The Intolerant Beached Whale


Courtesy of Monterey Bay Whale Watch

In my last post I attempted to highlight the fact that nature itself has set the guidelines for marriage to include members of the opposite sex.  Any attempt to redefine marriage to include the union of same-sex couples would fundamentally change the meaning of the word.  In other words, it is nonsense to portray any such redefinition as simply the extending of a particular civil right to be more inclusive of more people.

Under the current definition of marriage every single person already has the exact same civil right – to form a union with a person of the opposite sex.  If people of the same sex want to be unified or recognized in some way then that is an entirely different debate.  But it is not marriage.

What we have with all of the Prop 8 protests going on in California is not a debate on whether or not same-sex couples should be recognized or have the same benefits as married couples.  They already have all of these things in California.  There is absolutely nothing legal standing in the way of them pursuing their happiness.  That is why emotional rants by people like Keith Olbermann are more akin to Chris Crocker pleading with us to “Leave Britney Alone” (and the spoofs) than they are to a legitimate and honest debate of the issue.  It’s just dressed up in a suit and some tears and run on prime-time cable news.

It is the current protest in California that brings to light what the debate is truly about.  First it was about visitation rights in a hospital…and they gave them that.  Then it was about tax breaks…and they gave them that too.  Then it was about health care benefits…and they gave them that.  Then it was about a civil recognition…and they gave them that.  Now that there is nothing left to give them they have begun to take from the rest of us.

Now we see what they were after all along.  They want to fundamentally change marriage.  Never mind respecting or tolerating other people’s beliefs about something they have held sacred for thousands of years.  Never mind something that has been shown to unequivocally benefit society in ways that nothing else ever has.  Never mind that in doing so they would render the word “marriage” as more meaningless than ever before in our history.  Never mind all of that

And it’s ironic that these activists who claim to be protesting in the name of “tolerance” are out there shouting down old ladies and bashing crosses into pieces…

And I love how the newscaster says at the very end that there’s “a lot of anger and a lot of hate, quite honestly, on both sides.” Are you kidding?  Biased much?  Yeah, that little old lady who got shouted down and then had her cross knocked from her hands and bashed into pieces…she did look awfully angry and hateful!  What a joke!

This is one of those obvious moments where you can see very clearly who is in the right and who is in the wrong.  It actually reminds me a lot of attending the March for Life in DC to protest Roe v. Wade.

It was then that I knew more than ever before that I was standing on the right side of the issue.  99.999% of the pro-life supporters were peacefully standing and praying together.  100% of the “pro-choice” crowd were yelling profanities, shouting people down, throwing things, pushing us around on the sidewalk (including the high school kids with us!), blocking us from crossing the street to stay clear of traffic, etc.

Usually when one side has resorted to shouting down, silencing, and intimidating the other side it’s a good sign that they themselves don’t have a good argument to make.  Their only option left is to try and silence the truth (or find judges that will force it upon people for them).

It seems much of our society has the notion that just because something occurs in nature (some people are homosexual) then it must be a natural and good thing to be embraced as equal to anything else we find in nature.  This is nonsense.

Nature has an order to it.  Variations in our nature that conform to that order thrive, evolve, and continue on.  Variations that go against that natural order do not.  So even in nature we see a rudimentary good and a bad.  We see an ideal and we see things that contradict that ideal.  It’s kind of important not to get the two confused.

Here’s an analogy:  Whales, by their very nature, belong in the ocean – their biology is made to live that way.  The fact that we sometimes “naturally” find a confused or unfortunate beached whale does not mean now that it is “natural” for a whale to be on the beach.  Being out of water goes against the very nature of the whale.  And as much as the beached whale might like to rationalize that it is good to be on the beach, it can not make it so.  And even if the beached whale decides to change the definition of the word “ocean” and have it include the sand as well as the water, it still can not change the reality of the natural order.  All they will have done is caused the word “ocean” to lose its entire original meaning.  And the beached whale is absolutely no better off than before.  In fact, it’s in worse shape because it’s convinced itself that it should stay on the beach.

And that’s what we’re dealing with here with the definition of marriage.  These protesters don’t like that most of us believe marriage belongs in the sea – where nature formed it to go.  They somehow ended up on the beach and since they can’t convince us to cross that boundary too they just want to redefine the boundaries.

But how’s the saying go?  “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”  Regardless of what anyone wants to call it, the reality of marriage remains.

I suppose it is understandable that there is so much confusion.  Our current culture cut its anchors before ever really understanding why they were attached in the first place.  I guess all of that conventional wisdom was just impeding “progress.”  So it’s no wonder so many fish have ended up on the beach.

Thus far, I’ve attempted to make this argument – for at least the uniqueness of marriage – without the aid of any particular religious insight.  I believe it’s possible to do that, although I’m sure I fell significantly short in doing so.  However, that also means I was doing so with a handicap.

