Why are Catholics against gay marriage?

Marriage in the Catholic Church requires the ability to have sexual intercourse

There is a narative in the secular media that the Catholic Church is "anti sex". However, the Church places sex at the core of marriage. There is no such thing as a Catholic marriage unless the couple can have intercourse. The couple does not necessarily have to be fertile, but they have to have intercourse for a valid sacramental marriage. Without intercourse the two cannot be "one flesh", and that is what marriage is.

This requirement of having intercourse is true for all people seeking to have a marriage recognized by the Church, regardless of gender or sexual identification. Two people of the same gender cannot have intercourse, although there may be unhealthy attempts to simulate it. Sexual activity between two men is not intercourse. Neither is the sexual activity between two women. Therefore, there can be no marriage in the Church. There are other reasons why people of the same gender cannot be married, but this makes it a non-starter.

What about non-sacramental marriages?

Laws come and go through history. The Church honours "just laws" that are in accordance with the moral order. The Church considers sex between two people of the same gender "intrisically disordered". There are many reasons for that covered in the article why the Catholic Church says "no" to gay sex?

The Catholic Church is not setting aside homosexuality as a special kind of "yucky" sin. There are are all kinds of expressions of human sexuality which are unhealthy (sex before marriage, masturbation, contraception, etc.). The Church asserts that the negative reprocussions of acting out sexually, are not limited to "card carrying Catholics". If something is physically, emotionally or spiritually unhealthy, then it affects anyone who does it.

The Church as an institution and Catholics as individuals are entitled to free speech

Every institution, and every person, has the the natural right to speak freely and to influence the discourse of society. Catholics believe that God is real, and we think he has an opinion about all kinds of things, including our sexual behaviour. We think the laws of God's universe are more binding than the laws of man. Natural law does not change just because man says so.

The Church has always taught that Catholics are not obliged to stay silent when their government is enacting legislation that negatively affects society, and also interferes with the mission of the Church which is to bring the Truth to as many people as possible. Those rights have quickly erroded, and the gay marriage issue is the spearhead of that persecution. There are many secular groups which are trying to force the Church to change its position on human sexuality and gender. It would follow that the Church should be able to propose its vision for a healthy society in return. In an open society, ideas should be able to compete.

Is there a diversity of opinion in the gay community about marriage?

Masha Gessen, a journalist and author who campaigns for same sex marriage, made the following comments last May in Australia on a panel at the Sydney Writer’s Festival. She said:

Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist...

One of the most popular gay blogs "Joe my God" said:

... a 1996 study by gay researchers Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen reportedly concludes that "the cheating ratio of ‘married’ gay males, given enough time, approaches 100%." The Maine Marriage Alliance does note that this "outside sexual activity" occurs by agreement, but really, so what?

The gay paper, Xtra, interviewed the queer community about why there are so few gay marriages:

Why most Canadian gays and lesbians are choosing not to marry
MARRIAGE / Too many risks, few incentives
Xtra Jillian Deri /Vancouver / Thursday, September 25, 2008

Expand for full quote

Why most Canadian gays and lesbians are choosing not to marry

"...same-sex marriage is a radical act....it's an assimilationist strategy...For anti-assimilationists, same-sex marriage represents a reform movement that seeks to prove that queers are 'just like everyone else.' But many of us are not like everyone else - and unapologetically so.

...Many queers worry that the cultural adoption of same-sex marriage will lead to a domestication of queer culture.... But does our vibrant queer culture depend on marginality? Hopefully not. And, as Dan Savage has pointed out, marriage rarely meant monogamy for hets, so why would it make us sexually exclusive? 

... queers have a distance from which to critique it [marriage], as well as freedom to create the relationships we want....owning property or having a pet is more of a commitment than a marriage...we have built cultures and communities independent of the straight world, developing and adopting our own creative alternatives: chosen families, open relationships, multi-parent families and domestic partnerships, just to name a few...

...Because we have all the same rights and responsibilities as common-law partners that we would have if we married, there is no need to marry," she says ... in Canada, common-law couples, gay or straight, are entitled to survivor benefits, post-breakup financial support, input into partner care, family and medical leave, adoption opportunities, immigration sponsorship and inheritance rights. ...

