A Catholic's Opinion on the Marriage Amendment: Vote No

As all Catholics know, the Church is not a monolith, nor is it a dictatorship. There are many different opinions. Here's a dissent from the official opinion.

Recently, after Sunday Mass at my Catholic Church in Minneapolis, I was visiting with a fellow usher, and the visiting Priest came by for a donut and coffee.

My friend, like me a retired long-married man with children, asked the visiting Priest about the biblical history of the apparent injunction against homosexual relationships. The Priest said that this law was basically based on the reprehensible practice in war, then, where the victor took license to rape the vanquished.

Of course, this rape was usually imposed victorious male warrior on vanquished male warrior.

It certainly had nothing to do with love.

In asking my friend to verify my recollection of the conversation, he mentioned this in addition: “You are totally correct. My Lutheran minister neighbor also told me the Bible orders women who are menstruating to sit on the roof until clean. Further, the Good Book says that if a woman’s husband dies, the man’s brother is to marry her.

Same sex marriage issues are also on the ballot in Washington state, Maryland and Maine. If same sex marriages win in these states Minnesota will be at a competitive disadvantage in attracting and keeping talented people who are gay or lesbian. These people will have a reason, a mighty big reason to settle in any of these other states.”

Of course, this small story will not convince the true believers, led by the hierarchy of my own Catholic Church, that their position is not authoritative. Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune had an excellent column about the abuse of the term “natural law” when talking about things authoritatively.

Personally, I have long been engaged in family history study, and back in the 1990s a genealogist in Montreal sent me a copy of the marriage contract for my first Bernard ancestors in Quebec, in the year 1730.

Of course, at that time, if you came to Quebec you were Catholic, and thus, if you entered into a civil marriage contract — which was apparently required by the state prior to the church nuptials — you were also  required to be married in the Roman Catholic Church. The Civil Contract was necessary for Civil needs; the religious banns were separate and subsequent.

In the case of my ancestors, the Church matrimony came two weeks after their Civil Contract.

I have long been intrigued by this civil contract, and rather than interpreting it, here is the contract in its entirety (the first page is a sample of the handwriting of the notary – just scroll to the translation which begins on page two): Quebec Marriage Cont001

At the very least, it is an interesting commentary of the relationship between Church and State in a place where there was only one sanctioned Church, and thus a single sanctioned belief.

Of course, 2012 Minnesota is not 1730 Quebec (nor is 2012 Quebec anything like its predecessor 282 years ago.)

I urge a no vote on this and the other amendment on Tuesday.

I’ve expressed my opinion to my Church leadership, that regardless of how the vote goes on Tuesday, the Catholic Church has been irrevocably damaged by the actions of its mean-spirited authoritarian leaders.

I won’t drop out, but this issue has certainly changed my feeling about this Church of mine.

