LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – I propose to say No to same-sex marriage with love and respect for those in same-sex relationships.
Two of the basic meanings for the existence of the two human sexes are companionship and procreation. Both are inherently linked to marriage.
This link elevates procreation to be more than just a biological function. Human beings do not anonymously meet and mate and move on.
For humans, procreation de facto begins prior to the union of egg and sperm, with the establishment of a loving, complementary community of two persons with the ability and desire to conceive and welcome a child. We name this status a marriage.
After conception, procreation continues with the contribution by both mother and father to their child of the love and attention, education and guidance every developing human being needs and to which each is entitled.
This bearing and raising of children is so serious that the Catholic Church views marriage as a sacrament between a man and a woman.
It is so serious that the Federal Government of Australia licenses marriage, and deems it necessary to attach legal consequences, benefits and responsibilities.
Consequently, the church’s opposition to same sex marriage is based on more than the procreative dimension of marriage. The church also understands the unity of marriage is a complementarity and union whose essence involves a relationship which transcends sexual differences. Gay and lesbian contradict both the procreative and unitive dimension of marriage.
To vote Yes is to deny the inherent procreative nature of marriage and therefore changes its definition. It also voids it.
The law of the land cannot require a married couple to have children any more than it can force them to love each other or stay together for life.
But, at the very least, the law can require that a marriage be modelled in accord with its inherent procreative nature which means, of course, a male and a female.
If one eliminates procreation from the basic definition of marriage, on what legal basis could one stop three people from getting married, or a mother and a son or a girl and a tree, etc.?
The most basic and ideal building block of society and our communities is the biological family – mother, father and children.
This is also based on natural law and divine revelation. The benefits given already by the Australian Government to married couples endorse this basic premise that a healthy society needs children conceived and nurtured in a loving family environments in order to become productive and contributing adults.
These are not simply privileges and rights for married couples so much as they are endorsement and support for families.
My government license to legally conduct a church wedding exits, then, for the benefit of a permanent union that presumes children and, therefore, for society’s healthy and productive future. Simply put, the license is primarily for the sake of the children, not the couple.
Therefore, any discussion of “same-sex marriage / partnership / union” that misses this point will become mired in confusion.
The reality is there is a great diversity of living arrangements that have existed in our world today. And our Judaeo-Christian framework also demands that we treat every person as made in the very image and likeness of God.
All are broken but loved. God does not hate gays and lesbians. God desires all homosexuals not to bury themselves in shame with something they never chose. And the word “homosexual” is an adjective and describes only part of who a person is.
It is not caused by sinfulness nor is it a pathological problem that needs a cure. The church is not going to “force you out of the closet” and your parents are not to receive the blame for it.
Therefore, an environment of indifference that shames those who have same-sex attraction is self-destructing and alienating. Homosexual persons are not objects of scorn and any laws which discriminate against homosexual people perpetrate a great moral evil that must be resisted.
The church disavows all forms of unjust discrimination because Jesus Christ commands us all to “love one another”.
Whatever our sexual orientation is, we need to know that our true identity is not our sexual attraction but: a creature of merciful God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life.
But every sexuality is different and the law must respect differences. Justice requires it. By voting No, I am in no way being disrespectful to gay people nor am I making anybody less equal.
This is a vote on the time-tested nature of marriage not about denigrating or silencing those in same-sex relationship.
If at the end of the day, the Yes votes win, the church’s understanding of marriage will remain and she will still fully support the full dignity, due to each and every person, no matter their sexual orientation.
Father Asaeli Raass SVD (pictured)
Parish Priest, OLSH Catholic Church,
LETTER TO THE EDITOR