Out of compassion and a desire for fairness, many Americans want to give homosexual couples the ability to marry. The California Supreme Court’s decision to override voters doesn’t seem so bad to many people. After all, some homosexual couples care for each other in long-term commitments. Why should they be barred from visiting each other in the hospital, naming one another as insurance beneficiaries and exchanging rings in romantic ceremonies?

The truth is, they can do all three of those things legally already. But to change the definition of marriage is another thing altogether.

The Nature of Marriage

This isn’t the first time unorthodox couples have wanted to redefine marriage. Polygamists and relatives who wanted to marry each other have also tried. They argued that marriage’s definition was something like: “The sanction and financial benefits society gives to people who are committed to living together because of their love.”

The courts answered: “No, marriage is the sanction and financial benefits society gives to moral unions that raise children in a stable, sound environment.”

Just like homosexuals do now, polygamists and incestuous lovers argued that this definition is discriminatory. The courts agreed. Marriage is discriminatory. Marriage laws discriminate a great deal: by age (you can be too young to marry), by marital status (you must be divorced to marry if you were previously married) and by intention: Roommates, brothers and sisters who share a home, and nursing-home residents who share an address aren’t marriages.

Marriage discriminates because it has to protect the propagation of children. If you’re a parent, you know how having children changed you. Marriage does on a wide scale what parenthood did for you. It gives the citizenry more dedication to community standards and the needs of the next generation. A marriage isn’t a public honor for a sexual relationship. It’s a public protection for society’s basic unit. Marriage laws weren’t made to honor the married; they were made to help the married serve society.

The Homosexual Lifestyle

Another reason Americans support homosexual “marriage” is that they believe there’s no real difference between homosexual and heterosexual couples. If old religious beliefs and human traditions make people uncomfortable with homosexuality, we need more compassion and tolerance to recognize the true nature of homosexual relationships, they say.

It’s true that we should recognize the true nature of these relationships and react compassionately. But true compassion doesn’t tolerate injurious behavior.

Medically, heterosexual sex is a natural and normal activity that does no harm to a couple under ordinary circumstances. But male homosexual sex injures its participants regularly — both because the rectum is damaged during penetration and because only the vagina is biologically equipped to be a safe receptacle for semen.

Psychologically, the benefits love and marriage bring to men and women are well documented. Yet even in countries where homosexuality is an accepted, integrated part of society, homosexuals suffer much higher rates of depression and suicide than the general public.

And children are bound to suffer if their parents are part of the homosexual scene. From the Village People song “YMCA” to the Showtime television show “Queer as Folk,” homosexual culture has long celebrated sex with teens. One of the most-often searched for terms on the Internet is a homosexual slang word for underage teenage boys. In “The Gay Report,” by homosexual researchers Karla Jay and Allen Young, the authors report data showing that 73% of homosexuals surveyed had at some time had sex with boys 16 to 19 years of age or younger. One daughter of a homosexual man told the Register of the difficulties she faced not from her dad, but from his many sexually promiscuous friends.

Consequences

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that legalized homosexual “marriage” will mean keeping things the way they are, only being more kind and fair to homosexual couples.

In fact the changes will be dramatic: If homosexual “marriage” is legalized, it will — by law — be as celebrated as marriage is today. Public schools will treat the two types of “marriage” identically. So will ads, billboards, posters and displays in every public place. If you die, your children could be adopted by either a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple. To prefer one over the other would be illegal.

What We Can Do

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” said Edmund Burke.

Pope John Paul II said, “Families should grow in awareness of being ‘protagonists’ of what is known as ‘family politics’ and assume responsibility for transforming society; otherwise families will be the first victims of the evils that they have done no more than note with indifference.”

Write to your representatives in state and federal government. Find their names and addresses by typing in your ZIP code at Vote-Smart.org. Use the arguments above or your own arguments. Ask them to back the Federal Marriage Amendment. Ask what they plan to do to stop the assault on marriage. Also write to presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Ill., and Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz. Both voted to kill the Federal Marriage Amendment without even giving it a vote in the Senate. Write to tell them how important their position on marriage will be to your vote this November.

Pray. Pope Benedict XVI prayed with George Bush in the White House for the institution of the family. Pope John Paul II asked Catholics to pray daily Rosaries for defense of the family. Miracles are possible — and we need a miracle.

Evangelize. Pope Benedict XVI says the world needs to see evidence that traditional marriage is a path to human flourishing. The world is looking to us as examples — for good or ill. The first way to evangelize is by joyfully living our own family life deeply.

Download and share our “Guides to Catholic Living” under Resources at NCRegister.com.