Gay Marriage and the Church

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The New York State Legislature is about to vote on legalizing same sex marriage, and the Catholic Church is lobbying hard against it. Several religious groups are opposed to the bill, but the Catholic Church speaks with a loud and organized voice. Todd Salzman, Chair of the Department of Theology at Creighton University, discusses the theological arguments surrounding the gay marriage debate.


Todd Salzman

Comments [82]

Matt S. from NYC

The government is in the marriage business because possessing a marriage license entitles one to certain benefits and responsibilities that those without one do not have.

For example, if you have that license, you can file your taxes jointly. You can visit your spouse in the hospital should they be injured and make medical decisions if they are unable. You are their direct heir should they pass away, and you can access their SS survivor benefits. In order to dispense these rights and priviledges, the government needs a way to determine who is elligble. The way they have devised is a marriage license.

You can stand in front of a priest and take any oath you want, but that won't qualify you for these benefits without a certificate. And you can merely get the certificate and NEVER stand before a priest, and you do qualify. Hence, the thing being argued over in this debate is just a governmental document.

Jun. 22 2011 04:27 PM
Matt S from NYC

I'm sorry, but the argument that "wealthy" gays are doing a disservice to poorer gays by spending money fighting marriage equality is a nonstarter.

Would you have argued that better-off blacks and wealthy whites who contributed to black suffrage measures did a disservice to poor blacks who needed jobs and food at the times? Or was voting an important enough matter to deserve attention and funding? One doesn't need to be able to vote to live. And in our hige nation, one person's vote only matters so much.

But the ability to vote improves one's mental state by giving a voice and a sense of pride and equality. It improves quality of life for all the black people who gained that right. Marriage equality is no different. It will benefit all gay people by some measure, and it will benefit future homosexuals by affecting society and thus affecting future heterosexuals. This will result in less bullying and a healthier environment, and thus healthier future generations.

Jun. 22 2011 04:05 PM
Ed from Larchmont

So why is the Catholic Church so strongly against same-sex marriage? It's not because it's non-procreative, though it isn't. The sexual act has to have both aspects: an act of union indicating commitment of the spouses to each other, and openness to life. Both equally. And the Church isn't diverting attention away from serving the poor or other issues, this one is just as pressing. And Archbishop Dolan's comparison to North Korea and China was apt, not over-blown.
The Catholic Church has always taught that same sex sexual activity is intrinsically disordered. So, in other words, it is seriously sinful. It harms the people involved, those around them, and society. It is an insult to God (see Catechism quote below). Catholics can not promote it or facilitate it in any way, for example, by making it a form of marriage.
The natural law can be arrived at by human reason, and it is also expressed in the Ten Commandments (Revelation), and is on the heart of every human person, and is binding on everyone. Same sex activity violates the sixth commandment:Tthou shalt not commit adultery. Under this heading, it is a violation of the use of sexuality.
Archbishop Dolan's sound statement about North Korea and China means that these societies pass laws that violate the natural law, which governments don't have the authority to do. And he doesn't want to see the U.S. do this, any more than it already has.
Here is the section from the Catholic Catechism, number 2357:

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which present homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Genesis 19:1-29, Romans 1:24-27,1Cor 6:10,1Timothy 1:10), tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered". They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

See also numbers 2359 and 2360.

Next time get a real theologian.

Jun. 22 2011 08:19 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Brian Lehrer asked an honest question: why is the Catholic Church so strongly against same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, he invited a dissident theologian to his program, and this theologian didn't answer his question. Next time invite Archbishop Dolan, or Fr. Benedict Groeschel, or Fr. Koterski or anyone from St. Joseph's Seminary to get what the Catholic Church teaches and why. (After Vatican II some theologians openly disagreed with Humanae Vitae and were allowed to stay in the Church, which had never been seen before. So, you have people like Governor Cuomo and his father, and some theologians, not teaching what the Catholic Church teaches, and calling themselves Catholic.)

Jun. 22 2011 08:06 AM
Jay from Brooklyn

This is America. It is not a theocracy. Your god (or anybody else's god) has no jurisdiction here.

Jun. 21 2011 05:57 PM

David Ores:
Why ask those questions? Who listens to the Catholic Church, anyway? Not even Catholics listen to or follow Church teaching. It's irrelevant.
My questions are about the state, which receives my tithings in the form of taxes, since I don't give to the Catholic Church, just like most people don't.
Why should couples, gay or straight, get a tax break merely by virtue of BEING MARRIED? Why should married couples have rights and benefits denied to single people?
I can understand tax breaks for any couple, gay or straight, who is raising a child. But that has nothing to do with marriage.
It's time to end state-sanctioned marriage, period.

