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Same-Sex Marriage: Archbishop Claims NY Gay Marriage Will Bring Polygamy

by David Badash on July 8, 2011

in Marriage,News,Politics,Religion

Post image for Same-Sex Marriage: Archbishop Claims NY Gay Marriage Will Bring Polygamy

Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York who ran one of the most offensive and hate-filled anti-marriage equality campaigns last month, nevertheless culminating in the passage of Governor Cuomo’s same-sex marriage equality bill, now writes that he is “worried” that the New York same-sex marriage law will lead to polygamy, infidelity, and “the churches, and believers” being “hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.”


In, “Some Afterthoughts,” Dolan’s seven-plus point diatribe on The Archdiocese of New York’s blog, Dolan goes through a veritable journey through fear and loathing in New York, Dolan runs the gamut of misplaced homophobia, and Catholic victimhood.

Curiously leaving out Mormons, Dolan infuses the battle against marriage equality with race.

“You will understand my special word of gratitude to people of faith — evangelicals, Mennonites, Jews, Moslem, Catholics, Amish, and so many more, led often by African-American and Latino believers — who simply believe that marriage is a given, at the very foundation of civilization, which the state has the duty to defend and protect, not to mutate.”

Dolan exhibits his total inability to understand that the LGBT community doesn’t want to “mutate” marriage, we merely want to participate! In the 1950s, if a black child jumped into a “whites only” swimming pool, you could see the adults recoiling in horror, but did the pool “mutate?” No. Merely the perception of it did. Same pool. Same water. Same swimmers, sans the ones so offended they decided to jump out.

Dolan throughout cites nameless friends, journalists, parishioners whom he claims all support his “facts.” If they exist, no doubt they do. But has Dolan ever bothered to have a discussion with those with whom he disagrees? A The New Civil Rights Movement writer contact Dolan and was summarily dismissed.

Perhaps this is the one that is most-offensive. Archbishop Dolan claims that the “real forces of ‘intolerance’ were unmasked here.”

“The caricature, of course, is that those defending traditional marriage were the right-wing bigots and bullies. However, as one out-of-state journalist, who was following the debate closely, commented to me, “From my read of the columns, blogs, and rhetoric, it’s not your side that’s lobbing the grenades.” A Catholic who wrote to criticize me for my defense of marriage still conceded, “But I must confess that I am sickened by the amount of anti-Catholic venom that has surfaced in this debate.” As one respected columnist has observed, the problem is not homophobia but theophobia — a hatred by some of God, faith, religion, and the Church.”

Oh, so easy to wrap one’s self in Jesus, as Dolan does when he writes earlier, “We have been bloodied, and bruised, and, yes, for the moment, we have been defeated.  But, we’re used to that.  So was the Founder of our Church.”

This “hatred,” to use the Archbishop’s word, is not of God, not of faith, but of religions who usurp the true meaning of God and faith, the true intention, and claim to know best — by excluding large portions of society from the rights and benefits God and faith promise and provide.

Does Archbishop Dolan pretend he is unaware that his partner in religious-cum-political hatred, New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz — who gleefully announced just days before the final marriage equality vote that the Archbishop had invited him to be a guest on the Archbishop’s radio show — did not attend a marriage rally during which another pastor told the attendees that gays are “worthy of death?” Did the Archbishop admonish New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz for not denouncing cries for genocide? Did the Archbishop admonish New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz for lying, using the Archbishop’s own words, to attack the gay community?

Tell me again whose acts are those of hatred?

The equation the Archbishop pretends is equal is not, not at all.

The Church has lost nothing. The stakes were, if marriage equality failed, the Church remained untouched. If marriage equality passed, the Church remained untouched. And so it has remained.

But for the LGBT community, indeed, for all who care about our constitutional democracy and about equality, the stakes were far greater. If marriage equality failed, not only would we have lost the potential to partake in one of the most-important institutions of life, but our fight nationwide would have lost major ground. Hundreds of thousands of children would continue to live with less protections and with less support, and the message to all would have been that the LGBT community isn’t important.

Does the Archbishop pretend he did not call same-sex marriage equality “unjust and immoral,” and “perilous?”

Does this win for equality change anything for the Church? Do they lose freedoms, tax benefits, parishioners, money, stature? No.

No doubt Dolan’s confidante “out-of-state journalist” was reading New York Times’ op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd at the time. Dowd wrote, “The church refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy at its heart: that it became a haven for gay priests even though it declares homosexual sex a sin, and even though it lobbies to stop gays from marrying.”

“If God and nature are so clear about what marriage is, why do the well-connected have an easier time getting the church to sunder their marriages with annulments? (Yes, we’re talking about you, Newt Gingrich.)

“In his blog, “The Gospel in the Digital Age,” Dolan invokes not just God but Orwell, denouncing the “perilous presumption of the state” in reinventing the definition of marriage, which, he says, “has served as the very cornerstone of civilization and culture from the start.”

“The Starchbishop noted with asperity that “Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America — not in China or North Korea,” where “communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ means.”

“Yeah. Not like the Vatican.

“In the same blog, Dolan snidely dismissed the notion that gay marriage is a civil right. “We acknowledge that not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a ‘right,’ ” he wrote.

“And, what about other rights, like that of a child to be raised in a family with a mom and a dad?”

“And how about the right of a child not to be molested by the parish priest?

“Dolan acts like getting married (when done by gays) is a self-indulgent act of hedonism when it’s really a leap of faith and a promise of fidelity.”