The true beauty of the natural order can only fully be seen through the lens of its greater purpose.  Next week, I hope to do a series of posts exploring this beauty further by taking a look at the Theology of the Body and how it offers the most profound insight into human existence and our purpose.  It is only then that we can fully realize the significance of the sacrament of Marriage and how it fits into God’s love and plan for us.

34 comments Add comment

Joe Henzler November 13, 2008 at 5:59 am

Well done, as usual, Matt.

I really think that the whole rationale behind the gay marriage movement is simply a way for the gay lobby to foist gay behavior upon society as an acceptable behavior.

The state extends certain benefits to married couples because of the benefits which marriage, when properly executed by the married couple, provides to the state. Specifically, sound marriage provides new little citizens and taxpayers for the benfit of society. Gay marriage does not do this.

Paul Nichols November 13, 2008 at 9:07 am

Joe, this is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts. The schools promote homosexuality openly now, and the parents can’t “opt out” of it. Once the state recognizes something as “normal”, then no moral distinction can be made on it.

THAT’s the hidden agenda behind “gay marriage”. They claim that, hey, it’s just marriage, but WE know that it’s SO much more than just that.

Joe Henzler November 13, 2008 at 9:56 am

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, Paul, I agree with you. They make it seem like homosexuality is no more harmless than a fashion statement, when, in fact, it’s a literally killer lifestyle. The life expectancy ofr gay men is significantly shorter than that for straight men. Rates of substance abuse are astronomically higher compared to heterosexuals. I ain’t buying that gay “marriage” will make any of that better.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

“They make it seem like homosexuality is no more harmless than a fashion statement, when in fact, it’s literally a killer lifestyle.”

What a convulted, hateful blanket statement. Without knowing anything about a given individual other than their sexual preference how can you make a claim that they are harmful?

I suppose when you look at crime rate stats it would lead you to the conclusion that African Americans are harmful too. What a shame. And some folks wonder why the word ‘bigotry’ is used.

Wow. Hateful statements like this expose the real motivation behind the issue. As Matt said, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
The fact is that statements like this make your arguments disingenuous, not to mentinon non-rational, and just flat out nuts.

What happened to spreading God’s love? So dissapointing.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Furthermore, maybe you should read the title of Matt’s note.

I think it’s ironic that someone could post such an intolerant statement on a blog entitled “The Intolerant Beached Whale”

Matthew Warner November 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Phil – I agree that hateful blanket statements should not be made. But I don’t think Joe did that. He said nowhere that homosexuals were harmful. And in no way did he say that ALL homosexuals were harmful.

He said the homosexual lifestyle was harmful (of which there is plenty of evidence). Either way, that’s called an opinion…not bigotry.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Matt, I respectfully disagree. To make a statement like “They make it seem like homosexuality is no more harmless than a fashion statement” is directly implying that being a homosexual is indeed harmful.

Some would argue there is evidence that African Americans commit more crime. There may also be evidence that the life expectancy of African American men is significantly shorter than that of White men. Rates of substance abuse may be astronomically higher compared to White folks. Is it acceptable to say that the lifestyle of African Americans is harmful or literally a killer lifestyle? Do you think someone should tolerate a comment such as this?

Good luck everyone – last post here. Love will prevail.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Sorry…one last post…I apologize to anyone if I was too harsh in my statements (you specifically Joe).

I have many gay friends and several gay relatives. And I do not take what I view as unjust prejudice against them lightly. You may not have intended your statement to be taken in this way. But unfortunately perception is reality and that is how those comments struck me.

Good luck all. God bless.

Matthew Warner November 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Phil, your comparison to African Americans does not hold. While crime may be disproportionately committed by some of certain races, there is no evidence that suggests it is their race that is causing this. Other factors like economic status, etc. seem to be the causes. Race would be a correlation – not causation.

This is not so with the homosexual lifestyle. Being a homosexual itself is an orientation – not an action. BUT, the homosexual lifestyle describes certain actions where the actions themselves show evidence of being harmful. I believe that is what the comment was referring to. Hence the target of the statement was the lifestyle – not the person. There is a very important difference.

Look, this is no place for hate and I have many gay friends and relatives as well who I love dearly. But just because somebody holds an opinion that a certain action is harmful does not make them hateful in the slightest. So let’s not mistake that for hate.

And in regard to showing God’s love to one another. If somebody believes that a certain action I am doing is harmful to me, the loving thing to do would be for them to inform me of it and encourage me to stop. I am then free to agree or disagree with that person and act accordingly. Either way I would hope I see their motive as acting out of love – even if I disagree.

But it’s a good reminder either way (not that I believe anyone in here has been uncharitable) that we continually examine what we do and believe and ensure that we do so out of love.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for the response Matt. Last post I promise.

The action of writing words that portray homosexuals as unnatural is hurtful and I encourge all to stop.