Jun. 21 2011 05:57 PM
david ores from lower East Side

Where does the Catholic Church stand on Blacks and Whites getting married?

Are they pro or con?

Were they always for or against different colored people getting married? Or different religions?

Why does the Catholic Church decide on or influence State laws and regs anyhow? I thought to Church doesn't pay property taxes because they stay out of State laws and regs.

Maybe if the Catholic Church wants to influence what sort of licenses the State offers all it's legal citizens according to our constitution, maybe they need to pay property the gays have to. That would be a little more fair.

PS How many dollars in taxes do the NOT pay each year? Just curious.

Jun. 21 2011 05:39 PM

You make a good point on issues not needing to be zero-sum. I'm agree with you, for the most part. I'll admit I'm disgusted that the liberal/left can't seem to prioritize better. Ten million spent fighting Prop 8 could have gone for health care and jobs for LGBT community members who are in dire need of assistance.

Jun. 21 2011 05:31 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

I see. Don't think it needs to be a zero-sum game, tho. Folks should fight for what they want. The absurdity of the "criminal justice" status quo, amongst other things, just needs way more prominence in the discussion...

Jun. 21 2011 04:45 PM

I don't think it would be the same fight at all. Those of us who stood aside in horror as BOTH sides raised ten million dollars each (EACH!) in the Prop 8 fight are sick of hearing about this.

The insistence of the LGBT community that gay marriage is a civil rights issue makes a mickery of the fact that there are TODAY more African Americans in our for-profit prison system than were enslaved at the beginning of the Civil War.

No ten million dollars raised to make sure those people, mostly men, are assured what's left of their civil/human rights in prison.

Why not? Not because appalling prison overcrowdinh doesn't constitute a more serious human/civil rights issue, but because incarcerated African American males don't donate to political campaigns.

Wake up, people: the wealthy white leadership of the LGBT community isn't just making a mockery of civil rights with this marriage malarkey - they're making a mockery of our ability to parse and prioritize social justice issues without discrimination.

Jun. 21 2011 03:50 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Right on, eva. Major, major point. Tho, the remedy you prescribe -- civil unions for all -- would be hard-won, thru a debate/ struggle almost identical to the one we're having. It would be almost the same fight, correct?

Jun. 21 2011 03:36 PM

Hjs: "people keep saying why is the state in the business of giving out marriage licenses. BECAUSE marriage is a business contract. The state has an interest in such."

Then substitute marriage with civil unions and move on to issues of actual substance. The wealthy, white leadership of the LGBT community has shot itself in the foot with this malarkey - and at great expense to the poor and minority LGBT community who have REAL issues to contend with - like housing and employment discrimination, which can affect all individuals, not the minority of LGBT community who can or wish to marry. Marriage is an inherently discriminatory and dysfunctional institution, refardless of whether gays can oarticipate or not.

Jun. 21 2011 03:08 PM

people keep saying why is the state in the business of giving out marriage licenses. BECAUSE marriage is a business contract. The state has an interest in such.

Jun. 21 2011 02:56 PM
Dr David Ores from Lower East Side

Why is the US govt in the marriage business at all? They should offer everyone a fair and equal civil union (like a driver's license) and that's that.

The State should NOT be in the marriage business or ever use the "M" word.

Let whatever church offer or recognize whatever sort of "marriage" they want to.

For example, the US govt regulates pork production, but the State doesn't tell anyone what sort of meat they can eat and when. Each Church or Religion can have their own rules and regs around meat / pork. The State stays out of it.

The simple solution is to stop calling what the state offers / regulates and licenses "marriage" at all. Just stop using the "M word. Call them ALL civil unions. The State should ONLY offer Civil Unions to everyone fairly and equally.

Jun. 21 2011 01:44 PM

At 1:15 pm ET, there are 67 comments on this page on gay marriage and only one comment on the page for war powers act/hostilities.
You want to know what killed American liberalism? The steadfast refusal of the practitioners to distinguish real issues from malarkey.
A pox on both sides of the gay marriage "debate" while our democracy is destroyed by the ongoing Bush/Obama imperial presidency.

Jun. 21 2011 01:24 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Opposition to gay marriage based on what was allowed in previous "civilizations" -- which only includes western "civilizations" -- raises the question of the legitimacy of marriage for love, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Because the pressure to survive/procreate that underlay the heterosexual emphasis often precluded marriage for love, and encouraged unions that were arranged, etc...

