We Cannot Remake Marriage in Our Image

Author: Mary Beth Bonacci

We Cannot Remake Marriage in Our Image By Mary Beth Bonacci

Why can't gay people get married if they love each other?

The teen group at my parish had a discussion on homosexuality the other night. This was the primary question the teens asked. I wasn't surprised. The question of the possibility of this kind of "marriage" has become an issue in many states. In my state, Arizona, there is currently a bill before the legislature that would ban these types of unions. In my former home, San Francisco, the mayor just held a large group ceremony "joining" gay and lesbian couples. So it isn't surprising that teens would ask about it. I thought that I would take one more week to deal with the question of why the Church says that marriage cannot occur between two people of the same sex.

To understand this question, we need to understand what marriage is. Remember, we didn't invent sex and marriage, God did. He created them together, right at the beginning of humanity. He did that because sex and marriage go together for a reason. Sex is not an expression of just any kind of love. It is an expression of permanent, exclusive, self-giving love between a man and a woman. Married sexual love is the kind of love which is the foundation of a family.

Sexual intercourse is, by definition, an act that occurs between a man and a woman. If you know anything about biology, you know that the parts are designed to work together. In joining together, a man and a woman complete each other. They become one. The man gives of himself, the woman receives.

That does not happen in homosexual activity. It may be "sexual" in the sense of using the sexual organs, but it is not sexual in the true sense of the word , in the complementary act of total completion, according to the complementary design of our bodies.

Marriage is the context for which God designed sexual intercourse. He created sex in marriage to be a complete joining of male and female, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This joining is the arena through which He would bring new life into the world. The sexual act would be not only a sign of their love, but a sign of the life-giving and constantly fruitful love of God. It would be their participation in His love.

Marriage is also the union of a man and a woman. That's what it is. That's the way God designed it.

People with a homosexual orientation are technically free to get married. But marriage must be to a member of the opposite sex, which is not what they want. It is also, of course, a very bad idea for someone with a homosexual orientation to marry. It isn't fair to the spouse.

But the solution is not "same-sex marriages." We could pretend they are married. The state could pretend they are married. But we didn't invent marriage, and the state didn't invent marriage. God did. He decides who is married and who isn't. And He created marriage, just as he created sex, to be between male and female.

Same-sex marriage, then, wouldn't be marriage at all. It would be just a license to misuse the gift of sexuality.

Bonacci is a frequent lecturer on chastity, and author of the recent book We're On a Mission From God (Ignatius Press).

This article appeared in the May 9, 1996 issue of "The Arlington Catholic Herald."

Courtesy of the "Arlington Catholic Herald" diocesan newspaper of the Arlington (VA) diocese. For subscription information, call 1-800-377-0511 or write 200 North Glebe Road, Suite 607 Arlington, VA 22203.

Copyright (c) 1996 EWTN