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Tom Nelson November 05, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Mike, I know it is hard to believe, but your opinion is no more important than anyone else's, It's comical that you think your belief system is superior to all of us common folk. Your ego is out of control...
Mike L November 05, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Okay, glad that we now all understand that it is your religion. Phew!
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Judge not lest ye be judged
Doug G November 05, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Thanks for mocking my religion Mike. I guess tolerance only works in one direction. #doublestandard
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Once again a liberal (Beth Ann) refers to the amendment as "hateful".... i.e. unless you agree with her you are a HATER! Even funnier is STW's comment that states "I want my church out of politics, and politics out of my religion."........ except of course when it means a Politician (politics) telling her Pastor (religion) that the Pastor must go against the beliefs of his church and marry a same sex couple under penalty of laws and fines. So predictable....
Mike L November 05, 2012 at 01:33 AM
How am I mocking "YOUR" religion? I'm just glad you clarified it was yours.
Doug G November 05, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Right... Mike you had a rough night. You better go to bed. You have a long day tomorrow bashing people's religious beliefs.
Mike L November 05, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Please quote my bashing. Quit acting like a victim here.
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Kevin, the amendment is hateful because it targets one group of Minnesotans with the goal of keeping them from marrying the people they love.
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Beth-Ann they already can't marry the person they love. The amendment has nothing to do with it. The amendment simply puts the eventual decision in the hands of the people rather than the courts or politicians. Would you support a civil union if it granted same sex couples EVERY RIGHT a married couple has? Are you aware there are no civil unions allowed in Minnesota either? If you would NOT support a civil union rather than a marriage for a same sexed couple, please state why not (assuming the civil union would bestow all the same rights that a marriage bestows.
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 02:23 AM
KS, would you accept a civil union for your most personal cherished relationship? If it's good enough for you, then it is good enough for a civil relationship between our fellow citizens who happen to be gay. If it's not good enough for you, it's not good enough for them. You might enjoy the following clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8F0XFp9H8A&feature=BFa&list=PLVo18XcWcTZU8-Ps1p4ZzOTF8dtCK7_Vj
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Beth yes I would accept a civil union which would bestow all the same rights enjoyed by married couples before I would attempt to change the definition of the term millions of people have come to know as defining their opposite sex union. How do you feel about the French deciding the words mom and dad will no longer be used? They are now referring to them as parent 1 and parent 2 (which will allow for parent 3, 4, 5 and so on) ... seems pretty silly doesn't it? By the way... I wonder if parent 2 in a certain relationship is a female and parent 2 in another same sex relationship happens to be a male, will the parent 2 in the first example be offended that they are designated as parent 2 and not parent 1?
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 02:57 AM
KS Feel free to petition the legislature for civil unions for all couples wishing to share their happily ever afters together. As soon as you change your status and all the other laws so that civil unions are just like marriage, then I am sure Minnesota's gay couples will be right behind you at the courthouse to be unioned. I think it may be simpler to keep marriage out of the constitution (It's been working just fine that way for 150 years) and to vote NO on Tuesday. Then we can continue the statewide dialogue with our legislature and decide together what comes next.
Dick Bernard November 05, 2012 at 03:02 AM
My goodness, KS, you do take a giant leap. But that's your right. I don't know if you're Catholic or not, and if you are, where you stand on this issue, or others. This morning after Mass a lady was handing out a "vote no" flier from a group I'd heard of before but really never looked up: http://c4me.org/. I stand by the "mean-spirited" comment. And as I did this morning, I'll continue to participated in this Church, and working for positive change in it.
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Unfortunately the term marriage already has a definition which is why its incumbent on your side to change it. Is there something you don't like about the eventual decision being decided by the majority of your fellow citizens rather than judicial activists or politicians seeking to curry favor?
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Absolutely! Tyranny of the majority is not a part of this country's heritage. The judicial branch exists for several reasons one of them is to protect the rights of the minority. We do not govern by plebiscite in this country and amendments are a pretty ham-handed tool for making simple civil laws.
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Clearly we won't agree. No point in continuing.
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 04:41 AM
"Your vote NO on Tuesday will NOT make gay marriage legal. It will NOT force your church to perform gay weddings. It will NOT cause your hetero marriage to fall apart. It will NOT force schools to teach children about "being gay". And it will NOT make it okay for a man to marry 12 women. And nothing will EVER make it OK for me to marry my dog or you to marry your horse. Your YES vote, however, will forever codify discrimination into the state constitution and pave the way for further erosion of your rights. It's a step backwards in time --- to when it was illegal for inter-racial couples to marry. To when it was illegal for women to vote. To when it was legal to own slaves. We've been there, done that as a society. We should be forever progressing forward as a nation. If your reason for voting YES is because of your religion, I urge you to set that aside because we can't write OUR religion into the constitution unless we're willing to do it for EVERYONE. And I pledge that I will fully respect your right as a religious person to only perform rites for people who ascribe to your particular dogma. I only hope that your beliefs allow for the same tolerance and acceptance."
JP Burnsville November 05, 2012 at 03:02 PM