Jun. 21 2011 01:19 PM
anonymous from Brooklyn

All these "laws" have a sociological foundation. For many centuries, Catholic clergy could marry and/or produce children. Today, the prohibition against gay marriage for all Catholics is primarily founded on the need to produce more Catholics. Secular laws should and must grant equal privileges to all citizens, married or not. Unfortunately, our politicians are influenced by special interest groups who do not subscribe to the basic rights of a democratic society.

Jun. 21 2011 11:53 AM

Marriage is a legal contract. Really. Looking back in history, matrimony was a legal tool used to transfer land and property ownership and so that children were not running wild with no supervision.

It's interesting that throughout history, the Catholic Church has been involved with legal contracts, beliefs, and wars, that kept the Church's bank accounts full.

This country was built on the separation of Church and State. Makes me wonder why Church and State can't be separate?

Jun. 21 2011 11:41 AM
catherine from nassau from long island

I am Catholic, but Dov Hikind said it most succinctly:"Do you want to tell G-d He doesn't know what he is talking about?"

To be "religious" is to give God priority: If His concept of marriage is male-female, monogamous and fruitful, you should give Him the benefit of the doubt! If he wants your children to be born, don't prevent them from living...

Jun. 21 2011 11:12 AM

The church forbids in vitro fertilization also. Should we outlaw that next.

Jun. 21 2011 11:05 AM
Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor from Ciudad des hombres,Terra

I find it hard to accept opinions on marriage from an institution which until very recently (decades---nearly nothing on its own scale) held that the ideal marital state was a celibate state. Honestly, it did, and it was an analytic continuation of the doctrine that marriage is second-best to chastity, permissible only because it allows the weak-willed to escape eternal torture at the hands of their loving Father.

For all their generally equivalent promotion of ignorance and fear (as well as some good ideas), Judaism, Islam, and the Hindu religions have never been so a-human, though some sects of Buddhism have come close.

Jun. 21 2011 11:03 AM

Thank you Ioma,

I have been arguing that very point for many, many years now. Good to have more people begin to see it.

Civil unions by the state for those who don't want religious connections, but "marriage" for those who want to tie the knot in the traditional manner.

Jun. 21 2011 10:56 AM
loma from Ithaca NY

Make heterosexuals get civil unions for the benefits previously granted through marriage. Give all currently married people a one time automatic civil union and then change the law so that the government legally only recognizes civil unions (and not marriage). Problem solved and we get closer to the separation of church and state!

Jun. 21 2011 10:53 AM

Correction. I meant to say, I do not believe the STATE should be involved in "marriage." Only to register and recognize civil unions for legal and taxation reasons.

Jun. 21 2011 10:51 AM

Israel doesn't "do" civil marriage. But it has very liberal civil unions, between heterosexuals or homosexuals. You can file as a civil union and get most of the legal benefits of what we call here "civil marriage." But actual marriage is left to the Rabbinate, the Churches, the Muslim religious authorities, etc, despite decades of liberal attempts to bring civil marriage to ISrael.

I personally the state should be involved in marriage. If two people what to live together, and want to get legal benefits and protections they ought to file as a civil union. The word "marriage" should remain a covenant commitment made before God and His alleged representatives.Those who do not want to make oaths before a God they don't believe in, and are against all religious proscription should be able to register their union with the state for legal and tax reasons. But it should not be called "marriage."

Jun. 21 2011 10:49 AM
Kay from Montclair

I am quite disappointed that Brian should choose as the guests who will "explain" the theological position on gay marriage people who clearly view the church's position with disdain. I am personally a supporter of gay marriage, but even I can recognize the one-sidedness of this segment. Such editorial laxity, had it been committed by a journalist from the so-called "right," would typically receive the fiercest of criticism on NPR. I expect better from WNYC, and the Brian Lehrer Show in particular, but perhaps I shouldn't.

Jun. 21 2011 10:46 AM

Re: Donna who feels the use of the word "marriage" is limited to one man and one woman (of course, there have long been societies with more than one woman and one man, etc.), but said she would have not problems with "civil unions," here's my story.

Back in the early 90's a friend of mine, a somewhat middle of the road Western state Republican, returned to Smith College to complete her degree. I was the liberal, she the conservative.

But, then, based, I'm assuming, on getting to know lesbian couples who could not marry, she told me she had come to absolutely support the right of gays to marry.

I, the liberal, was aghast; I told her civil unions were fine, but marriage meant a heterosexual union of male and female. I mentioned I'd read that in France, there were more heterosexuals taking advantage of France's civil unions than were getting married religiously. I said civil unions for all sounded like the solution to religious --or semantic-- objections.

Well, in this country, those with religious objections passed laws which made gays in civil unions second class citiznes in terms of benefits and rights. Then they made gays in religious marriages second class citizens in terms of benefit and rights. How that can be justified under our Constitution eludes my understanding.

