This is a placeholder - it may be worth coming back to it. At the very least, you can see a blatant attempt by the Catholic Church to get its theological view of marriage accepted in the political process. Do its arguments strike you as secular ones? Perhaps some do strike you as facially secular - okay, do these "secular" arguments, strike you as at all strong? Do the factual claims relied on have any serious scientific backing? What sorts of assumptions are being made but not stated?
I'll leave all this for now as an exercise for readers. It at least shows the kinds of highly-organised efforts we are up against when we complain about religious interference in politics.
The Archbishop of Minnesota launched a very expensive campaign against gay marriage in 2010. It created quite a back-lash from congregants:
Archbishop Nienstedt said in an interview “I believe that it’s important that if you’re going to be Catholic, that you have to be 100% Catholic... That you stand by the church, you believe what the church believes and you pass that on to your sons and daughters and your grandsons and granddaughters.”
Yeah, that's a risk they run - overreaching with their own congregations and constituencies.
Damn that is irritating; it seems to be the same pro-natalist hetrosexist stuff you always get with these arguments. They talk about how marriage is about recognising the "natural link between the intimate relationship of man and woman with bearing and nurturing children", but there is no requirement for a marriage to involve children, or the bearing and nurturing of children to require marriage. If i get someone pregnant there is no obligation to marry them, likewise i can get married without having kids.
Likewise, what about us trans* people? As a pre-transition trans woman (legally male) i could marry a woman and sire a child, which we then raise with me as one of the kids mothers. Or, AFAIK, a gay trans man could give birth to a child fathered by their partner, but be unable to marry their partner if they had their legal sex changed.
So the marriage laws at the moment don't work the way they are arguing, as they are mostly set up to privilege hetrosexual cis relationships, rather than to encourage biological parents to raise children together. I have no issue with them arguing that marriage should be about raising children, though i disagree with that, but they shouldn't mis represent what the current laws require.
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I count at least four different definitions of marriage in their own argument (all conflated as one, of course).
In referring to the current definition of marriage, I assume they must mean the agreement between a man and a woman who've signed a contract, recognized by the state, which allows them certain tax benefits and the like. That is, of course, what legislators are talking about amending, isn't it? Love, as far as the state is concerned, has nothing to do with it.
But then they later on redefine marriage to be something that involves love, since "The love of a man and woman in marriage is unique."
Then they admit that the state doesn't actually care about love ("Regulating matters of the heart is not the business of the state."), and argue that the state should keep the current definition of marriage because society depends on marriage for making and nurturing babies? First, I'm not convinced it does. Second, that's not part of the agreement with the state, is it? Marriage isn't defined as a contract in which you must make babies, so here we have a new definition.
And then! The piece de resistance: "Marriage is a natural institution. It is prior to and more fundamental than the state." We were just kidding about those definitions before that involved the state! Teehee.
God I hate the Church.
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