Same Sex Marriage: Have We Lost the War or Just a Few Key Battles?

Since New York passed the same sex marriage bill, the wild, wild, web has been awash with commentary.  Proponents are elated. Opponents are depressed.  It seems that proponents are on the right side of history. Opponents are bigots stuck in the dark ages.

But why are proponents to the same sex agenda gaining momentum against the reasoned arguments of the Church?

Well the New York Times thinks that the Catholic Church was missing in action


It was befuddling to gay-rights advocates: The Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight.

Rod Dreher agrees:


Dolan told reporters that he was feeling down after the legislative loss. Please. Any pity for him is unearned, given that he and his team have had years to prepare for this struggle, and to educate lay Catholics and the wider public about what was at stake in this issue. And yet they fought with a half-heartedness that is simply stunning given the vivid, calamitous language the archbishop used to describe the threat. comparing America under gay marriage to life in authoritarian China and totalitarian North Korea.

No man who really believes those things would have confronted the challenge with such bizarre maladroitness, skittering off to a bishops’ meeting in Seattle when crunch time came in Albany. It’s as if Churchill, having delivered his famous “finest hour” address in the Commons after France’s surrender, caught a train to the shore for a Tory Party conference. If gay rights champions are befuddled by the contrast between Dolan’s red-meat rhetoric and his milquetoast leadership, what must conservative Catholics think?

I am all for the bishops calling all the members of the Church Militant to arms. The Grey Lady and Rod Dreher have a point.

But I also have sympathy for Bishop Dolan.  It is easy to become battle weary. The growing acceptance of homosexual acts and same sex marriage seems to have sprung up from the garden of earthly delights overnight.

Of course it is decades in the making. It is rooted in the erosion of marriage that began when the baby boomers came of age.

First we had sexual liberation.  Men and women are freed at last from the prudish moral conventions of society.  Even many Christians and Christian churches bought the lie. It is no longer sin and the passions which enslave us.  Confining sex to marriage enslaves us.

Second, the acceptance of contraception divorced sex from procreation.  Sex is now only for pleasure, and only sometimes for procreation.

Love is no longer a gift that requires commitment and sacrifice. Love today, at least in the main stream culture, is really just lust.

Third, no fault divorce made ending a marriage easy. Now a spouse can up and leave just because they are bored. The disintegration of the family quickly followed.

All of this happened without much noise from our Catholic leaders.  It is, for example, a rare Catholic engaged couple who are not “living in sin”.  But we don’t really tackle this thorny issue.

If we are losing the war, it is because we entered into the war on marriage too late.  The Church and all opponents of same sex marriage have lost credibility.

It is also hard to convince the proponents of same sex marriage using Natural Law arguments. There was a time when even atheists understood that there are universal laws that withstand time, place or culture.

Now Natural Law is considered a strictly religious belief.

This begs the question, how do we develop convincing arguments?  The Bishops, including Dolan, have made rational arguments. Yet they are dismissed out of hand. There is no debate from those who celebrate same sex unions.  Just an appeal to those lovin’ feelings wooooooh.

It  is just seen as a given that those who oppose same sex marriage are bigots who want to deny civil rights to people with same sex attractions.

It is enough to make even a tough and orthodox bishop want to retreat to a hermitage on a desert island.  I can relate.

But we can’t retreat. Sure go to the hermitage. Pray. Fast. Retreat.  Retrench. Then come back to the culture war and come out swinging.

Jesus didn’t promise us a rose garden. He promised us a crown of thorns in this life.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Catholic Moral Teaching, Church and the Public Square, Marriage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Same Sex Marriage: Have We Lost the War or Just a Few Key Battles?

  1. DWiss says:

    You are right. There seems to be no argument against same sex marriage that works. The reason is relativism: if people reject the foundation of the argument ( natural law, God’s plan, etc.), then they are free to think anything that they want, unencumbered by truth or tradition. This is a very slippery slope indeed as Deacon Greg and The Anchoress illustrate in posts today on their blogs.

    The answer, I think, is to be a loyal part of the remnant of believers. Then live the faith in joy and wait for those disenchanted with or ruined by the secular nonsense to notice. As St. Francis said: “Preach the Gospel always. Use words if necessary.”


  2. “Love is no longer a gift that requires commitment and sacrifice.”

    I’ll do my best to tell that to the several committed same-sex couples I know. They might be surprised that they’ve only been lusting after each other, not loving…

    “It is just seen as a given that those who oppose same sex marriage are bigots who want to deny civil rights to people with same sex attractions.”

    Not necessarily bigots. But certainly people who are stuck in an earlier time, and/or who think they have the right to tell others what to do, when what is being done doesn’t harm anyone.


    • Susan Kehoe says:

      Not a Scientist,
      The quote that you reference was not directed at same sex partners. It was addressed mainly to heterosexual people. The whole point of my post was to point out that traditional marriage was on it’s death bed long before same sex unions became an issue.

      My husband and I, for example, counsel engaged couples who are co-habitating
      to abstain from sex until their wedding day to make sure that sex is not masking
      serious issues in their relationship. Several couples who took up the challenge ended up canceling or postponing their wedding.

      As for no harm being done, I take issue with that, but it will take another post on the subject.
      God Bless


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