By the time San Francisco allowed marriages for gay, that one brief gloriously happy fortnight (if that long), I found myself totally OK with the use of "marriage," I remember watching the news coverage, actually crying with happienss for these people who were so wondrously happy, I wished them luck and happiness.

Now, just like heterosexuals, some of those marriage didn't last. But that comes with committed relationships: Some last till death do them part, some don't last that long.

I sincerely believe that when gay marriage is normalized, with full rights and benefits, gradually, with the passage of generations, it will be fully accepted as "just what is."

It will be understood that in our society, marriage means both civilly celebrated marraiges and religiously celebrated marraige.

Jun. 21 2011 10:44 AM

To KC,

I was obviously referring to previous civilizations, I am aware that many countries now have adopted gay marriage, but it is too recent to see the results. We see the results of untrammeled divorce, abortion and other liberal causes pushed down our throats, and where it has lead: 50% divorce rates; declining native population causing dependence on heavy immigration, and so on. The results usually start to come in some decades after the damage has been done. But since the time of Karl Marx, leftists have never once admitted they were wrong. They can't believe that their "logical," pseudo-egalitarian machinations can ever turn out wrong despite all evidence to the contrary.

Jun. 21 2011 10:41 AM
David Linkin from Manhattan

In France, to obtain the legal rights of a "marriage" you must be married by the state. Religious marriages do not give you the legal rights that the gay community is asking for. Maybe the true answer for the US is to define rights based on civil unions and let the religions carry out marriages that only have standing within the group. We have a separation of church and state. The right of inheritance, etc. are not church issues.

Jun. 21 2011 10:40 AM
Edward from NJ

It seems to come down to people thinking that the word "marriage" is somehow special. From the state perspective, it's not the word -- it's the rights that go with the word. If "civil unions" had been recognized by all levels of government as equal to marriages for civil rights and economic purposes, perhaps this wouldn't be an issue. The problem is that "civil unions" have received selective rights and generally second class treatment. The ship of "civil unions" has sailed because people tried them and found them wanting.

Jun. 21 2011 10:37 AM
KC from Hell's Kitchen

Jgar says no civilization in 10,000 years has recognized homosexual marriage. I guess Spain, Denmark,Sweden,Norway, Connt, Iowa, Mass,etc are uncivilized?

Jun. 21 2011 10:37 AM
Chris from Washington Heights

I think the Catholic church's staunch point here has more to do with internal church politics than the politics of state. There's a large battle of ideas going on within the church right now that the conservative wing is winning in a big way, marked most prominently by the appointment of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope. Social conservatives are running the church so thoroughly that one might forget that there are liberal clergy out there, some of whom are actually openly (celibate) gays themselves! There are also priests out there that will marry gay couples in open protest of the church. The church, in the wake of massive numbers leaving the church, has been taken what I see as the wrong track--clamping down on those with ideological differences, rather than opening the tent to be open to more ideological range. As a 27-year-old raised Catholic myself, and as one with a gay brother, the openness of Protestant churches very similar to Catholicism has a natural strong appeal. That said, I pray daily for the Catholic Church to soften its stance on these social issues. Very difficult!

Jun. 21 2011 10:37 AM
Shannon from Connecticut

Regardless of whether the state gives Gays the right to marry...there are still over 1400 benefits that the Federal Governement denies Civil Union couples over married couples.

Until the Federal DOMA act is overturned, it is worthless because the marriage entitlements are not honored nor are any states required to acknowledge gay marriage from other state. Imagine if a hetro couple moved and was told they aren't married??

It's unbeliveable to me (raised Roman Catholic) that people still follow any religion blindly and deny ANYONE their basic civil rights.

Think of it this way all you wonderful ultra conservitive people... If marriage is truly sacred, then why is there divorce? (Think Newt Gingrich) Or pre-marriage sex? (Bristol Palin?) If you belive neither of those should exist too you are beyond words and in denial that we all are human and all make an err in judement and I bow to your perfectness. You must be lonely.

Jun. 21 2011 10:36 AM
David in Fredericksburg, VA from Fredericksburg, VA

I agree with the next to last caller. The government should not be doing marriage - period.
I read a column some time back where the writer mentioned that in France marriage is done by the churches - the government merely registers couples.
While my gut reaction to gay marriage is negative - my feelings can't dictate what others do. There is simply no constitutional support for restricting marriage.

Jun. 21 2011 10:36 AM
J from The other end of the radio

Thank you Brian for framing this as fundamentalism and theology. Your always good for slinging around the partisan rhetoric.