I should point out that Dolan “apologizes” to the gay community, (using the “if” apology,) saying,”if we did hurt anybody in our defense of marriage, I apologize. We tried our best to insist from the start that our goal was pro-marriage, never anti-gay.  But, I’m afraid some within the gay community were offended. As I replied recently to a reporter who asked if I had any message to the gay community, “Yes:  I love you.  Each morning I pray with and for you and your true happiness and well-being.  I am honored that so many of you are at home within our Catholic family, where, like the rest of us, we try, with the help of God’s grace and mercy, to conform our lives to Jesus and His message.  If I have offended any of you in my strenuous defense of marriage, I apologize, and assure you it was unintentional.”

Apology not accepted, because I know you would do it again, and will.

On Dolan’s post, “Some Afterthoughts,” I left the following comment.

“And now we ring the steeple bell again at this latest dilution of the authentic understanding of marriage, worried that the next step will be another redefinition to justify multiple partners and infidelity.”

Really, Archbishop? Is polygamy the law of the land now in the first state to honor marriage equality, Massachusetts – which boasts the lowest divorce rate in the U.s.? What about in Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Washington, D.C.? What about in the U.K.?
What about in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain,or Sweden, all of whom honor marriage equality?

No. Polygamy is a straw horse, a false slippery-slope argument. You have nothing to back it up.

What the Church refuses to understand is that same-sex couples want marriage for the exact same reasons opposite-sex couples do. We honor the sanctity of marriage. Why can’t you?


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MachatheReader July 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm

And the problem with polygamy is … ? What is their deal with trying to stop consenting adults from sharing their lives with each other???

NG July 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm

First cousins can legally marry in New York. I've yet to hear or see him advocate against that.

arthuride July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Jacob in the bible married his first cousins (Rachel and Leah), and Abraham claimed he married his sister Sarah. What is unbiblical? (Even King David slept his granddaughter). If the Roman Catholic Church wants to claim its bases itself on the bible, then the Roman Catholic church must accept all forms of sex–or delete Matthew 7:1 and Acts 10:24.

joannmp July 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I analyze Archbishop Dolan's aftershocks at length over at my own blog:

I explore the concept of heterosexist supremacism, and try to provide Dolan with a means to understand how his Magisterium's position is rooted deeply in misogyny. By creating an analogy to white supremacism, I try to provide a decent analogy that can guide him outside the box.

africangenesis July 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

"If marriage equality failed, not only would we have lost the potential to partake in one of the most-​important institutions of life, …."????

Why not partake in marriage without a government license? The government shouldn't be in the marriage licensing business anyway.

arthuride July 20, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Marriage did not become a celebration until after 300 BCE–before then, and in the Torah, it was a sexual rite, for "to know" meant to "be within" or "knit together". Only in quest of money did the various religions make marriage into a sacrament–one that never existed.

mrsanj July 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Oh the slippery slope, a favorite of hysterical conservatives. Today it's gay marriage, tomorrow polygamy, and by the weekend we'll all be rutting with geese and sock-puppets in the car park of Home Depot. Perhaps Bishop Timbo can console himself that he and the polygamists would actually get along famously. They both have an advanced sense of "them" and an impoverished sense of "us" – a shared sense of victimhood – an oblivious disregard for the horrific crimes of abuse that their respective religions have wrought on their long suffering sheep.

He needn't get his robes in a tangle. Here's a book about the polygamy threat to come: Secrets & Wives. Meet the neighbors, Tim. You're going to like them.

ChazFrench July 10, 2011 at 3:23 am

And so what if it does? Why is that a bad thing? Why can't we love and marry any one and as many ones as we so consensually choose?

africangenesis July 10, 2011 at 5:48 am

The "slippery slope" is a favorite of hopeful libertarians. It would be hypocritical of gay rights advocates to oppose polygamist rights. There is probably even better evidence that men are naturally polygamists than there is for the heritability of homosexuality. We should work together.

arthuride July 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Rational people support human sexuality. Polygamy is as acceptable as polygny or polyandry. Sex is sex, and it is only a part of the individual; monogamy was enforced by organized religion to control others, although most couples have been monogamous by circumstance and by choice.

arthuride July 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Timothy Dolan exposes his ignorance of the Bible he claims he follows. (1) The Old Testament is a book where the family is composed of a husband and no less than two wives, although Solomon had 700 and 300 concubines, (2) The New Testament shows only the marriage celebration that included wine, yet if it were a sacrament why did Jesus never marry–nor have a girl friend (only Peter married, but he avoided his wife; the Roman Catholic church claimed that the apostles had wives only 200 years after Jesus died–not before–in an effort to instill the unnatural sex act of celibacy among its lecherous priests and predatorial popes:… or…. How can anyone this uninformed be an archbishop? He distorts reality easily

joeytranchina February 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Polygamy, good.
The rape of children, bad.

Much of the world is polygamous.
Most of the Muslim world is polygamous.
Most Muslims are not polygamous.

Americans have a view of the Catholic Church that is far to provincial. I advise reading the Irish press to understand the depths of the outrage at the sexual sickness that is embedded in the Roman Catholic Church.

Having lived in a polygamous Muslim country, I have no problem with polygamy. I have a huge problem with a representative of the purple-robed predator-class of the corrupt church that has covered up for the rape and abuse of children around the world. Who is this presumptively celibate prelate to impose his questionable morals on a free country? As far as I'm concerned, he's a nobody who speaks for nothing that is admirable to me.

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