The action of writing words that state the lifestyle of people with a particular sexual oreintation is harmful, without knowing them on a personal level, is stereotypical and I encourage all to stop.

The action of writing words that judge anyone, based solely on their sexuality, race or gender, i.e. without knowing them on a personal level, is prejudice and unfair – and I encourage all to stop.

I’ll leave you with this.

Putting all spite aside, and anwsering truthfully and logically, if one were to write “catholics lead a hateful, intolerant, non-sensical lifestyle that harms society by spreading hate and fear, slowing the progress of humanity by disallowing for open mindedness while using irrational, outdated, archaic arguments. There is evidence of this here and here etc.”

Would catholics find that offensive? And you personally may shrug it off (at least you may say here you would), but how would the majority of catholics react to such a statement? Would they take it personally or would they be able to seperate the critisim of the lifestyle from who they are as human beings? And if I had the evidence to prove this would it be ok to say? Even if I did not have the evidence, would it still be acceptable to say as an opinion without being hurtful to others?

Matthew Warner November 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Phil, if catholics do something that is harmful and you have evidence of this then not only should you express that, but as a fellow human you have a duty to inform me of this and make your case. Especially if you do so out of love.

This is the problem anymore. People think that any kind of criticism of anybody’s actions is offensive, judgmental, and intolerant. This is dangerous. And then when somebody holds an opinion and actually has evidence to suggest that a particular kind of action may be harmful, it is called hateful, bigoted, and stereotyping. Look up the definitions of these words.

I’m sorry, but none of those words apply in this case. They are just misapplied words thrown out to discount somebody’s valid argument.

You have every right to say that they are wrong and then make your case for doing so. But calling them bigoted or labeling them as hurtful and stereotypical is counter-productive and quite honestly I believe they are misapplied.

Again, you are accusing people of personally judging individuals and being prejudice based on sexuality. I have not seen any of that.

Having a discussion on whether or not a particular activity is good or bad for society is a good discussion and has absolutely nothing to do with assigning any kind of moral culpability or guilt to any individual and their own situation and experience. We have to be able to get past this misunderstanding in order to have a worthwhile discussion.

It is not love to allow people to continue harming themselves if we believe (rightly or wrongly) that to be the case. What you are suggesting, Phil, is that we do just that – all in the name of tolerance.

If you find something that Catholics do that is harmful, then you should bring it up and make your case. Then we discuss, learn, and hopefully we progress together.

I don’t have to necessarily personally know anybody to judge whether a particular action IN GENERAL may or may not be harmful? It is not a personal attack at all. It would be wrong for me to take that as a personal attack. Just as it is wrong for you to take what I’ve said so far as any kind of personal attack.

Your position is that if somebody is doing something unnatural that we should not correctly identify it for what it is and instead pretend that it is natural because it would be hurtful to do otherwise. It is this kind of relativism that is counterproductive to real progress and “enlightenment.”

Truth must be based in a reality we embrace – not one that we deny because it’s hurtful.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 11:08 pm


1. “A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, ***lifestyles***, or identities differing from his or her own.”

Joe says “…simply a way for the gay lobby to foist gay behavior upon society as an acceptable behavior.”

Statements such as the one above that *infer* that homosexual behavior is unacceptable clearly do not allow for tolerance of lifestyles (see above). They should be repremanded not applauded.

In fact, can you show me evidence *anywhere* on this blog where there is any *tolerance* or understanding whatsoever being shown for the ***lifestyle*** of homosexuals? If not, see 1.

2. “Stereotype – a fixed and often negative impression of all members of an ethnic, religious or other group”

“Homosexuals are unnatural”. Sterotype? Is calling a specific group of human beings unnatural not a negative impression?

Rationalize away…

Matthew Warner November 13, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Phil, you think anytime somebody expresses an opinion that the homosexual lifestyle is not good that they are being intolerant. And then you call them hateful and bigoted. THAT is intolerance.

That kind of attitude is used to stifle differing opinions and conversation – not engage in it.

There is no such intolerance here. We are quite tolerant to anything you have to say and any other views anyone would like to express on here that might help the conversation. I’d say that’s pretty tolerant.

Again – disagreeing with somebody is very different from not tolerating them. So your definition of bigot does not hold. And nobody stereotyped any members of any group. They simply stated evidence to indicate that those who engage in a certain activity do harm to themselves and perhaps society. You can disagree. BUt that is not hateful and it is not a stereotype at all. I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

I would not say “homosexuals are unnatural.” But I’m fairly certain that person was referring to the homosexual lifestyle being unnatural. If you want to argue against that that is fine. But that is based on an objective action under review and an opinion as to whether or not it is natural. It has nothing to do with stereotyping.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 11:31 pm

That is pure garbage. Infering that homosexuality in unacceptbale is pure bigotry.

“It seems much of our society has the notion that just because something occurs in nature (some people are homosexual) then it must be a natural and good thing to be embraced as equal to anything else we find in nature. This is nonsense.”