The State of California is beset with a myriad of problems, and many analysts believe it proceeds from the practice of governing by referendum which is so popular in that state. The true democratic (small d) way of governance is to elect representatives to pass legislation and for the executive and judicial branches , as ordained by both the state and federal constitutions, to do their part and enable(or not with a veto) and vet that legislation. This allows the current electorate to have its way and allows for a consensus of current opinion to become law. In 10 years if the public changes its mind (or in two years) it has its chance to re elect the governor or legislators and change the laws. Governing by referendum is a fools game, and the State of California is paying for it , one hopes this state which has always had reasonable governance will avoid this trend. I am voting No on both referendums not only due to my personal beliefs, but because this method of governance is flawed and should be shown for what it has become, one party's method to gin up its base by promoting a wedge issue.
JP Burnsville November 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Exactly, well put Beth-Ann. Of all the branches the judicial has the ability to encompass the past and the future. Were that not the case, we would have separate schools, bus seating and water fountains for people in much of the Old South.
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Funny it's not the Right advocating for the abolishing of the electoral college..it's the Left. And let's not forget having Obamacare rammed down our throats via reconcilliation against the will of 64% of the people who thought the issue ended when Scott Brown was elected but later realized the Dems would do ANYTHING to get their way. I am not an advocate for majority rule, but I am certainly not an advocate for a government that rules without the consent of the people. As far as same sex marriage not affecting religious institutions, tell that to the Catholic church in Massachusetts who were forced to abandon facilitating adoptions because they would not abandon their teaching in order to comply with state rules requiring placing children with same-sex couples. As I stated earlier, we will not agree. You argue your points very well but I am comfortable with my decision.
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 04:15 PM
KS, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. In Massachusetts Catholic Charities accepted state subsidies for adoption of children in need. Over the years they successfully placed children for adoption with same sex couples. A diocesan decision was made to no longer place children with same sex parents. Because of this Catholic Charities was no longer eligible for state funding of their work and closed their adoption program rather than seek alternate funding.
Kevin Schuyler November 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM
"A diocesan decision was made to no longer place children with same sex parents. Because of this Catholic Charities was no longer eligible for state funding of their work and closed their adoption program rather than seek alternate funding."
Beth-Ann Bloom November 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
In other words tax dollars were not given to Catholic Charities to promote their religious views just as they were not given to Mormon temples and Islamic mosques for their outreach efforts. Freedom of religion is free but does not come with a government subsidy.
Joyce November 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
KS, if same sex marriage is legalized in Minnesota, it would apply ONLY to civil marriages; no one can require a pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, minister, whatever, to officiate at a marriage that goes against his or her religious beliefs. I am absolutely certain of this because of the example of current laws: interfaith marriage is legal, yet no priest or pastor can be required to officiate at an interfaith marriage; civil divorce has long been legal, yet the Catholic church is not required to recognize divorce. If same sex marriage is legalized here, then only religious groups that want to recognize same sex marriages (Jews, Episcopalians, some Lutherans) will officiate at such marriages; Catholics, conservative Christians will not be required to go against their beliefs.
Joyce November 05, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Civil marriage does, indeed, have a definition: it is a legally binding contract between two consenting adults who are not already close relatives. Allowing same sex couples to enter into the exact same legal contract does not in any way alter the definition of marriage.
Joyce November 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
The Catholic church was not forced to abandon facilitation adoptions; the adoption agencies affiliated with the church were simply told they would lose taxpayer subsidies if they continued to flout the law and discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Church affiliated adoption agencies continue to have the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but taxpayer subsidies for discrimination are not guaranteed by the Constitution.
STW November 05, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Emancipation Proclamation was too rammed down the throats of the majority. History shows many times that the majority isn't always right. As for the ACA, anytime the GOP wanted to help make ACA better, they were more then welcomed. Instead, they choose to be obstructionist. A tool they used and use to get elected, and re-elected. And as for the church, you should be more concerned about their lies and misleading ads. You expect this from politicians, but should we except this from our church?
STW November 05, 2012 at 06:52 PM
KS, I mean what I wrote. You can tell me that I'm not Catholic enough, or that I am a fake Catholic, or worse, that I am a "Cafeteria Catholic" because I support a few DFL candidates, and that I don't support the marriage amendment. And I believe birth control is wise (96% of Catholic's do), that's ok. But that's what I mean when I say I don't want the church telling me how to vote, and I sure don't want the government legislating the religious beliefs of the church. I remember a long time ago, right around Easter, The priest at our church was talking about "Poinsettias", and "Easter Lilies" (people that only go to church during Christmas, and Easter), He was talking about how he heard those names, and thought how mean they sounded. Instead the only words he wanted to use was "Welcome". I think he knew that if people weren't welcomed, they didn't stay. Right now the Catholic church is not welcoming people in, instead they are pushing the people away. Numbers are dwelling.
George C Weyer November 05, 2012 at 07:45 PM
From: GCW Over the years I have had many discussions with Dick while I drink my coffee at Caribou. Dick and disagree on a number of things. Our differing views on education is one of the topics. Dick has never called me "a mean spirited, racist biggotted homophobe. Note- many of the most democratic countries in the world require a civil ceremony for a marriage to be valid. for example, Norway and Uruguay. I have always thought this should be required also. In these countries any religious ceremony from jumping the broom to a huge church wedding is optional. These religious ceremonies and who can participate is up to the religion. That is freedom of religion.


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