The Defense of Marriage

I was asked to preach this morning at a parish other than the two to which I am assigned. As you may know, the Gospel from Mark was all about marriage.

Since I hadn’t anticipated preaching, I spoke without more than a few minutes preparation. Here was the gist of what I said:

We have been hearing in the news the past couple of weeks of all the people speaking up loudly in Madison, Wisconsin about things they find of great importance. It is getting national news coverage. We are hearing of people speaking and acting up in North Africa. Yet we scarcely see anyone rallying others to defend marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

Why aren’t we as vocal about this extraordinarily important issue? Why aren’t we rallying others to make our voices heard at the capitols of our statehouses? Why are we so silent?

We heard yesterday that our federal government will no longer defend marriage. It will no longer enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. It is abrogating its consititutional obligation to uphold the laws of the United States.

Marriage is being attacked on all sides, and for all intents and purposes we remain silent. Do we think these attacks will go away on their own?

Perhaps we are more concerned about our finances than about the foundation of our social order.

We need to speak up, people.

Tonight as we return home, let us look at our husband or wife and thank God for the great gift of marriage and the person who He has put into our lives.

I’d suggest an article for you to read. It won’t take much time. It is written by Andrew Haines and succinctly describes why we support marriage as a union of a man with a woman: Catholic News Agency.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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4 Responses to The Defense of Marriage

  1. Michelle Rifenberg says:

    When I try and engage people on these the common response is that you’re being judgemental. Somewhere along the line tolerance for tolerance sake is considered virtuous.

  2. Deacon Bob says:

    Often people think of this matter as a civil rights issue, and thus they consider it intolerance to argue against same-sex “marriage.” The reality is it is not a matter of civil rights for civil rights pertain to something with which we are born, that is inherent in our person, our nature, like race or ethnicity or gender.

    The marriage issue is not such a matter. It is a matter of choice regarding with whom we form a life-long relationship and with whom we have sexual relations. It is a matter of behavior and choice.

    Society has always regulated and limited such behavior. It is not intolerant to prohibit by law marriage of an adult with a child, or a father with his daughter, or a man with an animal, or a man with another man, or a woman with a woman. Such choices would strike at the core of who we are as a society/family and the very nature of human nature.

    Some will say the same argument was made years ago against interracial marriage. The ban in many states against interracial marriage was in fact a civil rights matter because one’s race is not a matter of behavior or choice, but a given at birth. Thus, it was intolerant and an injustice to deny marriage to a man and a woman of two different races.

  3. Tom says:

    Do you honestly believe anyone chooses to be gay? As a straight person, were you ever attracted to a person of the same sex? Of course not – there was no choice involved, it was simply the way it was. Likewise for a gay person, they were never attracted to a person of the opposite sex. When will Christians open their hearts and minds and accept this? Jesus taught us to love our neighbors-he didn’t specify that they had to be just like us. Please don’t use the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” line-it is disingenuous. How are two gay people being married a threat to a straight married couple? I’ve been married for 15 years and have never felt threatened-it has no effect at all on my marriage. Let’s stop trying to find a target for our own hatreds and insecurities.

  4. Deacon Bob says:


    Thanks for your message. In all honesty, I do try to distinguish between the person and the sin, and I love the person as best as I am able. I try to do this with everyone, regardless of sexual preference.

    Hatred toward homosexuals is always to be condemned. I do condemn it. It is contrary to Jesus’ law of love of God and neighbor, as you point out. Such hatred is to be opposed and I thank you for opposing it also.

    I think you have misunderstood one large part of what I was trying to say in my post and in my message above. All of my experience and professional training in mental health has taught me that for a vast majority of men and women who identity themselves as homosexual, their same-sex attractions is NOT a matter of choice. It is something that they either are in some sense aware of from an early age or come to an understanding of in early adulthood. My point is that for all of us, heterosexual or homosexual, we make choices with whom we form sexual relationships. We decide whether we will have a sexual relationship with an individual or not, and we make choices as to whom we marry. Our choices, by definition, must have limits for the sake of the common good.

    I don’t think, therefore, that we can legitimately frame the same-sex marriage argument in terms of civil rights, because civil rights have to do with preventing discrimination based upon something constitutive of our person, such as gender, race, age. The definition of marriage is something else.

    Homosexual persons have been discriminated against in our society because of their sexual orientation. This is unacceptable. I am NOT saying that it is okay to discriminate against them in terms of employment, housing, education, etc. What I AM saying is 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 eons, and it is supported by the natural law and by God’s own design as revealed to us. This fundamental social structure must be protected by law.

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