...Gay lawyer Ken Smith points to another disincentive to legalize vows. With marriage rights come obligations; you can't opt in or out at will....

...Many queers regard marriage as an oppressive patriarchal institution and have no interest in participating in it," findlay notes. "My partner and I, for example, decided that we would not marry unless there was an important political reason to do so. As my partner says, 'We've been living in sin for too long to change now!'"

...I believe that the more progressive political approach is for the individual to be the basis of social organization instead of the couple...A culture that values the individual instead of the couple as the base unit would offer more support for singlehood and single parenting, for starters...I'd like to see more information, resources and support for all forms of relationships: single, polyamorous, coupled, friendship, chosen family or whatever our queer hearts can dream up."

Gender as a Mr. Potatohead game

Many advocates of same sex marriage think of gender as a sort of "Mr. Potato Head" game where the core of all people is the same and only the body parts are different. They are working hard to reshape the way modern culture considers gender, and with the backing of mainstream media and some heart breaking individual stories like Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner, they are changing that narrative.

We can deny the truth, but we cannot change it. Most psychologists affirm that men and women are different to the core. The Church calls this a "natural complementary". In the realm of molecular science we see this playing out. Subatomic particals are made of positive and negative charges. Ions, electrons, and all matter, are built on this complementary. We could see it as kids when we played with magnets. It is part of God's fingerprint on creation.

Was marriage simply a legal convenience introduced in medieval times?

Some advocates for same sex marriage say "civil" marriage was introduced in medieval times simply as a way to divide up property and that it had nothing to do with Church. The history of "civil" marriage is more complex than that. It was intimately related to the Church and the teaching of Christ. Jesus talked about marriage as based on love 2000 years ago, its not just a social arrangement. A hundred years ago the Catholic Encyclopedia addressed the proposal that historically marriage has been open, and effectively demonstrated the theory as a late artifact of wishful thinking on the part of revisionists.

Official civil unions were introduced in the colonial period and they included prayers. The Council of Trent officially instituted marriage as a Sacrament in the 1500's but Jesus instituted marriage himself 15 centuries earlier and Christians in the Church followed it from that time forward (Mat 19:5, Mark 10:7). Catholics believe marriage is a religious concept designed by God before any government existed, before any law of man had been written. Marriage is God's idea. Catholics believe it is not for us as humans to tamper with. The word "Marriage" appears all over the New Testament (Mat 22:30, 24:38, Mk 12:25, Lk 2:36, 17:27, 20:34-35, 1 Co 7:38, 2 Co 11:2, 1 Ti 4:3, Heb 13:4, Rev 19:7, 19:9) and it is clearly drawn out as a relationship between one man and one woman. We cannot get around that without throwing out the Bible as "hate" literature, which is exactly what gay M.P. Svend Robinson tried to do. "God forgive him. He knows not what he is doing." (Lk 23:34)

Isn't gay marriage like inter-racial marriage?

Some people think that banning gay marriage is just like banning interracial marriage. The difference is that affirming interracial marriages affirms the institution of marriage, allowing gay marriage redefines marriage. Gender is not the same as colour. A black man has essentially the same physical makeup as a white man; he the same reproductive system, and he can make children with a white female. They still "fit together" and become the same flesh. They can have intercourse, which is the basic requirement for marriage. That is not true of two people of the same gender. Switching colours is not the same as switching genders.

"My gay marriage won't affect your straight marriage"

John Lennon had no belief in God, but when he wrote "I Am the Walrus", showed that he understood we are one and we all affect each other.

I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together

Gay marriage affects everybody, including married straight people. Public school students are taught against the teachings of their parent's faith. Kids of gay marriages influence the belief systems of Catholic kids. The concept of marriage is weakened and vulnerable to another assault that Catholics cringe to think about - polygamy. This is already on the radar of many activists. Gay marriage is also part a wider movement to marginalize, and in some cases persecute, Christians.

It is simply not true that gay marriage doesn't affect others.

The law about gay marriage does not change the truth about marriage. It is just a kind of collective denial.

Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.