After three U.S. states voted to extend the institution of marriage to same-sex couples, and a fourth refused to enshrine a ban into its constitution, and on the footsteps of Spain upholding its same-sex marriage laws and France pushing forward with theirs, the Vatican escalated Pope Benedict XVI‘s international anti-gay marriage holy war.
“In a front-page article in Saturday’s Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition,” the AP reported in The Huffington Post:
In a separate Vatican Radio editorial, the pope’s spokesman asked sarcastically why gay marriage proponents don’t now push for legal recognition for polygamous couples as well.
Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” The Vatican also opposes same-sex marriage, insisting on the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman as the foundation for society.
The AP adds:
The article insisted that Catholics were putting up a valiant fight to uphold church teaching in the face of “politically correct ideologies invading every culture of the world” that are backed by institutions like the United Nations, which last year passed a non-binding resolution condemning anti-gay discrimination.
“The church is called to present itself as the lone critic of modernity, the only check … to the breakup of the anthropological structures on which human society was founded,” it said.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi, for his part, said gays can have their rights protected by means other than through legal marital recognition. He stressed that children should have a right to say they have a father and a mother.
“If not, then why not contemplate freely chosen polygamy, and naturally so as to not discriminate, polyandry?” he asked sarcastically. Polyandry is when a woman has two or more husbands.
Noting “what’s most laughably ridiculous about the Vatican’s latest outburst against LGBT rights is that it just can’t let go of one of the oldest, dumbest arguments against them in the world,” Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams has a few thoughts for Pope Benedict:
To those who think a loving union between two people is like having a compound full of sister wives or whatever, let me humbly suggest you dial it down a bit. As Andrew Sullivan long ago pleaded, ”Spare us this bizarre point that no new line can be drawn in access to marriage — or else everything is up for grabsand, before we know where we are, men will be marrying their dogs. It is intellectually laughable.” In a Washington Post essay last month, Emory University religion and law scholar John Witte Jr. explained — using evidence and science! — that nature suggests polygamous arrangements produce “rivalry and discord in the home,” in which “children have to work hard to get attention, affection and resources which are dissipated.” He added, “Women and children of modern polygamy are often poorly educated, impoverished, and chronically dependent on welfare.” Polygamy produces scarcity and competition. Same-sex relationships don’t. Maybe that’s why there’s no huge polygamy pride parade every June.
Nobody expects the Catholic Church, with its long-standing history of fear and animosity toward gays, as well as its sneaky track record of blaming them for its own most despicable crimes, to go all rainbow flag in the imminent future. Opening hearts and changing old norms is going to take a whole lot of time and incredible effort. But it’s encouraging that here in the U.S., it was Catholics who helped push Barack Obama toward victory last week, defeating Mitt Romney by 50 to 47 percent. Catholics who believe in marriage equality – oh, and the reproductive rights of our fellow citizens.
So while here at home bishops may rail “against all forms of its weakening” matrimony, and back at the Vatican they may try to instill fear that equal rights will lead to an outbreak of harems, those of us here in the land called Reality aren’t sweating it. Frankly, if you’re looking for a reason for opposing marriage equality and the basic rights and dignity of your fellow humans, you might as well just stick with, “I don’t know, it just makes me feel icky, I guess.” Same-sex marriage doesn’t lead to polygamy. And, guess what? It doesn’t erode hetero unions either. And if you want to suggest otherwise, by all means, look up from your lazy reasoning and just try to prove it.
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