I want to thank one reader for challenging me on my post several days ago regarding the defense of marriage. I responded to his message, which you can read below, but I want to essentially bring that message to the forefront with this posting.
Hatred of homosexuals is always to be condemned. I do condemn it. It is contrary to the law of love that Jesus has so clearly taught us. It is also a sin against justice. Homosexual people have been discriminated against in our society because of their sexual orientation. This is not acceptable, and I am not saying that it is okay to discriminate against them.
All my experience and professional training in mental health has taught me that for a vast majority of men and women, sexual orientation comes into awareness in one’s youth. It is not a matter of choice. Therefore, it is unjust to discriminate against someone because of sexual preference.
But for all of us, heterosexual or homosexual, we make choices with whom we form sexual relationships and with whom we marry. We decide whether we will have a sexual relationship with an individual or not, and we make choices as to how we behave, yes even in the sexual area. We exercise free will here. We have the power to do or not do. Our behavior, then, must have limits for our own sake as well as for the common good. Society has the right to proscribe behaviors damaging to the common good.
The definition of marriage as a union of one man with one woman has been a constantly recognized constitutive element of social order and stability for centuries, it is supported by universal natural law and by God’s own design as revealed to us. This fundamental social structure is to be protected by law.
I don’t think one can legitimately frame an argument for same-sex marriage based upon civil rights. Civil rights have to do with something that is constitutive of our person, such as gender, race, age.
The definition of marriage is not that. None of us were born married, and we don’t have the right to indiscriminately marry whomever we wish. Society has a legitimate vested interest in limiting those decisions because it has seen marriage between one man and one woman as necessary for stability of the social order and the nuturance of the next generation of citizens.