Infering that homosexual human beings are not ‘equal’ is the only nonsense I can see.

Matthew Warner November 13, 2008 at 11:44 pm

I worded that wrongly and didn’t mean for that to be taken that way. I in no way meant that ANY person, homosexual or not, is not equal. My point was that just because an activity occurs in nature does not mean it should necessarily be embraced as equal to other activities.

I in no way was inferring that homosexual human beings are not equal. Sorry for the confusion.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Further to this, to consider a group of people not equal or unnacceptable because one doesn’t agree with their lifestyle – to me that’s bigotry. I’ll agree to disagree I guess.

Phil November 13, 2008 at 11:54 pm


My second comment came after I read your 11:44 just fyi…Good night.

I know I have said this before Matt but this is my FINAL FINAL post, I swear. There were just too many things left unsaid in this string and I would have been upset with myself for not voicing them.

I will continue to read what you write. Even I can admit that some points you make are very strong. I just hope that they can be made with even more tact and precision as to be less potentially hurtful. And I know that is not your intent. Remember that perception is reality unfortunately. Continuing to focus on specific actions or even specific individuals rather than groups may help you deliver your message more clearly.

I honestly wish you and everyone reading here all the best. Good luck.

Cathy Adamkiewicz November 14, 2008 at 7:18 am

What a fascinating conversation. As someone who agrees with Matt (I believe homosexuality is unnatural) and Phil (I know several homosexual persons whom I love very much) I am intrigued.
What speaks clearly to me is the frustration in Matt’s voice and the pain in Phil’s. A reminder of our calling as Catholics to act and speak in love (you are certainly doing this, Matt.) Matt’s arguments are se clear and sensible (to me) but I can see that Phil’s pain is blinding him. I think this is another issue (like abortion) that will only be affected by constant love and prayer.

Paul Nichols November 14, 2008 at 9:10 am

1. “A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, ***lifestyles***, or identities differing from his or her own.”
A simple clarification: the “opinion” that same-sex attraction is against the natural order of things is not “ours” in the sense that we come to this opinion of our own accord.

This “opinion” is an objective truth found in Natural Law – meaning that this same “opinion” is held by practically all cultures (religious and pagan) and all religions throughout all of man’s history.

The “pain” they feel is that no matter how you argue it or fight it, you can’t square that circle.

Joe Henzler November 14, 2008 at 11:40 am

My statements were a statement of clearly supportable facts. They are not an expression of hatred. Is it or is it not true that gay men suffer from a higher incidence of alcoholism and substance abuse? Is it or is it not true that homosexual men suffer from a higher incidence of STD’s? Is it or is it not true that gay men are more prone to suicide? Do not these facts point out that men living this lifestyle are in greater physical danger due to their actions? I think they are.

I, too have homosexual friends, and I do care.

Bill November 17, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Look, let’s cut to the chase. The gay marriage argument has nothing to do with rights or with beached Right whales. It has to do with sin, and with blurring the lines. It has to do with the constant attack on the faithful by the Father of Lies. You know, that fallen angel, Satan.

Sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin, whether the partners are heterosexual, homosexual, or singular. It’s a serious sin. It is not possible to “define” that away, assuming one believes in God and in the existence of sin. At one time, the civil law made it a crime to engage in adultery, so one of the first things Old Scratch did was to make sure the law was changed. After all, in a secular society (which the US government must reflect), the concept of sin can never be the basis for law. Or so Satan has led people to believe.

Actually, one of Nick’s best tricks is to get people to think he doesn’t exist, and to think that there is no such thing as sin.

So now that he’s got adultery off the table, he’s going after the concept of marriage itself. By taking it off the civil table, he can more easily trick people into thinking that sex outside of sacramental marriage is no sin either. And if he can get people to believe that, then they will think nothing of receiving the Eucharist even though they are having sex outside of sacramental marriage. Makes it much harder for the Church to carry on Christ’s work, when His Body and Blood are being profaned openly and flagrantly.

I’m not sure I said all of that exactly correctly, but you get the drift. Satan’s strategy is like erosion — slowly wearing down the structure of the Church, blurring lines, confusing the faithful. And it is the Catholic Church that Satan is after. We are the outpost of the full Truth, and he wants us gone.

The fact of having sex is not a matter of rights. We all have free will. We can sin any time we decide to do so, and we all frequently do. Heterosexuals who have sex outside of sacramental marriage sin. Homosexuals, who cannot have a sacramental marriage, in the Catholic church at least, sin by definition when they have sex. Unmarried heterosexuals must abstain from sex in order to avoid sin, and so must homosexuals. We are all alike in that regard. I see the gay marriage movement as being one more way Satan is trying to pressure the Church into collapse.

