“Gay Marriage” is a topic in our papers and other media here in Oz at the moment, as the Federal government looks at making quite a few changes to the law to enable a greater degree of protection and privilege for same sex partnerships in this country. But while the proposed changes go a long way, they do not include either legal “marriage” or the right to adopt children or have access to IVF.
This has caused quite a furore amongst the chattering classes and the charge of “homophobia” is once again being wheeled out. On ABC radio the other day, in which the announcer was openly calling for the new legislation to give same sex partnerships all the privileges of true marriage, a caller rang in to point out a discrepancy in his logic. The previous subject debated on this talk back program had been farming practices, where the talk-back host had decried farmers who used methods that were “not respecting nature”. The caller pointed out that he was applying one standard to farming practices (ie. that it be “natural”) and another to the issue of homosexuality.
“Are you saying homsexuality isn’t natural?”, the host asked, “I’m not sure about that, are you?”
Well, it all depends on what you mean by “natural”. Human nature being what it is, it is in fact entirely “natural” (for one given meaning of the word) for human beings to feel the urge to do what is not “natural” (for another given meaning of the word). Strange, really, that the animal world is not given to such “natural” urges to do what is against “nature”. It is we human beings who have created the current environmental problems, not the animal world.
It is worth noting too that Pope Benedict, whenever he speaks on environmental issues, speaks of our obligations to nature in terms of the natural law (surprise, surprise), and often goes on in the same breath to speak about marriage and the family (also in terms of the natural law). In fact a google search for “marriage environment benedict natural law” turned up more than 33,000 entries. Others have pointed out that the Pope never loses an opportunity to talk about marriage (111 times since becoming pope according to this survey). He is no more “obsessed” with this issue (as Cathnews infamously suggested) than Patriarch Bartholomew is obsessed with environmental issues (actually, a case could be made for the latter…)
Let it be known that Sentire Cum Ecclesia’s editorial policy (unlike that of The Age) is opposed to extending “rights” to gay partnerships (including “marriage”, adoption, IVF etc), but all in favour of the Government chosing to protect people’s personal relationships by legal means. At the same time, we wish to point out that the reason government protect and privilege marriage is because marriage is itself a fundamental good for society, in fact, together with the family which grows from marriage, marriage is the fundamental foundation of society. At least in this sense (although in others as well, of course) marriage is “natural” in a way that homosexual partnerships are not.
This is what Pope Benedict is getting at. This is why marriage (real marriage) has particular rights to which other relationships can have no access.