Prop 8 Losing Double

CNS featured the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment to strike down California’s Proposition 8. I’d like to comment on a few aspects of the story, including how CNS presented it.

“This sets up an all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court,” said (National Organization of Marriage Education Fund director, Brian S. Brown), who asked for contributions to help fund a possible Supreme Court challenge to the lower court’s ruling.

Well, of course, contributions are solicited. It seems like whenever some side loses something in the courts, money has to be funneled in to pay off the last round or move on in the playoffs. Do people ever just accept a lower court’s ruling? Probably the poor schmucks who don’t have a national fundraising organization behind them. Like ordinary citizens.

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson:

We are disappointed by the ruling today by a panel of the 9th Circuit that would invalidate the action taken by the people of California affirming that marriage unites a woman and a man and any children from their union.

Wait a minute. This ruling in no way denies that “marriage unites a woman and a man …” It would be one thing if Prop 8 opponents were determined to take marriage rights away from heterosexual couples and give them exclusively to homosexuals. In that case, I could understand the fervor on this issue.

What the court ruled on is that an electoral majority cannot impose its will on a minority. The majority would need to show the minority intends to damage others and in fact does so. Even gay marriage opponents have to concede traditional marriage is more under fire from widespread pornography–just to name one issue.

Rather than fund another legal round of nonsense, I wish the NOM would pull back. Instead of lawyers and lobbyists (who, it seems, will always have work) I suggest donations be taken up for child care for couples. Has every Catholic married couple in the Los Angeles Archdiocese been Encountered? And if not, why not?

Instead of ministry, we get a hope for a SCOTUS resolution:

However, given the issues involved and the nature of the legal process, it’s always been clear that this case would very likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Marriage between one man and one woman has been — and always will be — the most basic building block of the family and of our society.

In the end, through sound legal reasoning, we believe the court will see this as well and uphold the will of the voters as expressed in Proposition 8. We continue to pray for that positive outcome.

What I’d really prefer my bishops and pastors pray for is my marriage. And the marriage of tens of millions of Catholics. And maybe do something about solidifying that building block, rather than focus on what the one-percent of Californians are seeking in terms of permanency, commitment, and civic privileges.

When an older couple marries, their inability to bear children does not offer an imposition to me and my wife in raising our child. When people in other neighborhoods in my town marry, that doesn’t harm my neighborhood, which has more graduate students living in single-unit housing. If a gay couple down my street want to share some of the legal aspects I share, it takes nothing away from me.

Love, respect, and commitment–unlike donated money–is not some zero-sum game. A sacramental marriage strengthened makes strong all the relationships around it. A couple focusing on their marriage in a healthy way does not mean neglected children. The Church needs to re-focus it’s commitment to couples. And yes, it needs to justify the expense as well as the time it devotes to politics.

What would be nice for churches to do while the kiddoes are in faith formation–just once in a while–have a parent night in the church hall. Instead of contributing to the drop-off, tune-out culture, offer a coffee bar and one simple discussion question. Something like:

“I should take more time for you.” When I hear you say that to me, how do I feel?

My wife and I often drop off our daughter to evening faith formation. And we scoot to a coffee shop or diner. It would be just as easy to stay on the premises–if we had a reason to stay.

Mr Brown, Bishop Wilkerson, and the other public faces on this effort need to read the numbers. Their support is eroding, and CNS isn’t afraid to tell it:

A Pew Forum analysis on attitudes toward same-sex marriage by religion released Feb. 7 said Catholics supported same-sex marriage 52 percent to 37 percent, with 11 percent undecided as of an October 2011 survey. That is up from a 46 percent favorable opinion (42 percent unfavorable) in a survey conducted in August and September 2010.

Hispanic Catholics are split, 42 percent to 42 percent, on same-sex marriage, while white Catholics approve of same-sex marriage by a margin of 57 percent to 35 percent.

Overall, same-sex marriage was favored by Americans 46 percent to 44 percent in the 2011 poll; in the 2010 survey, it was opposed 48 percent to 42 percent. The only religious groups remaining opposed to same-sex marriage in the latest survey were white evangelicals, 74 percent to 19 percent, and black Protestants, 62 to 30. Protestants overall remain opposed to gay marriage, 58 to 34.

Just for once, I’d like to read about and see what the Church is doing to publicly support actual marriages. And not just finger-pointing the gays.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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18 Responses to Prop 8 Losing Double

  1. Your last few lines say it all…

  2. David D. says:

    In the real world, so to speak, most disputes don’t even make it to trial let alone the appellate level. Among the exceptions are those instances, such as the present controversy, where substantial political interests are involved Bear in mind that the first legal challenge to Prop 8 was initiated by opponents of Prop 8 not NOM. By your logic the opponents of Prop 8 should have licked their wounds and gone home quietly and donated the savings in legal fees towards some worthy endeavor. Beginning with Prop 22 and continuing through to the inevitable Supreme Court decision, an obscene amount of money will have been spent on both sides of the issue.

    .

    • Todd says:

      Or that the attempt to legislate by majority coup at the ballot box should never have been initiated in the first place. A Christian may rightly ask, “What furthers the Gospel?” Does this?

  3. Jen says:

    If the couple upstairs (who we hardly know are there most times–they’re great neighbors and help shovel out after a storm) are such a threat to my marriage, then I have no business getting married. They aren’t restricting my ability to get married with all the legal protections that come with it.

