anything, trying to “define” marriage in a Constitution opens the door for government to theoretically define marriage, and with the direction governments are going these days, that’s not too attractive an option.

    So, IMHO, the whole thing is a trap – by getting conservatives to argue over this small symptom, the larger cause grows unabated. Such are the works of The Enemy, The Deceiver, The Prince of Lies. The sooner we see the truth behind these works the sooner we can stem that tide.

  10. Mr. Green,


    You are the voice of reason.

    There is one valid response to all liberal asininistries: “There you go again.”

    Gibbon: “I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

    Somehow, I am on some moron’s email list. Can you imagine?

  11. Joe Green: Here in Maryland if voters do not take back their prerogative, same- sex marriage becomes law in January 2013. 150,000 signatures on a petition must be got to put the issue on the referendum in November. A tsunami of ignorance and filth has inundated our children’s minds and hearts and all. Gays can do what they want and go to hell, I cannot stop them but, VIRGINITY IS THE ONLY REASON TO SURRENDER VIRGINITY, one’s own virginity AND another person’s virginity, the holy innocence of the virgin child about to be procreated. If somebody does not love you enough to want more of you, it is not love. Lust, a vice, cannot be codified, no more than stealing, lying or ass ault. Same -sex behavior is assault and battery. A person cannot consent to a crime of any magnitude or inanity. A person who seeks homosexual relations has lost his rational soul and mind and cannot give consent. The mob mentality is encouraged by our present regime because while rational man is engaging the lower beasts in vice, our sovereignty is being abrogated. The hope of a virgin is the only rational equality demanded.

  12. Having several members of our immediate family exposing their “gay” lifestyle recently and having several of my college age grandchildren (Catholic educated) completely reinforcing their decisions I found myself in that “love the sinner hate the sin” mentality. I find many of the arguments in this article to be right on and as I told the kids, “if God would have wanted this type of lifestyle there would not have been nor will there be any future. Beyond the relavant behavior of the homosexual act, which well I don’t know just gags me, I don’t know what else to say! They also know that it is not just homosexual behavior that is not ok. There is a reason for the 6th commandment, which entails co habitating, adultery and the myriad of other “sins of the flesh”. They ultimately, unless forgiven and brought back into the good graces of the Church are no less sinful. I know I was brought up a stodgy or cradle Catholic, but those awful sisters(whom I loved) seemed to be able to instill in me these values and although I also have not been perfect in my life, I sure knew right from wrong and where to go when I strayed. The Sacraments were “liberally” available to all of us. Now not so much.

  13. While I am in agreement with you, I’d like to bring up a ‘devil’s advocate’ question.

    >Even those who would point to the prospect of gay couples >adopting children (which is a terrible idea, by the way) can’t >argue with the fact that such unions cannot produce new >life. They can do absolutely nothing to restore the birth rate >to replacement levels.
    Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts. They merely need to purchase the requisite biological material – something many heterosexual couples do as well.
    Plus, technology marches on. I believe that lab mice with female fathers were produced several years ago. If this gets to people , there will be girls with two female genetic parents – and the process, unlike sperm donation, will produce only female offspring.

    I think it would be a disaster, but it is plausible.

  14. What is UP with the formatting here? Admins? Anyway, replies all around.


    “Our arguments, quite frankly, make no sense to them.”

    Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.


    “Would there be laws prohibiting civil or religious (if you could find one) ceremonies?”

    No. People can have whatever funny little ceremonies they like and call themselves whatever they like. But that’s not what they want. They can already do that. They want to force all levels of government, and eventually all social institutions and all individuals, to recognize their unions as legitimate and EQUAL to heterosexual marriages. A big part of this equality is in the name. They know the power of language, and so ought we to know, that by refusing to call their unions “marriages” we maintain an important psychological and social advantage.

    So I’m really not so concerned with fighting for a Constitutional amendment as much as I am fighting for our 1st and 10th amendment rights to call a spade a spade and act accordingly, respectively.