To quote T.S. Eliot (out of context, maybe) — This is the way the World ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. That’s what Satan wants. But we have a better promise: “The gates of Hell shall not prevail.” It’s just a matter of being strong enough to resist the forces of Hell, and we are being tested now, just as Christ promised we would be.

Fionn mac Cumhaill November 18, 2008 at 11:09 pm


I comment because you asked for input from someone like me who almost became a priest but is far from it now.

From what I read in your article I gather that you do not know any gay people. It is ok; I used to be the same way, until I met someone who was gay. I now firmly support gay marriage. I see and feel no conflict between that and my Catholic faith at all. The man I know does not ask for anything less than equal rights, which gay and lesbian people do not have. You may think they do, but any good lawyer can tell you that they do not have the same civil rights.

I also think about the main Biblical warning against homosexuality, and the only one that is clear cut in translation comes from Leviticus 18.xxii. And the penalty for homosexuality is being cut off from one’s people, not eternal damnation the way some people interpret that (and don’t try to tell me about I Corinthians 6.ix, because scholars are having trouble finding the translation to mean homosexuality in particular.)

Let us go back to your beached whale analogy. I think it is a good one. The whale is beached by nature; no whale really wants to beach itself. Just because the whale is out of water and is somewhere it shouldn’t be doesn’t mean God hates it.

Gay people will not come barging in our churches trying to get married. This will never be the case, I assure you. They want civil rights which they are desperately lacking and I think you were being suppressed as they were you would be very angry and shout profanities too. I can tell you my forefathers took up arms against the British for being oppressed as Catholics so perhaps we should be thankful the gays are not as violent as Irish Catholics.

One last point, Deus Caritas Est, when I see these people is there is love. I think you see where I am going.

— Fionn

Matthew Warner November 19, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Fionn – I’m not sure how you got from my analogy or post that “God hates” anyone? I never said that, nor does the Church teach that. It is quite the opposite.

There is absolutely no question as to whether or not Gay marriage conflicts with the teaching of the Catholic Church. To say that you “see and feel no conflict” is very strange. This isn’t even arguable. It’s not a matter of opinion or “feeling.” This is fact. The Church has said over and over again in every possible way that gay marriage is not consistent with the Catholic faith.

Also, if you believe that the only reason the Church teaches against gay marriage is solely because of a single scripture passage that you seem comfortable interpreting however you would like, then I would ask you to learn a little more about the Church, why it teaches what it teaches, and how it develops its teaching.

It seems every defense of changing this word goes back to false accusations of hate, insisting it is a matter of civil rights (which it isn’t at all), invalid comparisons to past unrelated injustices, and a reassurance to those opposed that gays are not going to force us to change what we believe. They are all straw man arguments and distract from the real discussion.

FYI – I know lots of gay people and have quite a few in my family whom I love very much, but I appreciate your feedback and viewpoint.

Fionn mac Cumhaill November 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Perhaps you are correct that I do not know enough about Catholic teaching. I do however know enough to say that it has been wrong before.

I do know what His Holiness teaches and has decreed regarding gay marriage. And I say it is ill-founded, and I respectfully and loyally disagree with the Church on that dogma. (After all this is the website Fallible Blogma)

Indeed, my primary reason for so disagreeing is science. I know as Catholic we are often scared of the “s word” but it the past we have found ourselves to be on the wrong side of the argument. (Galileo)

I avidly read each new publication concerning whether or not homosexuality is a matter of free will or it is determined by birth. Overwhelmingly, all the papers I have seen authored by respectable scientist from respectable institutions have concluded that a person’s sexuality. Many of these studies have found differences in the brain structure between gay and straight men. These studies have also been reproduced which I see as essential to their credulity. (As a side comment they have determined that studying the brains of women is not a dependable because women are more flexible in their sexuality and thus though claiming to be lesbians are not. Reasons for this include that lesbianism is more socially acceptable because it is often seen as a turn-on for many straight men.)

So I am left asking myself; how can something that is not the choice of the person be a sin? How can their love be a sin?

I have read certain Christian scientific work and I find it severely lacking and relying instead on the concept that animals are not gay. However, this is an unfair comparison since animals mate on instinct humans love, the love you have for fellow man, friends, family, and spouse is a special gift from God. John Paul II in his writings said the enjoyment of sex in marriage is a gift from God. I agree with that.

However, I also know there is enjoyment of sex is not contingent on marriage. I don’t need a book to tell me that. However only three animals in the world have been found to enjoy sex and to have sex outside of mating season, those are chimpanzees, dolphins and bonobos (bonobos mate with all member of their social groups male and female in a social bonding ritual of some kind that is still not fully understood). Also very few animals are monogamous for years and years on end the way humans are. So to compare human sexuality to that of animals shows a poor understanding of sexuality in the first place.

Now, on to the second section of this document. IT IS ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS. I have a degree in American History with a minor in American Political Science, and I am currently studying to be an attorney. Unless you are a lawyer, my guess is that I have a better understanding of the evolution of civil rights, what they are preciously, and how they are applied.

When Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, in some states it was still illegal for a black man to marry a white woman. I am just saying that to add some perspective to my argument.

I do not know how much you know about tenancy by the entirety and right of survivorship. It is a special type of property ownership between a husband and wife; marriage sis an essential element for its establishment. In T&E situations both spouse enjoy the right of the full property because they are seen as one. When one dies, the entirety of the property passes to the survivor in the form of a fee simple absolute. When this happens the government cannot tax the property. This is not the law in all states, but in many of the states in which this is the law, it does not apply to gay couples, therefore they have to pay taxes that others wouldn’t.

Too vague? In tort the ability to sue for severe emotional distress caused by the injury to a loved one is limited to those with close family relationships, often simply phrased as kindred in the restatements and statutes. In states that do not recognize civil unions of gays, a partner suffering from this type of distress cannot recover because the court will not recognize the relationship.

To vague still? Back to tort. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan enter into the house of a gay couple and tie them both up. While one watches the Klan members murder the other. They will go to jail possibly, but I though OJ would go to jail (the first time). Under tort law in many jurisdictions the surviving partner would not be able to recover in a wrongful death suit even if the couple had been together for 50 years. Why? Clearly it is a wrongful death action; there is now defense against that. However, The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows for a motion for a dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted by the court. The reason the court would be forced to accept this rule is because the state does not recognize any relationship between gay couples which is a necessary element of wrongful death suits in many cases.

There is also denial of health care benefits to a spouse of a gay person because these jurisdictions do not recognize their union.

Now I could go on for hours listing these small rights you may have never heard of. Nonetheless they are Civil Rights, maybe not the kind that are bought to mind when we think of the Black Civil Rights movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, but still no one should be deprived of them. It says so in our Constitution, just look at the 14th Amendment.

And I will retract on my previous statement concerning hate. It is a very strong word and should not have used it so lightly. In my defense though, some of your opinions are very similar to those of Fred Phelps, and a mistake can easily be made there.

What will really happen if we allow homosexuals to have civil unions? What is the consequence? We do not have to like or approve of the unions, but do we have to go to efforts to make sure they don’t exist?

Bill November 19, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Fionn, I’m going to be brief:

You asked, concerning reported differences between the physical brain anatomies of gay and straight men, “So I am left asking myself; how can something that is not the choice of the person be a sin?”

The difference in anatomy is not a sin. We don’t actually know if that difference is the cause of homosexual behavior. What is a sin is sexual activity outside of marriage. That is just as true for straight people as it is for gay people.

I would maintain that marriage is a religious institution, not a civil one. It is up to churches to define their institutions and their sacraments, not the government. Civil unions are not marriage. I don’t think anyone objects to civil unions, and in many, maybe all, states, they are legal. Partners in civil unions have rights. In your example of the couple where one is murdered, the other partner has or should have every right to sue for wrongful death. But that’s because of the fact that the couple had a civil union.

Civil union probably is a civil right. Notice the parallel in the names. Denying gay couples a church marriage is not a violation of their civil rights, first because marriage is not a civil institution, and second because the state cannot dictate to churches who shall and who shall not be eligible to receive the sacraments.

As to sin, gay men and women have the same problem as straight men and women when it comes to adultery and fornication. It’s wrong for all of us. Is that a difficult standard to live up to? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Furthermore, to the extent that it is a challenge, it is also a cross to bear, just as we were asked to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus.

Seems pretty simple to me. Even if I wasn’t all that brief. (And yes, I am well aware that “simple” does not mean “easy.” As the GySgt used to be fond of telling us, “The easy path is where they put the land mines.”)

Fionn mac Cumhaill November 19, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Technically a civil union is a civil right, unless you are a homosexual, in which case it is not. In my example the couple was barred from a civil union because of statute, a jurisdiction with a ban on gay marriage or civil unions. Ergo, there would be no right to recovery in wrongful death.

What I am talking about is denying civil unions. And by denying civil unions there is a denial of civil rights. All the Amendments that ban gay marriage also ban a civil union. The words are used to interchangeably. It is a mistake I often make, but let me explain what I mean for each:

Marriage: one of the seven Sacraments that involves a man a woman, a priest, and God.

Civil Union: AKA Common Law Marriage, AKA Court Marriage, a secular equivalent to the Sacrament of marriage that simply recognizes that the two are committed to each other for the rest of their lives and also have the same rights as those people who are married in a Church.

I am also opposed to an Amendment banning gay marriage also because different religions may allow gay marriages. Such and amendment would conflict with the First Amendment and thus the government would be intruding on religion, our most sacred right (that is why it was put first). Marriage is a religious word used by many religions, each religion should be allowed to define marriage as it sees fit.

As for sexual activity outside of marriage, that is the only choice that gay couples have if they are both Catholics because the Catholic Church won’t marry them. So though they commit a sin, I believe it is between them and God; not between anyone else, them, and God. Just as any other sin is.

