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“Gay Marriage”: New York’s Latest Love Canal

Acrimonious and bitter is the fight in America about giving legal approval to gay and lesbian sexual activity.  Polarization about putting same-sex unions on a par with traditional marriage pits members of New York City’s elite against one another.  Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he was “very disappointed, very saddened and very worried” by the legislative passage of the bill.  Whereas the city’s mayor, billionaire secularist Michael Bloomberg, rejoiced as he marched in Manhattan’s Gay Pride parade waving the movement’s rainbow flag.  Marching at his side was Governor Andrew Cuomo – renegade Catholic, divorced and parading with his live-in girlfriend.  Meanwhile across the East River, Nicholas Dimarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, expressed the chagrin felt by loyal Catholics:

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have deconstructed the single most important institution in human history. Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society…. In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation. Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.  The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State. More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex “marriage.”

Anthony Cuomo and Anthony Weiner – the disgraced Congressman from Brooklyn and Queens – have demonstrated how readily and willingly some New Yorker politicians will inflict festering sores upon the body politic.  Then there is NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who personifies the corruption associated with big money in politics.  For his own political interest in securing yet another reelection, he managed to push the City Council into thwarting the will of the citizens of NYC who had passed term limits via two referendums.

The likes of Bloomberg, Cuomo, and Weiner have no scruples about running roughshod over such principles as the consent of the governed ­– the principle of our republic enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Echoing Massachusetts’ governor Deval Patrick’s highhanded ways in the Bay State, the people of New York will be denied any opportunity to vote on the matter.

The political elites prefer to ignore the preference the people have demonstrated for retaining the definition of marriage held from time immemorial.  Across the country, America’s political class (as identified, for example, in Rasmussen Reports) is viscerally disinclined to let the people themselves decide the country’s direction.

In all 31 states where the issue has been put to a vote, traditional marriage has prevailed.  Consequently, the announced campaign to amend the state constitution and empower New Yorkers with the referendum is doomed.  The Empire State’s political class will surely intervene and crush any such move toward genuine democracy.

Not only do they undermine a basic principle of the republic, i.e. consent of the governed, but the political class has no qualms about putting our civilization at risk.  As Archbishop Dolan stated after the SSM vote, “I think society and culture is at its peril if we presume to tamper with what has been given and already cherished through the history of civilization.”

Furthermore, particular members of that class who call themselves Catholic add insult to injury by reinforcing cafeteria Catholicism, and by scandalizing those who respect the Church’s Magisterial teaching.  When Cuomo and his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, received the Holy Eucharist at this year’s Epiphany mass, it emboldened a likeminded columnist for the Huffington Post, Michelle Somerville.  A self-described foe of “lockstep Catholicism,” she wrote that Cuomo‘s sacrilege “dispensed a bit of grace.”  How so?  Because, said Somerville, the Governor announced by his example “that he will not be told by men how to be Catholic.  He announced his intention to trust God – and not a cabal of men in miters and lace – to decide whether he was worthy to receive Holy Communion.”

There is, thankfully, a small glimmer of light in New York’s otherwise dark decision.  Not all the legislators were devoid of good will, and they managed to extract concessions for religious liberty.  Under the new law, churches and parish centers can, with impunity, refuse to host SSM ceremonies.  Nor will the Knights of Columbus have to rent halls out for same-sex wedding receptions.  And the law contains an important proviso:  if some panel of judges should void any of the religious exemptions, then the statute provides for its own nullification.  Voiding of the religious immunities would automatically void the entire SSM law.

Regretfully, it seems unlikely that some bungling judicial meddler will cause the whole execrable piece of legislation to self-destruct.  Would, however, that by fair means or foul, we might be liberated from this latest abomination!

As it stands, the law constitutes a sort of Love Canal II.  Recall that in the mid-1970s, the city of Niagara Falls, NY, authorized a housing development on a chemical waste landfill.  Cancers in kids and adults, mutations in babies, afflicted unsuspecting people in this most unloving Love Canal project. 

But unlike the original atrocity, confined as it was to about 36 square blocks, the SSM legislation might spread its toxic effects deep into the bowels of our country’s culture.  Already, Mayor Bloomberg is promising a “NYC I do” campaign to sell the most populous U.S. city as a gay-wedding destination.  Well, Mr. Mayor, why don’t you adopt a slogan more perversely appropriate – like “poison to the people?”


Bob Struble is a retired history teacher, and a writer of books, articles and poems. He is Lecturer for the Knights of Columbus in Bremerton WA, and is an associate editor at Catholic Lane.
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  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    I’ll probably be anathematized for writing this, but I think that arguments against same-sex marriage and civil unions are a waste of time. Same-sex unions of one stripe or another (false though they may be) are not the cause of the decline of marriage in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Contraception is. And keeping in mind Jesus’s rebuke that one should clear the log out of his own eye before worrying about the splinter in his neighbor’s eye, contraception is the two-ton steel girder in the eye of most (perhaps 90 to 95 per cent) Catholics and Evangelicals.

