7:30 AM EST, February 17, 2012
Regarding Governor O'Malley's recent remarks crediting his Catholic upbringing for his effort to redefine marriage, the church does indeed teach that every human being is made in the likeness of God and therefore should be treated with love and respect. However, that does require that people's every action be affirmed.
The Catholic church teaches that God made humans male and female, each with a gift of sexuality tailored to gender. In God's beautiful design, that gift is exchanged in the marital act between a married man and a woman, an act that expresses a complete giving of self and can bring forth new life. The church acknowledges that people of the same sex can have caring and abiding friendships and commitments to each other, but it teaches that those relationships are not the proper context for sexual relations and cannot be the basis for a marriage.
As a lawyer, the governor is surely aware that the Maryland Appeals Court and theU.S. Supreme Courthave found that the only reason the state has an interest in providing legal status and benefits for married couples is that the marriage of a man and a woman is the procreative unit for society and the optimum environment for rearing children. If biology is removed from the definition of marriage, there is no reason for the state to even be involved in marriages.
Governor O'Malley says he supports gay marriage for the benefit of children. Traditional marriage attaches biological fathers and mothers to children and provides the most stable environment in which to rear them. It is written on the human heart to want to know, love and be known and loved by one's natural father and mother.
Unfortunately, that cannot always be the case. However, why would the state want to promote a situation in which children are intentionally deprived of one of their natural parents? Is that an optimum environment for children? How is that in the state's interest?
If the governor's intention is to validate the irregular family situations these children find themselves in, then what about the children of polygamous groups? Should their situations be legally recognized by the state as well? Will the governor also support the "triple-parenting" movement growing in jurisdictions that have redefined marriage to accommodate same-sex unions?
Here the sperm donor for a lesbian couple would also like to be involved as a parent for the child, so the child can have one father and two mother parents. Things can get complicated for the child rather quickly. The meaning of "marriage" can become increasingly muddled once biology and the exclusivity of one man and one woman is removed.
The governor certainly has a right to his opinion. But he should have the courage to stand up and say it is an opinion based on rejection of Catholic teaching and Maryland jurisprudence.
Lynda Kouroupis, Ellicott City
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