In closing, in case I have been misunderstood; I do not support the Catholic Church marrying gay couples in Catholic Churches. I just do not understand why we feel the need as Catholic to vote against homosexuals having civil unions.

Matthew Warner November 20, 2008 at 12:26 am

There are too many subjects being mashed together into one conversation here.

This post was about the redefinition of MARRIAGE – not civil unions. Whether or not civil unions should even be allowed, it should be left up to each state, etc. is an entirely different conversation.

In California – the premise of this post – civil unions and any so called “rights” anybody is talking about are currently granted to homosexuals. The passing of prop 8 did not change any of that. It just recognized MARRIAGE (something entirely different) as between a man and a woman. My overall point had to do with the continued protest and deeper agenda of the homosexual movement to attack MARRIAGE – NOT to lobby for any rights they believe they should have (because in Cali they ALREADY HAVE THEM but yet they still protest).

There is no RIGHT to marriage in this country. Further, every person, regardless of sexual orientation, already has the same opportunity to marry as anyone else – that is to join in union with a member of the opposite sex in a marriage.

Whether or not the state should promote, recognize, or benefit people that choose to be in a same-sex relationship is an entirely different issue. And it is not a civil RIGHT. Nowhere in our constitution does it guarantee a right for people of the same sex to be joined in a union recognized by benefits from the state. To characterize it as a “right” is false – I don’t care how many lawyers say otherwise.

And I believe all of the parallels that people try to draw between this issue and racial issues of the past are insulting. They are ENTIRELY different. Racial issues concerning marriage and other injustices stemmed from the fact that Blacks were not recognized as PEOPLE or were treated as lesser people!

We can’t just go around calling everything a group of people in our country really want to do a “right.”

The majority of Americans have spoken and decided that it is not good for our society to promote, recognize and give benefits to same-sex couples. This is because we believe it will be overall bad for our society. Because we’re a free country people are still allowed to be in same-sex couples. But we don’t want to encourage it because we believe it to be unhealthy for our country. This is not a denial of any “right.” That’s just how some like to refer to it so that they can get judges to force the issue against our will. There are many bad things in our society that we ALLOW. But the government chooses NOT to encourage or promote those things because they are not good for our society.

We can debate whether or not same-sex unions are good or bad for our society. And we can leave it up to the states to decide how they want to recognize such things (as our constitution was setup). But it doesn’t have to do with any federal civil “rights.”

Matthew Warner November 20, 2008 at 12:44 am

Also, Fionn, a Catholic can not “loyally disagree with the Church on that dogma”. By definition of being a Catholic you agree with EVERY dogma of the Catholic Church. That’s basically what defines being a Catholic. There are some issues that are not dogma or considered part of the universal magisterium of the Church that we CAN disagree on. Gay “marriage” is not one of them.

And I would encourage you to really read what happened in the Galileo “incident”. (Good write up here) The idea that the Catholic Church is scared of the “s word” (science) as you put it shows an unfamiliarity of the Catholic Church and its history. The Catholic Church has been one of the biggest fans and contributors to science in the history of mankind. All of the teachings of the Church are consistent with science. After all – science (reason) and faith work together to discover truth. This is a fundamental belief of being Catholic. I think you might be delightfully surprised at how scientific the Catholic faith is if you give it a little harder look.

ANd it takes very seriously all of the scientific advances concerning homosexuality and any other thing. But as Bill stated, that doesn’t change the theology of our bodies or the morality established by God. It just gives us, as all of our imperfections and challenges in life do, some obstacles to overcome. Just because some seem harder (like homosexuality) does not mean we should give in and just say that it’s “ok”.

Fionn mac Cumhaill November 20, 2008 at 1:22 am

In this post I address the first issue raised by Matthew.

There is a right to marriage in this country. It was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Loving v Virginal. It was not the direct issue of the case but it is stated in the dicta of the majority opinion as well as the concurring opinion authored by Justice Stuart. Just because it is not in the Bill of Rights does not mean that it is not a Civil Right.

Under our system of government rights can be established by rulings of the Supreme Court of each state and that of the nation. It has been so since the Constitution was written.

And if you want to argue it is not in the constitution still, I will then start arguing with you about why the whole Bill of Rights does not apply to state governments. (Originally the Bill of Rights as we know it and take for granted only applied to the Federal government. States could violate all those rights and often did. It was not until the process of selective incorporation began in the 20th century that the states were forced to abide by the Bill of rights).

And yes we can call everything a group of people want to do a right, unless it is illegal. That is how our system of government is set up. If there is no law against your activity it is your right to do it.

As for your majority of Americans who have spoken, it is not a majority. Most respected polls show the number of people opposed to gay marriage and civil unions to be at 49% as of 2003. A majority would be 51%.