    If they’re college-age, I wouldn’t worry too much. It could be a trendy phase. Yes I know the typical gay activist will be shocked and offended by such a suggestion, but I’ve read enough stories of people who “discover” that they’re gay in college only to have it turn out to be a phase or a fad. Its another attempt to forge a unique identity for some people, just like others will become radical communists, feminists, or whatever.


    Hence my last paragraph. They have to have faith that technology will overrule nature before nature overrules their egalitarian vision of society. It is a race I don’t think they are going to win, for several reasons.

    In the meantime, though, yes, they can live out this abominable science-horror fantasy of a world in which there is reproduction without males and females mating.

  15. I also have to add, for Mr. Green and Mr. Shaw:

    Maybe you live in a different world than I do. Or maybe your brains operate differently than mine does.

    I live in a world in which radical gay activists have successfully influenced the media, the schools, the courts, and even some of the major religious institutions of this country that their political agenda is good, wise, and fair. This influence has had major repercussions, including the legalization of “gay marriage” in some U.S. states and many Western nations, the classification of traditional religious views on homosexuality as “hate speech” (this in Canada), and the indoctrination of children as young as 5 into acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle with books such as “Heather Has Two Mommies.”

    You two are bent over with your posteriors in the air and your heads in the sand. Contemplate the implications of that image before you respond.

  16. Actually, lesbian couples sometimes do add to the birthrate, albeit in small amounts.

    But that’s the point – it is such a small amount as to be insignificant, and therefore does not warrant state recognition vis-a-vis marriage. Same goes for reproductive technologies – at this point, it is prohibitively expensive to rely on it to support continuation of the populace. True, this opens up the “perhaps one day” argument, but today is not that day. And it does not address the issue of the ideal – study after study shows the best form of family for raising children is one mom, one dad for life families. Statistical outliers (which exist, of course) are not a rational basis for setting general public policy – that would be as insane as designing seating on public transportation to accomodate only those in the smallest one percentile of stature.

  17. C Matt-
    the example that pops to my mind is quibbling about the birth rate from women cheating on their husbands with someone that’s more fertile. Or maybe the birthrate of military wives with deployed husbands.

    That said, lesbian couples don’t add to the birth rate– a lesbian might, and two lesbians that are in a pairing might, but it’s not a function of the two being one.

  18. (“equality” has no foundation in nature) That phrase jumped out at me and made me think!
    Yes–I wonder if we were able to go back to live in some very primitive first-generation-of-society type community– seeing the world and each other for the first time collectively– in that first original city individual individuals, forming families and learning about life, I guess homosexuals would be ignored; not necessarily protected, or elevated…..because that is not what most people are drawn to. Homosexuals would be outside the mainstream- and being not contagious, not procreative– would remain a small sidebar of society– not a problem for these original libertarians! 🙂 You do your thing and I will do mine.
    But bring Christianity into the picture and people start caring about what is going on in another person’s life because they love that person!.. and want the best for them. Even if they are in a brothel on the other side of town.
    People, developing a social awareness, begin to understand that they are in fact their brother’s keeper; that society does in fact mean -and depend upon- a kind of linkage between individuals. As Christians now our little society is brought, by a sense of, Love and Responsibility, to care about the souls of other people– not just their temporal welfare– in fact, to love those sinners… in this life for the next!
    But it is not all altruism….this community of folks now also understand now that sin is not good for the individual, and thus not good for society… not good for all of us…and cannot be shrugged off or ignored.
    Now this proto society develops a “State”– and the new State takes the office of protecting these loving individual individuals from harm and promoting their general welfare.. the State is generally reflective of society and all is Good.
    Change goes on– somehow the libertines are not safely in the brothel across town, but are in the school system and the governing boards of various institutions, stopping Christians from teaching Christianity…even from having Christian hospitals. The libertines begin to have a negative influence on this little society… tolerating sin to a certain extent seems to have gotten out of hand! Being libertarians, the people of the community are busy protecting their privacy, their personal rights; perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, thank you.
    …and all the others, over there in the brothel, sick with the result of their sin.. well, it was their own fault.. The children and families are wandering unkempt– because who is going to kempt them? The society has sunk back– to pre-Christian, like the original society…. before they knew about Love.

