I recently heard a presentation by William B. May, the chairman of Catholics for the Common Good, an organization dedicated to the evangelization of culture. Among other things, they are actively involved in promoting marriage and family. That was what the presentation was all about.
This group is doing important work and deserves your attention and support. A book will be published soon (entitled Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: a guide for effective dialogue) with all the details about the proper way to promote marriage in our society.
They do not get embroiled in arguments over the morality of “same-sex marriage,” refusing even to use the term “marriage” for anything except, well, marriage! They also don’t, for the sake of political debates on the subject, use religious language or appeal to the Catholic faith (though there is, of course, a place for this). All they do is present facts that can be verified in debates with secular opponents. The goal in explaining the necessity of true marriage for the good of society (besides all the obvious good it is in itself) is to prevent the redefinition of marriage that many are trying to get enshrined in law. The point is that marriage cannot be redefined and still be marriage. They have to call it something else. So once you know what marriage really is, the “gay” issue simply drops out. N/A.
The basic fact is that marriage is a family-centric institution, “the only institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union. That is what marriage is; that is what marriage does.” What is nowadays being presented as a definition of marriage, which allows for different types of lifestyles and relationships is this: “marriage is merely the public recognition of a committed relationship between loving adults.”
Catholics for the Common Good (CCG) chooses to look at marriage from the perspective of the children and their rights. Some questions they ask: “Does a child have a fundamental human right to know and, as far as possible be cared for, by his or her mother and father? Does anyone have a right to create children with the intention of depriving them of their moms, dads, or both? Considering the consequences of marriage breakdown re: poverty and other social conditions, does government and other institutions have an obligation to promote marriage?”
Evidently the government answers “no” to the last one. A US Justice Department legal brief contains this: “The government does not contend that there are legitimate government interests in ‘creating a legal structure that promotes the raising of children by both of their biological parents.’”
All the CCG wants to do is get people to look at the reality of what marriage is, and not merely use popular opinion or subjective criteria for redefining something that has only one possible definition.
Children have a right to be born into a real family. CCG puts the reality this way: “A man and a woman first choose to make themselves irreplaceable to each other in marriage. This prepares them to receive life as a gift, because marriage starts the circle of irreplaceability that we call the family.” Parents are not interchangeable; the family is a natural community, not a voluntary or arbitrary one.
They give a lot of statistics that demonstrate how society functions much better when marriages are healthy and children are raised by their own (married) parents. I’m just skimming a few points from the top here, but a careful reading of their literature shows that their position is well-reasoned and that anything but the promotion of true marriage and its benefits spells disaster for society. They also offer information for pastoral approaches and the spiritual and theological dimensions, but these generally can’t be effectively used when arguing the case in the public square, where legislative and judicial issues are being debated.
So I recommend you look over their site and arm yourself with the facts, with reasonable arguments (you can obtain tracts with the basic points clearly explained). Anecdotal evidence and political slogans and emotional tirades just muddy the issue, which should be based on fact and principle. The effort to maintain and promote marriage will only succeed when people can see the truth clearly and realize what countless people have known for millennia: “Marriage is the only institution that unites children with their moms and dads.” No alternative arrangement does this, and no other arrangement can adequately benefit parents, children, and society.
[Please pray that California governor Jerry Brown will veto a bill that has passed both houses, which will allow the possibility of a child having three legal parents (he has to decide this week, but his record isn't encouraging; he just signed into law a bill making contraceptives easier to obtain: "It allows registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives to dispense the pill, patches and rings"). The three-parent bill is just another way of promoting the gay agenda and further disfiguring the meaning of holy matrimony. If this is signed into law, it will set a precedent for other states, and the moral chaos will only get deeper. For a clear and insightful article on this issue, click here.]