I think there is a misunderstanding of what rights truly are in this forum.

Fionn mac Cumhaill November 20, 2008 at 1:40 am

In this post I address the second issue raised by Matthew.

I appreciate your link summarizing a brief history of the controversy of Galileo and the Church. Having read several books on Galileo prior to now and written a thesis on the subject, I will say that is perhaps the worst and most biased rendition of the story I have ever read. I wish there was a more respectful way to say that but there is not.

The paper does not address how the Jesuits were persecuted for their free thinking with regards to science or the fact that John Paul II in 1979 to finally officially cleared Galileo’s name. His writings were still on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum when it was abolished by Paul VI (in 1966).

Bruno’s writings are now taught at Catholic Universities (I know I attend one) and even though the Catholic Church burned him at the stake. (I believe there is now a monument to him on that exact spot).

And as for loyally disagreeing, I will do so till I die. I would give my life for the Church; my family has in the past when they fought for Catholic rights against the British. My family still maintains exile status from Ireland after we were forced to flee persecution. The blood of my forefathers was spilled for the right to worship; I think that earns us the right to loyally disagree.

Catholic debating pro-life April 24, 2010 at 10:46 pm

If you disagree with a teaching of the Magisterium, you are believing a heresy. This is enough to get you denied Holy Eucharist.

Matthew Warner November 20, 2008 at 8:41 am

Fionn – Ultimately Galileo was persecuted for stepping over his bounds as scientist and into the realm of theology. The Church’s job is to defend matters of faith and morals and Galileo took those matters into his own hands in defiance of the Church by insisting on his own interpretations of scripture and Church teaching. This is where he got himself in trouble – NOT simply because he came up with a new scientific theory (which, by the way, was ultimately wrong anyway). He also got in trouble because he was insisting that Heliocentrism was total and absolute truth without proof instead of just proposing it as a scientific theory – something that is arguably un-scientific in itself.

But YES, leaders in the church at the time reacted way too harshly (although most accounts from what I’ve read are very exaggerated from reality) and that was very wrong. That is why JPII apologized and “cleared [Galileo’s] name.” Regardless, it is a total mis-characterization to portray the Church as against science by pointing to Galileo – as you tried to do. Not only does it show a lack of historical context of the Catholic Church and its participation in the advancement of science (arguably more than any other organization in the world) but it misses the underlying primary issues of the Galileo incident itself.

And I’d love to read your thesis on it, would you mind sending me a copy?

And I respect your family’s dedication to the Church in the past and your continued dedication today. But whether that happened or not you still have the right to disagree. But I believe it’s a contradiction to say that you are a faithful or “loyal” Catholic when you are dissenting on dogma of the Church. If you meant that you are loyal in other ways to the Church, that is fine. But that’s different than being a loyal Catholic. So maybe I just misunderstood you.

And on the other stuff: Maybe my use of the word “right” was confusing or inconsistent. I’m sorry about that. I did emphasize that homosexuals have every right to be couples because our country is FREE and protects that. Our constitution protects that because it ultimately is a “negative” document – limiting the power of government and leaving the rest to us and the states. WHen I was speaking in this context I was speaking in terms of federal rights – not state. But I don’t believe we have a “right” to extra-constitutional benefits or protections from the government. That is outside the limited powers of the federal government and is not a “right” found in our federal constitution. But THAT is what those trying to redefine “marriage” are advocating – that they do so based on a “right”. In this sense, i do not believe it is a “right” to be granted these things from the government. And when a State passes a law (like prop 8 ) that defines marriage as between a man and a woman (making gay marriage ILLEGAL), they appeal to some “right” to gay marriage. That right does not exist (and you even admit above that something is a right, unless it is ILLEGAL).

And when speaking in terms of majority you are mixing numbers and terms again. Every poll i have seen shows that Americans want Marriage to be between a man and a woman and are against gay “marriage.” If you want to talk about civil unions, as I mentioned above, that’s an entirely different debate. And some states have shown they support civil unions, like in California where homosexual couples are afforded all the same benefits as married couples. But even in California, one of the most liberal states in the country, they confidently just passed Prop 8 which protects marriage as between a man and a woman and codifies a protection to prevent gay marriage from being legal.

Can you please provide the “respectable poll” you are citing that shows a majority of people in our country support gay “marraige” (not just civil unions)?

Catholic debating pro-life April 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm

It really shouldn’t matter what the majority of people support-if the majority of British people believe Sherlock Holmes to be real, that does not make him real. In the same way, if the majority of people believe marriage means “a union between ANY couple, regardless of sex” is the real definition, that does not make it the real definition.

I’m all for civil rights for homosexuals, and I have no problem if homosexuals want to form a civil union, but it is impossible for homosexuals to get married. It’s just as impossible to, as I said earlier, create an equilateral triangle that isn’t equiangular, or have 2+2=5. No matter how much you want it to be, it just isn’t true.

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