Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Whole Fabric Regarding Same-Sex Marriages/unions etc.


I begin by thanking Robby George and Michael Perry for their spirited discussion on the matter of same-sex relations.

Tonight I respond to Michael’s argument that there is a “principal magisterial argument against...”

No, Michael, there is a whole fabric of argument that must be taken into consideration. I have been criticized for trying to say too much in my postings here at the Mirror of Justice, so tonight I’ll offer a number of non-exclusive points to counter Michael’s suggestion that there is only one principal magisterial argument. Let me counter with some of them:

If same-sex unions, whatever they are called [i.e., marriage, relation, etc.] are the norm or are normative, and they are not only the paradigm but also the definition of marital relations, from where will future generations of our species come?

If the answer is: existing and developing human reproductive technologies, then, what will become of the “spare” embryos? Will they be preserved indefinitely? Will some be discarded? Will no account be given to them? Who will bear them? Will they be entrusted to some artificial laboratory substitute for a womb? Who will claim them? Will there be an obligation/responsibility to claim them? I have more questions on this issue, but these will suffice for the time being.

The juridical argument for these same-sex relations was grounded in privacy. But now that the “privacy right” has been established, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas, In re Dudgeon v. United Kingdom, why is it necessary to make the issue of “privacy” a public matter? The Church has an answer, and it is not the one suggested by those upon whom Michael relies in his contention.

Michael further relies on the work of Sister Margaret Farley, but I look forward to the Mirror of Justice discussion that has been long-awaiting regarding her work to which Michael refers. Let it suffice for me to suggest for the time being that Margaret Farley has many interesting views on “sexual ethics”, but, they are most problematic, to say the least. However, let me lift just one of her other quotations from the work that Michael relies upon to put my concern into perspective: “despite what I have said about official positions in the Roman Catholic church [sic], there are changes that should not be underestimated. Although homosexual genital actions are still judged to be intrinsically disordered, and hence ‘objectively’ immoral, they can be ‘subjectively’ moral depending on the state of mind and intentions of an individual person.” To borrow from Sister Farley, this is the tip of her “iceberg”. But much more lurks below the depths of the attraction of her superficial rationalization. I wonder what she is trying to make absolute? I think I know especially after having re-read her book to which Michael kindly directs our attention.

I also know Michael views the issue as a matter of justice. So does Sister Farley. Equality is key to how people are treated and what justice demands, so I must ask the fundamental question: how is the same-sex relation the precise equal of the heterosexual one? I, for one, do not think that it can be. See here [Download Equality and Same Sex Marriage] for my fuller response to this matter.

One issue that advocates for same-sex unions dismiss but do not counter is the complementarity-of-the-sexes question. Michael has not addressed this, but it is clear that this is an important argument to the Church’s teachings. I, for one, would like to hear what Michael has to say about this issue involving complementarity and how it is absence from same-sex relations.

For the time being, I present one more problem for Michael to consider which his last posting has teased from me. If same-sex and opposite-sex unions are the “same,” what is to prevent advocates for other kinds of unions that may involve multiple members from relying on the argument he presents? If same-sex unions are “found” to be equal, won’t it be long before advocates for other unions will be presenting their claims with “convincing” argument?


RJA sj


Araujo, Robert | Permalink

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