Marriage Equality for Gays and Lesbians

Posted by admin_waci2, With 0 Comments, Category: Church News, Church Reform, Latest News, LGBT, Marriage Equality Referendum, Synod 2015,

“Love between two persons, whether of the same sex or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected… When two persons love, they experience in a limited manner in this world what will be their unending delight when one with God in the next…  To love another, whether of the same sex or of a different sex, is to have entered the area of the richest human experience…” (Cardinal Basil Hume, Note on the Teaching of the Catholic Church Concerning Homosexual People, 1995).

Read the piece from Laurence Freeman [separate post on WAC website]


It was an natural and as simple as everything else on that happy occasion

She had learned to be comfortably intimate with herself as a lesbian, ie bieng simply present to herself and then being able to bring that self into a relationship with another.

Withdrawn, depressed - high suicide rates among young LGBTs

Assured her that their love for her was total and unconditional – for her as a whole person.

This is essential for her flourishing as to repress, to subjugate, to deny and to punish rather than to own what is real inside us is to reject the possibility of receiving grace.

For propriety’s sake

This would allow the authority of church and society trump her own conscience which is pointing her in the direction of owning the depth of her own experience and meaning, as given by God

Dismissed the idea as falsehood that would impair the whole of that special and sacred day for them

All in the context of a wedding! Coming out is not an admission of what I do sexually but an affirmation of who I am, psychologically, emotionally, romantically and spiritually. If I am outside or alienated from anything within myself, especially my own sexuality, then I will bring that same “outsidedness” into all my relationships with others. If I cannot be intimate with what is going on inside my own being, I will search in vain for an intimate “other” with whom to share my life. My capacity for creating family and community will be diminished.

What was known and accepted privately was publicly acknowledged and celebrated without repression and fear

The “sexual orientation” of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual's sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behaviour manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not publicize their sexual orientation. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc., does not usually arise. CDF 1992


Marriage…..what is it?

In down-to-earth language, marriage connects people. Marriage is a public expression, at a very profound level, of the intimacy between two people. It is a publicly celebrated declaration on the part of the couple of their investment in each other's future happiness, flourishing and mutual unfolding. By their attendance at the wedding, their relatives and friends participate in this investment. They contribute. They offer an affirmation and support which may work - perhaps invisibly - to smooth the couple's way through hardships or crises. And this support can work both ways. Marriages form networks of relationships. In an unspectacular everyday way they act as a ‘social glue’.

What Makes Marriage Work?

To understand why gay people should be allowed marry; we need to understand marriage properly. If we think about it narrowly – marriage is for rearing children – then gay marriage might seem superfluous. Or, if we buy into our ‘Luv’ culture that promises instant happiness, then marriage might seem secondary to sex and fun. One way of understanding it is to see marriage founded on loving communication that respects difference and negotiates conflicts on the basis of equality. If this communication is absent then differences are resolved through power-play, and even the most stereotypically sexually attractive couples fall out of love.

In Irish society, both implicitly and explicitly, we rank different types of relationships in a social hierarchy. Married couples with children are at the top of the social tree, with the highest status. Gay people, whether, in relationships or not, with or without children, are at the bottom. I would argue that couples without children, gay couples, and single people whether straight or gay, are equally but differently capable of showing loving communication that respects difference in their relationships. They should not be judged as defective or lacking, because they are not the same as married couples with children. Gay couples are capable of providing as much love for each other, and in society in general, as married couples. Society loses if committed relationships whether gay or straight are not supported. Therefore, gay people deserve to be given the option to marry. In a culture that seems increasingly unsympathetic to traditional marriage why isn’t the enormous compliment they are paying to that institution to be welcomed with open arms by those trying to defend it?

What is marriage for? Same-sex marriage in light of the common good

Even a cursory glance at the history of marriage reveals that the institution has a broad range of social purposes and effects. Marriage is concerned with matters such as the orderly inheritance of property, the establishment of stable and legally-recognized partnerships for raising children, the merging of clans, the forging of dynasties, and St. Paul’s acknowledgment that “it is better to marry than to burn” with sexual desire. Marriage is a matter of public health—the married enjoy longer life expectancy and better physical and mental health than the unmarried. The married are better off financially, too, and marriage entails a legally-recognized merger of responsibility and resources that stabilizes the family, especially when dependent children enter the picture. [4] In our day, marriage is also seen as a path to mutual fulfillment, a partnership of life and love, publicly witnessed in order to invite the community to support the couple in its journey together. Marriage is a normal marker of adult intimacy, responsibility and commitment, and its social recognition marks that transition in a way that cohabitation does not. Gay people want access to this too.