Yes the Church is against poverty and war and is also opposed to abortion and gay marriage. Why are they so "liberal" on the former issues and so "conservative" on the latter? It hinges on morality and natural law as clearly described in the archbishop's clips. War and poverty are immoral and (arguably) against natural law therefore the Church is against both. Whereas, if one of the primary purposes of the human body and sexuality is to procreate then homosexuality (and killing one's fetus) is against natural law and therefore immoral. Thus, the Church is against it. The natural extension of the argument is acts of immorality that are against natural law breeds/creates a lack of moral discipline and leads to further immoral acts.

Also stop talking about the political energy that is being spent. If they agreed with your stance and spoke out in favor of your stance you would welcome the Church's political energy. But because they are in opposition to your constituency's worldview you term the Church's political energy as excessive and homophobic. Way to rally the base Brian. Again as I said above you are good for throwing around the rhetoric.

One last point. As a person who has diligently listened to NPR since 2000. Your hypocracy is astounding. NPR lambasted Fox for laying on the partisan rhetoric and biased reporting during the Bush years, yet NPR is equally if not exceedingly partisan and biased. Laughable.

Jun. 21 2011 10:36 AM

Most religious (or even people who just believe in gods) don't understand how most of the devices that make their modern life possible work. Not the math and science, but the general concepts. They don't know how a microwave heats their food yet they somehow know the mind of god and that he doesn't want you tugging on your penis or having gay sex.

It's sad that humanity is still discussing this imaginary friend crap.

@Martin - how many Muslims are in the US and actually vote on these issues. Though, I think the actual reason is that a lot of Christians will attempt to use reason to argue these points rather than outright say "My all powerful god disapproves of you."

Jun. 21 2011 10:35 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Can we PLEASE look at this debate and take into account thatthe word "marriage" means both a common union between people in the eyes of society and the government vs Marriage as a sacrament of the catholic church? Two VERY different things. If everyone would step back and view it this way, the debate would be over. That is what the caller fom Morris County was trying to verbalize. She doesn't want gay couples to receive the sacrament of marriage bit apparently doesn't mind if gay couples get all of the legal ad social benefits of marriage in a civil union performed by a non-catholic person. This is fine. Give the church a carve out so that they can't be forced to perform a Marriage (sacrament). Beyond that, if the catholic church wants to discriminate any more, than they should give up their tax exempt status because I don't want my tax dollars indirectly supporting religious institutions who choose to discriminate.

Jun. 21 2011 10:34 AM

What liberals can't answer is, why has NOT a single civilization in the last 10,000 years condoned homosexual marriage? Why can't they answer that? Were all those civilizations scared of what their gods would do? I don't think so. I think they must have learned their lessons, but unfortunately, writing was only invented about 4,000 years ago, so we don't have much literature about the subject. Most "holy books" do not condone homosexual marriage.

Jun. 21 2011 10:34 AM
steve from manhattan

It's less a matter of doctrine and belief on these specific issues (gay marriage, abortion, etc), and more a matter of the Church maintaining control over it's flock. The issues are more the means than the end...

And it's working -- how else to explain why thinking women and men define and accept absolute advice on marital, familial and sexual beliefs from men who have never married, built a family or had sex?

Jun. 21 2011 10:34 AM
Petey74 from Newark NJ

The financial benefits bestowed by government and corporations on married couples (straight, gay or whatever) discriminate against single people. Here's and example. I recently started a new job, and in the benefits orientation another new employee asked for and received details about adding his spouse to his medical benefits. As I single person I was denied the option of adding another adult to my plan. Marriage creates a separate class of citizens with more rights and privileges, like social security survivor benefits and tax-free inheritiance rights.

Jun. 21 2011 10:33 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

It seems like it's a matter of Vocabulary. Christians look at "Marriage" as having religious connotations. Non-Christian, like me, look at is simply a union between two people. When we use the words "Civil Union" most religious people are much less defensive. So why not just change our language?

Jun. 21 2011 10:32 AM
Kate from New York

Now I know how I mean to say it:

Archbishop Dolan totally doesn't get it. In places like North Korea, the state PREVENTS people from living their lives as they choose. The US is shifting to giving MORE LIBERTY - therefore the Catholic Church is the one which is acting like North Korea by advocating for restricting rights.

Jun. 21 2011 10:32 AM
Steve from NYC

The Catholic Church is an institution whose official policy has been to protect pedophile priests. Lawmakers should be prosecuting more Church officials instead of paying attention to its stance on gay marriage. The hypocrisy is disgusting!