  19. Bonchamps: “Precisely. That’s why we have to better make the connection between God’s law and the social good. Too often they are seen as something completely different. God’s law is seen as arbitrary, while pursuit of the social good is rational. But we must endeavor to show how God’s law is what is best for society, that Christian morality is not arbitrary.” God has given you a well trained tongue. God speed.

  20. I see what a lot of flaws I have in my little parable.
    I was trying to say I don’t think we can go back to a time when homosexuals are marginalized and ignored; we can’t ignore them now but must reach out actually evangelizing in words and deeds. We must keep trying to become more Christian, not less, both as individuals and as a society.
    We must protect the Christian society that has developed in the 2000 years and realize that we are a Body, a Communion… above and beyond a political community.

  21. Under pressure from militant homosexuals and adult/child (without informed sexual consent to give) activists, The North American Man Boy Love Association, the American Psychiatric Association removed the diagnosis of “arrested development” from homosexuality and classified homosexuality as “normal”. All people go through a same sex attraction at puberty and some get hung up in arrested development. Marriage is a covenant between two souls, a male soul and a female soul, as God created them in Genesis, body and soul, when God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils and brought Eve to Adam, the first marriage covenant. The equality homosexual activists are seeking is our very souls.

  22. “”gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.” Our Creator endows man’s unalienable rights. Man has an unalienable right to Truth. For atheists and gay rights activists to try to overturn our Creator endowed unalienable right to TRUTH is contempt of court. Redefining our founding principles without two thirds of the states ratifying the change is treason. The “symptom” is caused by the despair planted when Paul Erlick’s Population Bomb and Thomas Malthus declared the populaton would all come to an end and it will unless people begin to trust in the Divine Providence of God inscribed in our Declaration of Independence.

  23. I have not been placed on “moderation” for too long.

    You cannot reason with a rat that thinks 2 + 2 = 5.

    We outnumber the scum about 27 to one.

    Whenever you need to keep your head down, you maintain your arse in a similarly low profile.

    I did my part.

    I raised three real men. One is an captain airborne ranger on active service. One shortly will become a proud father. The third’s long-term girl friend is a blond beauty. She could be in the movies.

    You know what is teen code for lame-ass? Try “gay.”

    As in gay marriage is so gay!

    No, I am not equipped to deal with stupid.

  24. While I agree with Bonchamps that many of the arguments put forth by Catholics based on the “theology of the body” can be a very tough sell. One of the reasons is, I have say, is that many of those who talk about the theology of the body don’t understand it much better than those whom they are trying to inform. And their interlocutors sense it, despite their own ignorance of the subject.

    However, I find the arguments put forth by Bonchamps, as valid and correct as they are, will have an equally tough road to hoe with the secularist crowd. These people like their porn. They like their sex without consequences (although they find out the hard way that that’s a cruel illusion.). So, I think exposing the falsity of same sex marriage cuts a little too close to home in that it sheds an unwanted light on the futility of their own lifestyle .

    Foxfier touches upon an important point about getting these people to argue in good faith. The most cleverly crafted arguments are not gonna get anywhere with someone who is not willing to argue in good faith. How do we help that process along? Of course, I cannot come up with anything like a complete answer. After all, if the Almighty Himself chooses to render himself powerless against man’s free will, we aren’t gonna fare any better in that realm either.

    But I think there a few things that are helpful. First thing is that if we are able, to try and strike up a natural friendship with some of these people. We can often fall into the trap of treating people more like potential converts than human beings, thus objectifying them in a sense. Friendship can help facilitate that. Another thing is to understand evangelization (which is what we doing here in a sense) has as much to do with listening as it does with speaking. Getting a sense of what makes people think a certain way is indispensable in getting them to take your position seriously.

