Four Ways that Same-Sex Marriage Will Affect You

Just hours after the U.S. Supreme struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26, a comedy website (which shall remain unnamed and unlinked-to) offered readers a “Guide to How the Gay Marriage Ruling Affects You,” the monotonous shtick of which was that, unless you are a homosexual who wished to marry, it doesn’t. Are you straight? Married? Religious? “This decision does not affect you in any way.”
Certainly nothing new or surprising about the assertion that “gay marriage won’t affect you.” Who among us hasn’t heard that?
What does surprise me is how folks on the political and moral Left can pretend that when it comes to sex every man is an island, while in most every other area they are so quick to see far-reaching social ripple effects from personal actions.
Think about it. Environmentalists want us to “think globally, act locally,” because, apparently, drinking from a styrofoam cup vaporizes the rain forest and eating a can of Star-Kist slaughters a family of dolphins. Others tell us to “live simply that others may simply live,” the implication being that my luxury is the distant cause of someone else’s poverty. And if former president Carter is to be believed, theCatholic Church’s failure to ordain women to the priesthood has led to all manner of economic and institutional discrimination against them.
Why is it, then, that sex is something that never goes beyond the bedroom? How can these same people, ordinarily so attuned to the interconnectedness of things, state so blithely, “This decision does not affect you in any way”?
This is a favorite challenge of same-sex marriage (SSM) advocates, first, because it does a handy end-run around the argument. Rather than inviting a needed discussion about the meaning of sex and marriage or about the role of the state in regulating them, it shuts down discussion by framing the whole question not in terms of principle but of consequences.
Secondly, because it implies that our motive is nothing more than moral busybodyism—a variation on Mencken’s definition of Puritanism as the fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.
So I think it’s important, as the SSM train rolls on and its supporters become bolder, for defenders of traditional marriage to be able to offer cogent answers to that challenge. Here are four:
1. Ideas have consequences.
This is the first and most general response we might make. Culture, in which we all participate and by which we’re all affected, is the sum total of the ideas that shape it. The power of those ideas, and their shaping, is proportionate to the number and importance of the cultural categories they affect.
Sex, marriage, children, familial relationships: These things are the most pervasive cultural categories in human history. One doesn’t have to postulate great leaps of causality to see that rapid and radical changes in these areas affect everyone. Western culture as we know it is built on thousands of years of viewing marriage, sex, and family life in certain ways. To say that we can redefine those views and not change the culture is just silly, or else willfully naïve.
2. We all have to live in the world that SSM will create.
Same-sex marriage is not a mere tweak to a few lines of marriage law: It is a codified endorsement of homosexuality. Since the law is a teacher, this endorsement has the effect of confirming in their disorder people suffering from same-sex attraction and removing the stigmas that might have checked others from fully giving themselves over to it. Indeed, considering the low percentages of homosexual couples actually tying the knot in places where SSM has been legalized, and the disdain for marriage reflected in the writings of prominent gay activists and scholars, it’s not a stretch to say that this endorsement—not tax breaks or hospital visitation rights or any other practical benefit of actually getting married—is the primary goal of SSM advocacy.
All this matters because we believe people with same-sex attraction are profoundly wounded and in need of healing. When by power of law the state applauds woundedness, deepens it; when it creates conditions that will increase the numbers of wounded; when it prioritizes making the wounded into adoptive parents, giving them leadership positions in government, education, religion, and the military, and lionizing their condition in public observances, school curricula, and the media—how does this not profoundly affect life for the rest of us?
If culture is the sum of the ideas that shape it, our experience of that culture is the product of the health, virtue, and integrity of the other people who inhabit it.
3. “Error has no rights.”
SSM’s definitive endorsement of homosexuality will have a thousand legal ripple effects. We will need to rewrite family law and develop new speech codes to do it. As artificial reproductive technologies mature we will have to recognize legal parenting arrangements comprising virtually any number of persons and gender combinations. While we’re at it, we’ll need some new genders, too.
You’d think that sorting through all that would be enough trouble, but the law—both in civil/criminal statutes and in the policies of organizations and employers—will also have to occupy itself with quashing dissent from the new paradigm. And that affects . . . you.
Don’t want to attend a gay pride celebration in your office? You will be fired. Don’t want to rent a room in your B&B to a homosexual couple, or bake a cake for a gay wedding? Agree to service a gay wedding but just want to say your peace about traditional marriage? You’re going to jail, or at least getting slapped with a big fine.
In my experience, more and more proponents of SSM are changing their tune on this objection, from denying that such coercion could ever happen to saying that it could—and should. Shouldn’t you be fired for being a neo-Nazi? Wouldn’t it be wrong to deny a hotel room to a mixed-race couple? Homosexuality is a civil right, and being wrong about it is not.
4. Catholicism and gay rights are incompatible.
At present the Church, and all Christians of a traditional sort, coexist in a false and uneasy truce with the sexual revolution. There has always been sin in the world, of course, and Christianity and sin are always incompatible, but increasingly our world is one of sin normalized, institutionalized, made official. Think of the almost unbearable moral contradiction baked into abortion law, for instance. And of the inescapable conclusion that what the state says about abortion falsifies Catholicism.
Same-sex marriage, I think, will magnify this tension, perhaps to a point where it can no longer be smoothed over or ignored. The state and the culture say two persons of the same sex can marry; the Church says they can’t. This condition can’t endure. The Church’s position is just too great an obstacle—an insult—to the sexual liberation project, of which homosexuality has become the popular symbol.
So, you might ask, when the state and all the force of law say that our religion is false, that it is in fact bigoted, isn’t there a teensy chance it will affect us in some way? We don’t have to make wild predictions here—we just have to look at recent precedent. Viewed in the context of the fight against the HHS mandate and the state’s accompanying argument that religious freedom is really nothing more than “freedom of worship,” it seems clear enough that the logical terminus of legalized same-sex marriage is the forced relocation of Catholics to the closet—or the catacombs.
By Todd Aglialoro

Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed

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  1. I am conflicted, though, because I have a dear friend who is a lifelong Catholic but also gay and in a permanent relationship. From my observation, he is a better follower of Jesus than I am–and I am seriously trying (ex-nun, now in formation to join another Order… so I’m not a casual Catholic). When I think about how my friend–who is so totally loving and giving in every way–is perceived by Jesus, I can’t help but think that Jesus HAS to love him… love him a lot… he is bringing Him to so many people. So, how bad a sin can it be? If love is what ultimately matters… if love is how we will be judged… my friend is going to have a higher place in Heaven than I will (assuming we both make it), despite the fact that I am the “perfect” Catholic. +

    1. How refreshing, someone who is a devout Catholic actually questioning the Church’s dogma. Perhaps the next step will be a SERIOUSL analysis of the history and foundation of the Catholic Church, and in general, how humanity is predisposed to god belief. My blog would be a good starting point for anyone wishing to unbiasedly educate themselves on the matter:

    2. I am sorry that this has happened to you. I will pray for you, and please don’t take that as patronizing or condescension! I sincerely hope that you will someday return to the Faith–it has made all the difference in my life. Sometimes people have to leave the Church–and later return–in order to appreciate it. I left for over 20 years myself. God bless you. +

    3. carolOgoodson, after the input from me and Patrick, you still haven’t the smallest curiosity about why both of us left the Catholic Church? I guess you would rather have a false sense of security and comfort than know the truth. I wish to know as much truth as possible, regardless of how it effects my comfort. Peace.

    4. I think I have gleaned from what you guys wrote why you left, but I am not leaving. However, if you want to tell me, go ahead. It won’t change my mind. I have had experiences which leave me with no doubt.