    I’m worried between this and the attempts to blame them for the child abuse crisis that there aren’t many LGBTQ people left in the Church. Call me crazy, but I think we need them in the Church as much as anyone else.

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” (Anne Lamott)

  4. David D. says:

    How dare the lowly subjects attempt to usurp the legislative prerogative through the exercise of direct democracy.

  5. FrMichael says:

    In answer to your question, try http://foryourmarriage.org. I certainly promote it heavily at my parish, along with workshops on family finances, childraising, and soon enough Theology of the Body. That is in addition to the long-standing parochial and diocesan NFP and marriage preparation processes that are standard in these parts.

    What else? Just on a personal level, each year I distribute a flyer from the California Catholic Conference that gives the legal rights of parents and guardians in the public schools.

    How about testifying in family court in order to facilitate a contested adoption? That was a few months ago.

    How about the parish (and parish pastor out of his own pocket) paying for a marriage counseling for one deeply troubled couple who could not afford it?

    So now that the present efforts of one priest in one parish are chronicled, which I little doubt are replicated in thousands of other parishes by thousands of other priests, how about the spiritual danger of this evil idea that marriage is merely the consentual union of two unrelated adults being taught to Catholic children in the public schools? When will a single progressive Catholic ever address that overriding question? I don’t give a rat’s behind about what two perverts who long ago forsook God do to themselves in private to seal their eternal doom. When the Spirit of God stirs their damaged consciences, I and my brother priests will be there to guide them out of the land of damnation. On the contrary, I have real and solvable moral issues to deal with in my parish. Chief among these is that the State of California and its agents tell Catholic children in public schools that such a monstrosity as two men or two women getting it on is the same relationship as what their parents have. That type of evil needs to be opposed, especially when legal remedies still exist to do so.

    • Todd says:

      Evil is a pretty strong way to describe the way God made some people. It seems like using a firehose to do the job of an eyedropper. And if the truth of the morality is that it’s the sex thing, why don’t faithful priests promote the criminalization of sex outside of traditional marriage? Being able to file a 1040 jointly isn’t immoral.

    • Jen says:

      ” I don’t give a rat’s behind about what two perverts who long ago forsook God do to themselves in private to seal their eternal doom.”

      Bigoted much?

  6. crystal says:

    Yay California :) It would be refreshing if the church spent the time and money it does now on trying to doom same-sex marriage instead on something positive (I don’t think Theology of the Body qualifies, though). Our church, along with the Mormon church, was one of the hugest contributers to prop 8 – it’s shameful that money wasn’t spent instead on helping needy people.

  7. FrMichael says:

    Hey crystal, the People of California lost: our votes were nullfied by two wannabe philosopher-kings in black robes in the often-overturned 9th Circuit Court. Read the decision (it is online) to see how the “People’s” interests were deemed to be irrational animus by Reinhardt and his fellow stooge. This decision was as surprising as the sun rising in the east. The big fight will be SCOTUS: we all knew this decision would simply be a place-holder to put something on the front pages of our lousy newspapers.

    Todd, God forces noone to conduct perverted sexual activity. The fact that many with same-sex attractions fall into mortal sin is not God’s fault anymore than heterosexuals falling into mortal sin with adultery and fornication are His fault.

    I’m all for the criminalization for sex outside of marriage (not “traditional marriage.”) Too bad this Administration is modifying the one law code, the UCMJ, that had Adultery on its books as a criminal offense. Unfortunately, I’m too small a minority to make laws!

    • Jimmy Mac says:

      When “the people” do stupid things that violate equal protection clauses of constitutions, such stupidity needs to be nullified.

      Do you feel that “the people”‘s wishes were nullified when California outlawed prohibition against mixed-race marriages?

      Oh, yes, let us DO make adultry a criminal offense! Just think of the numbers of ” the people” who will end up in the slammer – many, many Catholics among them.

      • FrMichael says:

        No, because race is a benign characteristic. And the parallel fails, because the California prohibition against mixed-race sexes involved a governmental agent making a racist decision.

        Prop 8 does no such thing. Under the now-challenged provision of our state constitution, a gay man is free to marry any eligible women who consents, and a lesbian female was free any eligible man who consents. The characteristic of sexual orientation of either party to the marriage is irrelevant to the governmental agent. The parallel with the mixed-race couples ban fails.

        What the anti-Prop 8 folks want to conduct is a coup, redefining marriage to something it has never meant in the history of California (except for a very brief window of time) against the expressed will of the majority of Californians, as determined by the vote for Prop 8. This is clearly an anti-democratic (in the sense of being against the voting majority) and anti-republican (in the sense of the judiciary serving as the legislative branch by making up laws out of thin air) and the two wannabe black-robed philosopher kings deserves the opprobrium that is being heaped upon them.

  8. crystal says:

    “our votes were nullfied ”

    Not mine :)

  9. David D says:

    Whereas certain responses to Fr Michael’s comments are simply puerile, this last one has managed that in addition to being offensive if not libelous. Well done.

  10. Pingback: Stay focused

  11. Jimmy Mac says:

    Fr Michael: with all due respect – utter nonsense.

    Here’s a little history of marriage in the Catholic world.

    http://www.yawningbread.org/apdx_2004/imp-141.htm

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