By Dominic Winter
(SNR) - Activists on both sides of the Nebraska’s Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage are awaiting oral arguments, scheduled for Feb. 19, on the legality of the state’s constitutional law.
In November, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Nebraska, on behalf of seven same-sex couples seeking state recognition of their partnerships. The ban’s supporters argue that Nebraskans should be free to recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
This is the second such suit taken against the state and its constitutional amendment. In 2005, the amendment’s ban was overturned by the district judge, only to be reestablished by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops summarizes the argument for same sex marriage this way: “Love is Love…. [I]f marriage is about love, then any adults who love each other should be free to marry.”
Some homosexuals and their allies would charge anyone who opposes their revolutionary intentions with unjust personal discrimination, much like racism.
However, as Dr. John Safranek of Columbus Community Hospital said, quoting a 1974 Supreme Court statement, “Sometimes the grossest discrimination can lie in treating two things that are different as if they’re the same.”
Traditional spouses are, therefore, insulted when same-sex “marriage” is treated as if it were the same, even though it is very different. In the same way, any couple, homosexual or heterosexual, might feel insulted and discriminated against if polygamy or prostitution were made equal with their marriage.
“The issue has nothing to do with equality,” Dr. Safranek said. “It has to do with the most fundamental views of human sexuality, relationships and human nature.”
But some say that far more is at stake than the recognition homosexual couples desire.
“For 4,000 years, since Abraham, the moral code was that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Father Christopher Kubat, diocesan vicar for health care and executive director of Catholic Social Services. “All of a sudden, it’s all changed. We’re going to be discriminated against. Christians will be forced against their conscience and their Christian faith.”
If gay “marriage” is allowed by the state, Father Kubat pointed out, conscientious Christians will be forced to recognize these false marriages or pay the penalty, as they have elsewhere in the country. Bakers will have to bake wedding cakes for “gay weddings” and photographers take wedding pictures, for example; employers may have little say in who they hire, children will be misled in the true meaning and definition of marriage, families will continue to break up, and Christian Truth will be driven behind church walls.
The USCCB states, “Only a man and woman can authentically speak the language of married love, because only a man and a woman can engage in the act which, by its nature, is designed for bringing new life into the world”
The Church teaches that those who suffer from homosexual inclinations are called to chastity, as are all Christians. Homosexuals can seek help from groups such as the support group Courage, at couragerc.org.
“The Church’s concern should be that the person in front of me is a beloved son or daughter of God the Father,” said Father Sean Kilcawley, director of the diocesan Office of Family Life and Evangelization. “It should not be finding one’s identity in attractions.”
“Marriage as an institution contributes to the welfare and stability of society by uniting the husband and wife together for the welfare and upbringing of children,” said Greg Schleppenbach, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, which represents the bishops of Nebraska and the interests of the Church.
Married persons are called to witness to the love of God in their lives, raising their children in purity, ready to face the world to come, according to Schleppenbach. Good families must always be attentive to their vocational calling and passionate about holiness. All society benefits from exemplary, traditional families: children grow in a beneficial atmosphere, spouses find God’s love in each other, neighbors are edified by Christ-like witness, and the state itself has a whole selection of better-educated, holier and more responsible citizens, raised with the godly influence of a mother and a father.
“A child has a right to know where he comes from,” Father Kilcawley said. “If half his DNA comes from an unknown donor, there’s a big question-mark in his life. The answers to those questions are what make us feel that we belong.”
In the meantime, these coming days and months, Catholics must pray and do penance for God’s mercy on the state and nation. A ruling on the Nebraska constitution may come within the month, and could be appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In addition, the United States Supreme Court plans to rule on cases similar to Nebraska’s from the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. This recent development may affect Nebraska’s resolution, and whether licenses must be issued in-state. This case is scheduled for April.
Schleppenbach proposed Catholics participate in a prayer, composed by the Carmelite nuns of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, for the sake of the Nebraska Catholic Conference. It is included below.
Prayer for the Nebraska Catholic Conference
Eternal Father, You call us to engage the world so that Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, might be made visible in the words and actions of Your servants.
Through the good work of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, may the light and grace of the Gospel shine upon the many difficult problems, questions, policies and issues that arise in our secular world, which so often does not recognize what is good and true and beautiful.
Grant to all of those who work in and with the Nebraska Catholic Conference, on behalf of our citizens who are often denied justice in our culture, the charity, courage and perseverance they need to do Your work in serenity, joy and peace.
We invoke the intercession of Blessed Mary and all of the Saints and the Holy Angels, who stand ready to carry out Your divine will. We ask all in the power of the Holy Spirit and through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord. Amen.
St. Thomas More, pray for us.