    5. I used to be a science person like you; in my case, as a Chemistry major, I reduced everything to chemical influences. I could not believe in anything that was not accessible to the senses, or at least the senses augmented with technology. Here is the first experience. I know already, though, it is something you will dismiss. However, it happened to me and it changed me forever.
      During the period when my marriage was falling apart, I had become friends with a lesbian whom I had hired to run an adult literacy program in the branch library I was managing. It seemed like an exotic adventure to start a relationship with her, plus I was so insecure, I was unable to leave my husband until I had another relationship to replace it–and thus she became that relationship. I was divorced in November of 1977
      My new lover fascinated me, because she took me to gay bars and drag shows in East St. Louis, a world I had never experienced. I was also quite bitter about men, and so the idea of being associated only with women really appealed to me. I decided that I would be a lesbian. I honestly thought then that you could CHOOSE your sexuality! How crazy is that? But that is where I was at the time.
      Unfortunately, she was also an alcoholic, and I was forced to accompany her to bars nearly every night just to keep her from driving home drunk and probably killing herself. She had had a very unhappy life, and I made her my “project” to fix. I managed to persuade her to enroll in graduate school, which she thought was beyond her (it wasn’t). I wanted to do anything I could to make her successful and confident. I really did like her: she was a wonderful, generous and funny person, and I wanted to believe I was in love with her. She loved my parents and they really cared about her too. I have no idea even now if my parents realized that we were a couple! Both her parents were already dead by the time we were in our early 30s, which really made me think: she was an orphan so young, while I still had my parents whom I loved but hardly ever saw. It was her idea for us to move to the Atlanta metro area, where they had relocated a year or two before: she wanted to explore the gay scene in Atlanta, and I saw an opportunity to get her away from the drinking life we currently had–plus a chance to live closer to my parents and enjoy their company while we were all young enough, so I quickly agreed to her idea. By the way, she had also been raised Catholic, although she was no longer practicing, and at that point I had no interest in anything pertaining to religion.
      We sold my house and moved to Georgia in 1980. We did not have jobs, but I made so much money selling the house, I was not worried. We both began to work down here, and pretty soon bought another house.
      She was a teacher, and that was the beginning of the turning point. The school she was teaching in was Christian, but not Catholic. People in the South can be very aggressive about religion: I remember being stopped occasionally on the streets of downtown Atlanta to be asked, “Are you saved?” So one day, early in her first year, a student approached her and said she wanted her to come to church with her family the next evening: would she meet them there, or should they pick her up?
      She was completely incensed by this aggressive approach, and rather harshly responded, “I am Catholic!” which definitely silenced the student, because Catholics are the anti-Christ to many fundamentalist Southerners. That night after we were both home from work, she told me about this, and to my amazement, she said she actually might like to go back to the Church.
      As I said, I always acted on anything positive she wanted to do, so although I told her that I was willing, secretly I knew there was no way I could be that much of a hypocrite, I have too much personal integrity to fake something like that. What a dilemma! I wanted to help my friend do something I thought might make her life happier, but how could I accompany her?
      I just had one idea, born of desperation. For 2 nights, right before I went to sleep, I made this “prayer,” if you can call it that: “God, if you are really there, make me believe in You, because I don’t.” I only did it twice, and of course I did not think anything would happen.
      At that time I was working for a really terrible proprietary school in Atlanta, one of those places that keeps students around until their federal aid runs out, even though they are not college material The next day after my last snarky prayer, my boss gave me the keys to his car and told me to go down to the Georgia State University Bookstore and meet one of the book buyers, who was going to give us some books for our library. I was a little early, so while I was waiting around for her, I wandered around the store looking at the books. I found myself next to the religion section, and I started browsing. I was laughing to myself, to see the bizarre collection of books that college bookstores will insist on shoving into a Religion section, just as in my own college bookstore. I noticed a book about St. John of the Cross by Thomas Merton, a name I recognized because my mother had enticed me to read The Seven Storey Mountain when I was in high school. On impulse, I decided to buy it, and put it in my purse.
      At the end of the day, when I was once again on the bus heading to the Park ‘n Ride lot out near my home, I remembered the book, took it out, and started reading it. Although I still have that book, I have never been able to find the sentence that I read that day, that precipitated a true miracle. I read a sentence, and suddenly I was flooded from head to toe with a feeling of incredible warmth. I was in the presence of God–I knew it–just like that, He was there, and I believed. It happened in seconds, and I cannot explain it. Luckily we were very near my stop because I was about to fall apart. I stumbled off the bus to my car, unlocked it, threw myself in, and sat there sobbing for at least half an hour. All of a sudden everything in life made sense: I realized that I had found what I had always been looking for–but didn’t know it–and I was indescribably happy. When I finally was able to compose myself, I drove home and told my friend that I was going to call the church the next day and ask to start receiving instructions in the Faith. I started meeting with the priest the following week.