Jun. 21 2011 10:32 AM
Leonard from park slope, bklyn

I truly believe that the government should Not be involved in marriage at all. The government (Federal, State, City, Local, whatever) should offer only civil unions, and offer those to straight, gay, lesbian, other form of unions, and provide all the benefits that "marriage" traditionally enjoys.

I believe this on constitutional grounds separation of church and state.

Jun. 21 2011 10:31 AM

Everytime the liberals imposed their agenda on the rest of us, and talked us into it, they said "Who does it harm?" WHen they weakened divorce laws, who does it harm? Well, now over 50% of marriages end in divorce. When they foisted legalized abortion on us, who did it harm? Well, besides the aborting of 1.5 million native born children a year, it has made more dependent on importation of immigrants. When the foisted untrammeled free (rather than fair) trade, who could it harm? Well, the lost of millions of manufacturing jobs, not to mention huge trade deficits. Now they say, "Homosexual marriage; who can it harm?" Well, we'll see about that soon enough as well.

Jun. 21 2011 10:31 AM
alan from NYC

We have to have a glossary; there's a language problem here.

In many respects, marriage is a sacrament, like communion or bar mitzvah, and the state has no business defining its rules. The state-issued marriage license has ALWAYS been recognition of civil union and nothing more.

Alas, we have borrowed the term to mean civil marriage as well. A quick study of marriage shows that all societies have it, including one-to many, many-to-one, many-to-many, etc. In our polyglot, multi-cultural situation, we have no choice but to use the broadest, loosest definition.

But, I can hardly blame the archbishop for understanding the term in his way, given that sacrament is of top priority to his view of life.

A less hot-button issue is "bar mitzvah", which literally means "age of majority", but has come to mean a celebratory reception. Just because that's what most people think of doesn't mean that what it IS.

How about NO MARRIAGE for anyone outside religious institutions, and civil union for the rest of us?

Jun. 21 2011 10:31 AM
lapsed Catholic from NJ

I asked my Catholic friend this question in the course of this debate: Which of the two of us is married? The answer: it depends on who you ask. He was married in the church but is now divorced (no annulment). I was never married in the church, but have been married 20 years. If you ask NJ, I'm married and he's not. If you ask the church, he's married and I'm not. The problem here is that the word marriage is used to define both a religious ceremony and a civil contract. Churches are allowed to discriminate, but in the eyes of the law we are all created equal.....

Jun. 21 2011 10:30 AM
Drew from Brooklyn

That quote from the beginning of the segment, comparing Marriage Equality legislation to Chinese and North Korean family planning dictates is so wrongheaded that I can't believe no one is point out the following: Those are proscriptive laws that limit rights and freedoms. What the Legislature is debating is expanding freedom and rights. Isn't this the basis of America?

Jun. 21 2011 10:29 AM
Samuel J. Howard from Jamaica, NY

Why have you not invited on someone who can explain and *support* the Catholic position?

Instead you've picked a theologian whose writings on the topic of sexuality were condemned by his bishop:

"Archbishop Curtiss wrote: 'In these articles, Professors Lawler and Salzman argue for the moral legitimacy of some homosexual acts. Their conclusion is in serious error, and cannot be considered authentic Catholic teaching.'"

Their book was later censured by the Doctrine Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Jun. 21 2011 10:28 AM
Laila from Long Island

My family is Catholic. My daughter goes to Catholic school and we believe in the rights for all to be able to marry. We called our senator to ask him to vote for the Marriage Equality Act. Hope it passes.

Jun. 21 2011 10:28 AM
Opposed from New Jersey

Watch your health insurance rates skyrocket if this is legalized. Already, particularly in publishing companies or industries with many gay employees rates doubled for, what they call "families," i.e. now anyone with a "partner" over what used to be a rate for an employee and a spouse.

Jun. 21 2011 10:28 AM
KC from Hell's Kitchen

I fought for my country . I pay my taxes and vote. Why am I denied all the same rights in a ten year plus relationship as other citizens?

Your religious views are yours> I will not get married in a Catholic, Mormon, Evangelical Church. Do not deny me the same benefits as a fellow citizen.

And do you also intend to deny sterile, our elderly or couples in which a woman's health would be endangered from child birth from getting married?

Jun. 21 2011 10:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

Again with this *heavy sigh* - have we not debated this issue to death??

Jun. 21 2011 10:25 AM

If procreation is the issue, why isn't remaining single a "sin?" The Bible says "Be fruitful and multiply" not get marriier if you wish or remain single.

I have never understood the argument.

Jun. 21 2011 10:25 AM
SteveH from nyc

Religions are Cults
Cults are not the STATE!
But people who are members of cults do however make laws and use the influence of their Cultism in that process.