    As far as the whole self-fulfillment and purpose of marriage thing goes, it is important to point out that while self-fulfillment is not the primary purpose of marriage, it is the primary MOTIVATION for marriage, even amongst seriously religious people. And everyone understands at some level that giving oneself to something or someone bigger than themselves is the key to real self-fulfillment.

    I have more to say but I am pressed for time.

  25. ‘My first is a disarming tactic: we must acknowledge that “gay marriage” is not so much a cause of social decay as it is a symptom.’

    Well, it is both. I often use an analogy from the financial world — they have this great phrase, “throwing good money after bad money.” That’s precisely what it is.

  26. I also think it is important to point out that the homosexual ( I refuse to use the word gay because the original meaning of the word really has nothing to do with sexual orientation) agenda is not controlled primarily by the homosexuals themselves. It is actually controlled by the heterosexual left. This is particularly the case in the political arena. Sure, there are militiant homosexuals in this movement that exert a great deal of intimidation, but they are puppets more than they are puppetiers.

    The basic driving force in almost all left wing ideology, be it in the political or social arena, is the acquisition of power for its own sake. And to acquire power as a thing in and of itself they create and/or prey upon as many victims as possible. And the victim mentality shapes the homosexual mindset in a very powerful way. Just ask any psychotherapist who works in the field of treating the disorder of same sex attraction(aka reparative therapy).

    And yes, I do believe that those who suffer from same sex attraction, whether they act on it or not, are indeed victims, but not in the sense many of them or those who defend that lifestyle believe and want you to believe. When one studies the psychologiocal causes that give rise to same sex attraction, one sees that these people have been victimized in several different and complex ways. Same sex attraction is a sexual and gender identity disorder. There are few forms of victimization more devastating than this. And the power drivers of the left seize upon this. They do so under the guise of compassion. Of course, it is not compassionate to leave victim in victim state or allow them to create other victims. But this is an important dynamic to understand.

  27. It is interesting to note that the argument that led France’s highest courts to reject the equality argument for same-sex marriage.

    The Code Civil [the Code Napoléon of 1804] contains no definition of marriage, but Article 312 « L’enfant conçu ou né pendant le mariage a pour père le mari.» [The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father] has been treated as a functional definition by jurists, including the three most authoritative commentators on the Code Civil, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925) and Gaudemet (1908-2001), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Code Civil; this led to the introduction of PACS [civil unions] for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

    One of the greatest modern commentators on the Code Civil (Jean Carbonnier (1908-2003)) famously remarked, “The heart of marriage is not the couple, but the presumption of paternity.”

    In 2006, this interpretation received a ringing endorsement from the French Senate, who declared “The presumption of paternity of the husband rests on the obligation of fidelity between spouses and reflects the commitment made by the husband during the celebration of marriage, to raise the couple’s children. The report presenting the order to the President of the Republic rightly points out that ” it is, in the words of Dean Carbonnier, the ‘heart of marriage,’ and cannot be questioned without losing for this institution its meaning and value.””

    Not surprisingly, given that background, the courts held that “Clearly, same-sex couples whom nature had not made potentially fertile were consequently not concerned by the institution of marriage. This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous” For them, the purpose of mandatory civil marriage is the determination of the civil status of children.

    It is significant that, in a country so committed to the principle of laïcité as France, no one has suggested that these views are the result of religious convictions or an attempt to import them into the interpretation of the Code.

  28. You might well wish to consider the following argument of the eminent French Jurist, A. Mirkovic. Himself a supporter of SSM, he puts his opponents’ case very fairly and succinctly and his own arguments in defence of the opposing position are astonishingly weak. As a citizen, Prof. Merkovic is free to advance his own views; as one of the greatest living French jurists, he would never stoop to misrepresenting his opponents’ arguments.