    There’s really no room to argue about the facts themselves. Couples who refuse contraception hardly divorce at all, with divorce rates landing at 0.2% (http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/193/36/) to 9%, depending on the study quoted. Most such studies identify the divorce rates of non-contracepting couples at around 3% to 5%. Meanwhile the divorce rate in the U.S. Population as a whole approaches 60% – and there is only a small discernible difference between the overall rates of Catholics or Evangelicals and the rate of the population at large. For instance, Father McCloskey identifies that “Catholics are 30 percent less likely to divorce than the rest of the population. Active Catholics are 50% less likely to divorce than unaffiliated/secular Americans. About 20% of all Catholic marriages in which at least one spouse attends Mass weekly end in divorce” (http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/state_of_the_church_2006.html). This was in 2006, when the divorce rate was, perhaps, closer to 50%. Nevertheless, at 30% less than a 50% rate, Catholics overall have a divorce rate of 0.5 * 0.35 == 0.35 == 35%. Even Catholics who attend Mass regularly still clock a 25% divorce rate. Meanwhile NFP couples (and no doubt other couples who reject contraception) divorce at a rate as low as 0.2% (c.f Physicians for Life article previously cited). When a trend manifests itself in the positive way for one group – i.e. the higher divorce rate for Catholics as a whole – and in a negative way for a group that necessarily excludes the other – i.e. the near-zero divorce rate for non-contracepting couples – the statistics must be interpreted as demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship. This means – necessarily – that contraception causes divorce and that the refusal of contraception causes marital fidelity. There can be no argument here – except on an invalid, emotional level.

    Thus, marriage has not been undermined by same-sex couples at all. Rather, it has been undermined by natural couples living an unnatural relationship. The only reasonable way to reverse this negative trend is to reverse the unnatural way in which the vast majority of heterosexual couples live their vocation of Marriage. And where this is mostly a sad reality for Evangelical couples – where there is little or no teaching against contraception these days – it is a depressing reality for Catholic couples. This is because the Catholic Church maintains – and has maintained for 2000 years – that contraception is always an intrinsic evil, no matter the circumstances. Thus, contraception – compared to same-sex marriage and civil unions – must be understood as a two-ton steel girder marring the eye of the vast majority of Catholic married couples.

    That means the fight has to start inside the Church first. The rest is a battle against mere symptoms of the larger disease.

    • Theodore Kobernick

      HomeschoolNfpDad,

      I cannot agree with your cause-and-effect assertion:”the statistics must be interpreted as demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship. This means – necessarily – that contraception causes divorce and that the refusal of contraception causes marital fidelity. There can be no argument here – except on an invalid, emotional level.”

      I believe, rather, that there is something which encourages both contraception and divorce. That is to say they probably share a common cause.

      That cause is multifaceted. One facet is economics: more children mean less spending money, lower ‘lifestyle.’ Another facet is the attitude so pervasively hawked by our society — that sex is only for pleasure. Terrible.

      But these two facets are manifestations of the topsy-turvey failure (or refusal) to see ourselves as the Lord’s creatures, whose happiness comes from fulfilling who we are in him. I suspect that most persons who regularly attend mass, rightly understand their relationship to God, and therefore to their mate.

      Thank you for a most informative contribution. My disagreement is perhaps a quibble. God bless your family.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    The calculation, “0.5 * 0.35 == 0.35 == 35%,” should have red “0.5 * 0.7 == 0.35 == 35%,” where 0.7 represents 70%, or 30% less than the base. Sorry about the error.

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    Even Catholics who attend Mass regularly still clock a 20% divorce rate. Sorry again. It’s late.

  • Still, 20% is far batter than the national average of 50%. Even the 1/5 failure rate can be attributed in part to the pernicious influence of pagan American culture.

    • Sarah, one of my in-laws, is a young schoolteacher. She read this article and said that she could understand sodomy being a sin, but was puzzled that any citizen would see gay marriage as a threat to them personally. I would respond that, as John Donne put it in 1624: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    • HomeschoolNfpDad

      My original comment is waiting to be moderated. Here it is without the URL links (which should allow it to be published immediately):

      I’ll probably be anathematized for writing this, but I think that arguments against same-sex marriage and civil unions are a waste of time. Same-sex unions of one stripe or another (false though they may be) are not the cause of the decline of marriage in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Contraception is. And keeping in mind Jesus’s rebuke that one should clear the log out of his own eye before worrying about the splinter in his neighbor’s eye, contraception is the two-ton steel girder in the eye of most (perhaps 90 to 95 per cent) Catholics and Evangelicals.