Jun. 21 2011 10:25 AM
ernie Fritz from UWS

Brian ---

Why can't you believe this? That is what the catholics believe. You don't ask these questions of the Muslims or of the Jews ....

Jun. 21 2011 10:24 AM
Leah from Brooklyn

I cannot think of anyone less apt to lecture on "natural law" than Dolan. (If marriage is "natural" and "God's plan," then why are clergy prohibited from engaging in it? Isn't that a violation of natural law, per his definition?) Per the procreation argument, does the church revoke marriages of couples they marry who then choose not to have children, despite whatever they said during their Pre-Cana classes?

The church is profoundly out of tune on this. As a Catholic, I'm ashamed that Dolan would devote so much of his time to specious and irrational arguments, invoking red herrings like North Korea. When the church has its own house in order, especially with regard to abuse and molestation, then it can lecture others on the appropriateness of their sexual relationships.

Jun. 21 2011 10:23 AM

No civilization in the last 10,000 years has permitted the sanctification of homosexual relationships in the form of "marriage." There must be a reason why NO civilization has allowed it down to present times. And it has nothing to with God or gods.

While homosexual relationships are as old as mankind itself, and the Spartans encouraged it between young boys and warrior men, they did not sanctify in the form of marriage. And I suspect the reason why no ancient society sanctified marriage is because of very practical, down to earth reasons. It will limit normal population growth. Every tribe and nation needed workers and fighting men. It needed reproduction. Sanctified homosexual marriage clearly, even in ancient, proved harmful to the greater societal good, otherwise it would have happened millennium ago.

Jun. 21 2011 10:23 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

The theology is beside the point...the Catholic position on same-sex unions is purely about power. This 2000-year old institution doesn't want to give any ground in its hold on the minds and money of its followers.

Jun. 21 2011 10:22 AM


I don't believe God is using the churches anymore: so my point of you comes from what the churches purpose initially was before God was done. And God's Word, the Bible states unequivocally that homosexuality is a sin.

You from the Jewish tradition know this through the Old Testament.

There's no wiggle room for interpretation. It's plainly spelled out without doubt or ambiguity. Why aren't you making clear on your show that the Bible of course says that. Recently you had people on discussing the interpretation of slavery as found in the Bible. There is no comparison. The Bible states homosexuality as grievous sin: no wiggle room, or historical view added

Jun. 21 2011 10:20 AM
Carolita from NYC

It's obvious, isnt it? It's hard to do something about poverty and war. It's easy to mobilize hatred and intolerance to unite a religious following. You don't need to look further than that.

Jun. 21 2011 10:20 AM
jj from ct

I struggle with this religiously, because Jesus told us to honor our wives. I think it is safe to presume he was talking about men honoring women. However, as long as the Church is not forced to recognize same-sex unions as a Sacrament – I’m not sure why the Bishops care if they wed under Civil Law.

Jun. 21 2011 10:19 AM
Robert from NYC

And Mr. Chuzzlewit, let's not ever forget the Orthodox Jewish community who, going back to the beginning of the AIDS "crisis" turned out numerous times on the steps of City Hall screaming loudly, wearing sterile operation gowns and sterile surgical masks to protest the gay marriage question, bearing some of the most homophobic signs calling for the death of those who practice this "abomination". So it's pretty much organized religion-wide. Don't mistake my rant as supporting or defending the Catholic Church, on the contrary I believe IT is an abomination, albeit great theatre. Rather I have no use nor do I care for any insensitive "religion" and that includes ALL OF THEM. After all the pope JPII did ask for the forgiveness of murders in Roman prisons and forgave the man who attempted to kill him!! Yet homosexuality is an abomination, lol. This is already getting to long. I hope I made my point.

Jun. 21 2011 10:19 AM

What is wrong is that churches don't pay taxes, and even get taxpayer money for providing what other countries consider civil safety net. My tax dollars paying for a salvation army ham sandwich that is attributed to the greatness of Christ? If you want a theocracy just move to Vatican. This is America.

Jun. 21 2011 10:19 AM

Priests who sexually abuse boys are not treated the same as the position of the Church on same sex marriage and sex between men. Is that not hypocrisy?

Jun. 21 2011 10:18 AM
Steve from Rockville Centre, NY

The debate over gay marriage misses the point entirely. It's not whether gay people should be granted a marriage license, it's why is the government in the business of granting recognition to marriage at all? Marriage is, after all, religious. All religions have marriage, marriage ceremonies and leaders which do the ceremonies. If the state stops marrying people, then we wouldn't even have this discussion.