    6. If you are completely determined to not believe that any experience beyond your senses can exist, then I think we are talking two different languages. I do believe, now, in the existence of a spiritual realm, but I think from what you’ve said, you do not. I used to not believe that either. I am really not sure, to tell you the truth, why I was able to expand myself thinking that way, other than the vividness of the experience I described for you. Allow me to share another one with you, that seems (to me) to be impossible to ascribe to mere coincidence.
      I left the Dominican Sisters of Nashville in 1990–just before Final Vows–when I finally accepted that it was not the place God wanted me to be. However, I was 43 years old, and I believed that I was too old to be admitted to another community.
      I came home very distraught, because I interpreted what had happened as God rejecting me—which I now recognize, of course, is completely crazy, because God never rejects anyone who loves Him! But, except for the fact that the charism of the Dominican Sisters was wrong for me, I was very happy living in the convent, and although I tried, I could not adjust to being in the world again. I never found a parish where I felt at home, and gradually, over a period of several years, I drifted away from the Church completely.
      When I came back in November of 2015, as I was making my very long Confession to Father Rafael, explaining where I had been for the last 20 years–he commented that despite my age when I left the Dominicans, he thought I was wrong to believe I could not have entered another religious community.
      Although I did not pay attention to his remark at the time, over the next few months, I could not forget it. Suppose I had been wrong? And if that was true, then I’d made the worst mistake of my life—all the professional success I had had suddenly meant absolutely nothing to me–and even worse than that: it was too late to fix it.
      For a while, I tried to force myself to accept this as my Cross, but I simply could not. I began to suffer terribly as I recognized that I had totally screwed up my life by not following the vocation I had been given, and there was nothing I could do about it.
      On the night of March 10, 2016 I was feeling extremely depressed, and in complete despair, I said to God: “Lord, I am going to ask You for something impossible. IMPOSSIBLE! I KNOW! (Yes, I was shouting!) –But I am in so much pain: if there is any way I could still have a consecrated life—even now—show me, and I will do whatever You want.”
      Two nights later—Saturday–I went to Mass as usual. I sat in about the same place where I always did—but that night, for some unknown reason, about 5 minutes before Mass started, I decided to move up a few rows. During Mass, when I knelt for the Consecration, I looked down, and on the seat of the pew directly in front of me was a piece of paper: at the top it said SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF CONCORDIA KANSAS.
      Although I didn’t know this at the time, there is a member of the Community in my parish, and the paper I saw that night was her script for a speech she was supposed to give at the end of Mass, in honor of National Catholic Sisters Week. Father Rafael forgot to call her up to give it–but that didn’t matter, because God arranged for me to be in exactly the right place to see it.
      So, I looked them up on the web when I got home, and discovered that one of their Vocation Coordinators lives about 50 miles from me, and I emailed her. She emailed me back that same night, inviting me to meet her a few days later. Amazingly, despite my age, she was very encouraging, and suggested that I come to Kansas to visit the Community in June, during their Annual Assembly. I did visit them, loved what I saw, and applied to join them. I am now halfway through my first year of formation.

    7. carolOgodson, you said, “I think I have gleaned from what you guys wrote why you left, but I am not leaving. However, if you want to tell me, go ahead. It won’t change my mind. I have had experiences which leave me with no doubt.” Hmm, so you have a worldview and nothing will change your mind. That is THE sign of an ideologue, not a science-based thinker. Thanks, I do not “want to tell” anyone anything that they will not hear with an open mind. Oh, your experiences leaving you with no doubt show you are ignorant of contemporary scientific findings that the brain can lie to you, and that many findings of science are counter-intuitive. I’m done. If you ever want to explore reality, see my blog link above as a good start.

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