      There’s really no room to argue about the facts themselves. Couples who refuse contraception hardly divorce at all, with divorce rates landing at 0.2% (Physicians for Life article) to 9%, depending on the study quoted. Most such studies identify the divorce rates of non-contracepting couples at around 3% to 5%. Meanwhile the divorce rate in the U.S. Population as a whole approaches 60% – and there is only a small discernible difference between the overall rates of Catholics or Evangelicals and the rate of the population at large. For instance, Father McCloskey identifies that “Catholics are 30 percent less likely to divorce than the rest of the population. Active Catholics are 50% less likely to divorce than unaffiliated/secular Americans. About 20% of all Catholic marriages in which at least one spouse attends Mass weekly end in divorce” (another citation removed here). This was in 2006, when the divorce rate was, perhaps, closer to 50%. Nevertheless, at 30% less than a 50% rate, Catholics overall have a divorce rate of 0.5 * 0.7 == 0.35 == 35%. Even Catholics who attend Mass regularly still clock a 20% divorce rate. Meanwhile NFP couples (and no doubt other couples who reject contraception) divorce at a rate as low as 0.2% (c.f Physicians for Life article previously cited). When a trend manifests itself in the positive way for one group – i.e. the higher divorce rate for Catholics as a whole – and in a negative way for a group that necessarily excludes the other – i.e. the near-zero divorce rate for non-contracepting couples – the statistics must be interpreted as demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship. This means – necessarily – that contraception causes divorce and that the refusal of contraception causes marital fidelity. There can be no argument here – except on an invalid, emotional level.

      Thus, marriage has not been undermined by same-sex couples at all. Rather, it has been undermined by natural couples living an unnatural relationship. The only reasonable way to reverse this negative trend is to reverse the unnatural way in which the vast majority of heterosexual couples live their vocation of Marriage. And where this is mostly a sad reality for Evangelical couples – where there is little or no teaching against contraception these days, and indeed much enthusiastic promotion of it – it is a depressing reality for Catholic couples. This is because the Catholic Church maintains – and has maintained for 2000 years – that contraception is always an intrinsic evil, no matter the circumstances. Thus, contraception – compared to same-sex marriage and civil unions – must be understood as a two-ton steel girder marring the eye of the vast majority of Catholic married couples.

      That means the fight has to start inside the Church first. The rest is a battle against mere symptoms of the larger disease.

      Put another way, a 20% divorce rate definitely cannot be attributed to the pagan influences of American culture but rather must be attributed to contraception — which is almost as heavily promoted by allegedly conservative Catholics as by the most liberal pagans in the broader culture. The graces of the Mass simply do not provide the same graces as being open to life, when it comes to marriage.

  • It seems intuitive that moral turpitude in the realm of sexual relations will have an adverse impact on heterosexual marriage. To the extent that sodomy is mainstreamed into society, it will make old fashioned vices like adultery and fornication look relatively virtuous. The unthinkable becomes not so unthinkable.

    To the extent that sexual stigmas are broken down, married couples will find temptation that much harder to resist. The paradigm of same-sex marriage tells all but the most discerning people that Christian sexual standards are antiquated and worthy of being discarded.

  • Gerry

    The argument that traditional marriage is broken therefore non-traditional marriages should be allowed doesn’t hold water. Traditional marriage is not improved by allowing homosexual unions except for homosexuals, notwithstanding that homosexual fidelity is an oxymoron of the first order.

    Marriage is about society recognizing the importance of parenting children whose positive nurturing by a man and a woman prepares them for their future role as parents and contributing members of society. And because with marriage comes life changing consequences and responsibilities, society provides certain benefits. In our broken culture there are exceptions, infertility, single parents and divorce are examples, that are less optimum than the two-parent environment recognized for centuries as the norm for raising children. Homosexuals, who define themselves solely by who and how they engage in sex, biologically cannot become pregnant and birth a child, and will not overcome this fact by legally defining their relationship as a marriage.

    For millennia, to engage in sex with a person of the same sex has been characterized by prostitution, sexual abuse, r-pe (censored word), and indiscriminate encounters with mutually consenting individuals, with the goal of satisfying base sexual urges having nothing to do with the possibility of giving birth to a child. Among the consequences of random sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual, has been a high incidence of venereal disease, and more recently HIV and AIDS.

    Recently, homosexual activists have tried to re-characterize their sexual activity as equivalent to the intimacy, respect and love existing in marriage, pointing to a subculture of “loving” monogamous homosexuals. Among these, and in order to further their cause, some are acquiring children with the cooperation of homosexuals of the opposite sex, by artificial insemination or by adoption. The consequences suffered by these children while not immediately obvious are subordinated to achieving the political goals, that of acquiring the benefits accorded traditional marriage, mainstreaming the homosexual lifestyle in all its forms, and borrowing from the history of racial and gender rights, the power and special treatment accorded a protected minority.

    Among the homosexual anti-discrimination laws will be — required teaching of the gay and lesbian lifestyles and sexual practices in the public schools, marginalizing people of faith and forcing religious institutions to provide marriage, adoption and health services, imposed employment and promotional advancement quotas, and hostile workplace, speech and hate crime prosecutions.

    • Michele

      Awesome points, made me think about the aftermath of such legislation.