Jun. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Sady from Greenpoint

Opposition to abortion and opposition to same-sex marriage is not just about sexuality -- it's about GENDER and maintaining the power imbalance between men and women. If you look at the James Dobsons of the world who are really pushing the anti-gay marriage agenda it's all about securing mens' role as master of the family. "Defining" marriage as between "one man and one woman" is not just a sexuality dictum, it's defining "man" and "woman" as separate roles in a marriage with distinct jurisdictions.

Jun. 21 2011 10:17 AM
LapsedCatholic from nyc

The Catholic Church is --not-- universally against murder (abortion).....Many priests, sisters, and lay people are are pro-death penalty.

What is the difference???
Isn't murder...murder?

Jun. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Jennifer from New York, NY

Brian, thanks for inviting Catholics to call in but, you should know that many Catholics support gay marriage. Sorry to complicate things for you but, we're a complicated group!

Jun. 21 2011 10:17 AM
Rick T from Long Beach, NY

I was raised Catholic, went through over 20 years of Catholic Education and was active in our church and have known many priests.

I believe that men with homosexual and asexual inclinations has been and still is one of the main feeders of the celibate priesthood.

Anything that makes homosexual life easier or more enjoyable THREATENS the main feeder of celibate priests to the Catholic Church.


Jun. 21 2011 10:17 AM
steveH from nyc

GOD, I suppose that's an idea that belongs with RELIGION. There is a separation between "CHURCH AND STATE". Each person's GOD makes their laws for them NOT EVERYBODY else!
CATHOLICS should try living under LAWS of a different RELIGIOUS CULT for awhile!

The Flawed US Constitution which permitted One man to OWN others, suggests THE PEOPLE should not be forced to live by the rules of a single CULT, because there ate thousands of Religious Cults, all with different GODS.

Jun. 21 2011 10:16 AM
Cory from Planet Earth

What is the point of putting on a Catholic theologian who obviously does not advocate the Catholic church's position to talk about the church's position? It would make more sense to put a hardliner on to explain the hard line.

Jun. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Michael Pettinger from Brooklyn

I am a gay man and want same-sex marriage. But I have to say, that characterizing the Catholic Church as institutionalized pedophilia or a bunch of would -be theocrats adds nothing to the conversation. Archbishop Dolan's rhetoric is over the top, but answering the underlying anxiety he represents with more over the top rhetoric gets us nowhere.

Jun. 21 2011 10:15 AM
Morgan Paar from NYC

Jesus of Nazareth said, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12).

Jun. 21 2011 10:14 AM
Mike Leung from Jersey city

A patriarchy opposing gay marriage is natural because only men lose out from the blurring of gender roles -- which is what gay marriage does.

Jun. 21 2011 10:13 AM
michael from greenpoint

look who's taking about presumptive omnipotence? This is coming from a man who believes some elderly old man in Rome is God's voice on earth himself. Dolan, get out of my life. I'm no longer a catholic, why do you have to force your beliefs on our laws?

Jun. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Churches have a right to think and marry who they please.

The state has the obligation to treat all its citizens equally under the law.

That's how America should work.

Jun. 21 2011 10:13 AM
Ken from Little Neck

This is, as usual, disgusting. How dare the state try to define god given rights? How about how dare the state try to *deny* civil rights!

Jun. 21 2011 10:12 AM
Kate from New York

Wow - the Archbishop has blinders on. It's not for the state to decide on how people should define family? He thinks it's his job to define narrowly, but not the job of the state to define broadly. Very myopic.

Jun. 21 2011 10:10 AM
Jon from brooklyn, ny

Mr. Dolan may think that God defines marriage, but in New York, Albany makes the laws. We do not legislate for all of our citizens based on one group's theology.

Jun. 21 2011 10:09 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

As a Jew, I am always amused that the discussion of this topic ALWAYS focuses upon Catholics and fundamentalist Christian sects.... and NEVER upon the severe Muslim proscriptions against in arrest, imprisonment and even execution.

NPR, the mainstream media and, especially, gay activists are too spineless to address the most anti-gay religious bigotry in the world being preached every Friday in Mosques all over the Muslim world. (What are you afraid of's a religion of peace?)
What cowards!!! This whole segment is a joke if you ignore Islamic doctrine and its war on gays.

Oh, and I missed that BLS segment, Brian, on the only Gay Pride Parade this year in the Mideast......last week in Tel Aviv.

Jun. 21 2011 09:59 AM

If their engame is Christian theocracy then the position is obvious. If not then I'd like to hear the argument legitizimg why a religion ought to color civil life. In a world of grey issues it is refreshing to see one so black and white.

Jun. 21 2011 09:43 AM

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