    “Even today, in 2011, in commenting on the decision 2010-92 QPC, [the decision of the highest French courts rejecting SSM] some authors consider that the marriage is based on human reproduction. “In regard to marriage, persons of different sex, and persons of the same sex are not in the same situation because marriage includes the perspective of procreation. With regard to procreation, either natural or imitated in the case of adoption, the first may indeed procreate (or make as if they had procreated), while the latter cannot. If some male-female couples do not breed, it is for reasons peculiar to them, subjective (advanced age, pathological infertility, choice not to have children); same-sex couples cannot procreate together due to objective incapacity. The difference in situation justifies the difference in treatment, namely access to marriage. (…). The legislature must therefore reaffirm the specificity of the marriage, not only among other life-styles for couples, but as the foundational institution of the family.” This is only the confirmation of the doctrine of the 1990s. But we are now in 2011. This should not in any case prejudice the options open and the legitimization of same-sex marriage.”

  29. Your article was great except for the line where you say that you aren’t concerned about what someone does in the bedroom or the brothel at the edge of town. ALL SIN affects each and everyone of us and as we know from Holy Scripture, ALL OF OUR SINS will be broad-casted to the whole world. My marriage was a truly GAY and joyful one, as my wife (born a woman, will die as a woman and myself, born as a man and will shortly die as a man), did not shack up before our marriage (we were what this world foolishly looks down upon us: VIRGINS), without any regrets whatsoever. Those that are against God and His Nature, are not, nor will they ever be truly gay, until they repent. I have seen some pictures lately of their ‘parades’ with signs calling themselves what they truly are: queers/fags; not my words, but, there own. +JMJ+

  30. My concern is for a number of gay Christian friends who are incredibly angry at the conservative church. They argue that marriage is a civil service, and therefore is a civil right. And they don’t buy my view that marriage is not a civil service, but a sacrament instituted by Christ, and calling it anything else redefines and cheapens the relationship Christ has with his Church – the Bride of Christ – for which he died. So much anger out there.

  31. Jim Cosgrove

    That is why I favour the European system of mandatory civil marriage, under which people have to go through a civil marriage, before any religious ceremony they may choose to have.

    This has not favoured the campaign for SSM in France, where the courts have held (1) Mandatory civil marriage, makes the institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation, enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation.

  32. I had the distinct unpleasant experience of tuning in to a two-hour presentation by filmmaker Michael Moore, who was introduced by Marxist economist UMass professor Stephen Wolff in glowing terms, in which two minutes into the program Moore said that “54 percent of the American people in a poll think that gay marriage ought to be the law of the land.” If true, then I am happy to be in the minority. Although Moore’s topic was supposed to be about the Occupy movement, I turned off the TV right after his reported the poll result. He did not cite a source, by the way. I’m thinking the poll might have been taken on the streets of San Francisco. Can anybody verify the 54% figure?

  33. Joe, the poll may have been an online five-college campus opus from the area in which the professor earns his income. Verification? Source? Wording? Leaves in the wind.
    The thing to worry about, in my estimation, is how occupy is morphing into flash robs … then, what next during this grassroots campaign of change by the campaigner par excellence.

    Last week, I sketched two cases known from personal experience in which ‘talking’ about boiled down to availing the other of legal benefits and material concerns. Also, much misery, little love and so on. The comment deleted due to some touch on the keypad – maybe because I mentioned that my mother and one’s elderly aunt at a yankee restaurant on a mother’s day were treated to witnessing their hand holding before dinner without any knowledge of the situation. Averting eyes was the main dish and no such events since that year. The other case was about two little girls from IVF who, gone now in a ragged split, cried more than any children I have encountered. Unholy alliances and trails of sadness. I agree that ‘behind closed doors’ outweighs ‘legislating for material reasons’ which kills the essence of innocence. Talking? Nah.

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