But the question here is civil law, not Church law. Civil marriage is available to the fertile, the infertile, the post-fertile, the sexually uninterested, and the impotent alike. Civil marriage does not require that partners seek parenthood. Surely, non-reproductive civil marriages can embody the wide array of social and personal goods of marriage for partners, just as the non-reproductive marriages we recognise in the Church do. Why would Catholics deny to same-sex couples the goods of marriage we recognize in infertile marriages within our own flock? Likewise, there has been no magisterial opposition to heterosexual civil marriages that do not meet Catholic standards for Church marriages. Why would we deny to same-sex couples the advantages we implicitly affirm by tolerating heterosexual civil marriages, that would not pass magisterial muster inside the Church?

Here is John Paul II:

“Even when procreation is not possible, conjugal life does not for this reason lose its value. Physical sterility in fact can be for spouses the occasion for other important services to the life of the human person, for example, adoption, various forms of educational work, and assistance to other families and to poor or handicapped children.” (Familiaris Consortio 14).


Would bringing in gay marriage be a very big change?

When compared to some of the major changes in marriage in Irish society, it seems quite minor – despite its importance for gay people. Marriage in Ireland has changed, as we have moved from a patriarchal and sexually repressive society to the present day. Household composition has been changing recently in Ireland. Key milestones were the change in the legal position of children born outside of marriage, especially in relation to inheritance, and also the introduction of divorce. Gay marriage is only a modest change, in comparison to these, because it directly affects only a minority. We are not seeking to redefine marriage…perhaps to refine our understanding of it to make it more inclusive.


“The vast consensus of all the studies shows that children of same-sex parents do as well as children whose parents are heterosexual in every way. In some ways children of same-sex parents actually may have advantages over other family structures.” [ Lisa Fullam article 6]

Some have made the suggestion that children of same-sex couples are deprived of the experience of having a mother or a father in the home. But if this is so, have single-sex religious communities running orphanages throughout much of Christian history been committing an injustice to the children they care for? Should the children of people who are widowed or abandoned by their spouses be removed from the care of their remaining parent for placement in two-sex foster homes? I hear no one making that repugnant suggestion. All children, regardless of what kind of family they live in should have the same supports and benefits.


To deny same-sex couples legal marriage means more than denying them a particular legal/ tax status—it denies their equal human dignity in life and love, making them outcast from the social institution that defines maturity and celebrates intimacy. It makes them second-class citizens, a situation which should be intolerable to any person of good will. It is not Catholic to discriminate. In the US Catholics poll the most favourable on lesbian and gay issues, compared to other Christian denominations.


Those who deny it - what is it they're really saying? Are they saying: Do you honestly think you're equal? Do you really think your 'relationship' measures up to my marriage?

What matters ultimately is love, not gender. The quality of the relationship is what could be moral or immoral.

And the bishops?   The Florida bishops in a recent statement stated that recognising same-sex marriages would ‘advance the notion that marriage is only about the affective gratification of consenting adults’!

Whereas Bishop Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, Dec 2014…. ‘The official teaching that the Catholic Church can recognise only male-female committed relationships has to change. The intrinsic values are more important to me than the institutional question. Personally , I find that in the church more space must be given to acknowledge the actual quality of gay and lesbian couples; and such a form of shared-life should meet the same criteria as found in an ecclesiastical marriage.’



End with Basil Hume again

“Love between two persons, whether of the same sex or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected… When two persons love, they experience in a limited manner in this world what will be their unending delight when one with God in the next…  To love another, whether of the same sex or of a different sex, is to have entered the area of the richest human experience…” (Cardinal Basil Hume, Note on the Teaching of the Catholic Church Concerning Homosexual People, 1995).

 Brian Glennon is a committee member of Gay Catholic Voice Ireland; he is Chair of the group that organises the monthly All Are Welcome Mass where LGBT persons, their parents, families and friends are welcomed particularly.


There are over 160 differences between Civil Partnership and Civil Marriage.  They are to be found on the Marriage Equality website.  Go to (one ‘e’ in the middle) click Get Informed and then The Missing Pieces and there the differences are listed under the headings

  1. The Family Home
  2. Finance
  3. Legal Procedures
  4. Administration
  5. Parent and Child
  6. Immigration
  7. Equality