Marriage is being discussed and debated in courtrooms, county clerk’s offices, in legislative halls and in voting booths. But what is everyone really talking about? Is the debate about marriage or is it who can and cannot get married. What came first; the chicken or the egg?
A lot of questions concerning marriage are being asked because we have not stepped back to really discuss, assess, and teach marriage is. Instead we have talked about sex, sexual orientation, rights, and laws.
We are failing in regards to teach about the gift of marriage, the natural gift and role of marriage in society. The debates will continue until we recover and teach the original meaning of marriage.
My work in marriage nullity (annulments) has taught me that we can’t speak about a valid or invalid marriage we speak about what marriage really is and how marriage is estaablished, who is capable of establishing marriage, and the necessary understanding of marriage in order to establish a bond. Every argument made for the declaration of marriage nullity begins first with a definition of marriage.
Before we enter into the debate about what marriage is and who can and cannot enter into marriage, perhaps we should first carefully evaluate what marriage is. Not everyone may agree what marriage is, but as Christians we must be clear about what marriage is for the sake of Christians and non-Christians. Marriage is more than a religious institution, teaching, or way of life. In fact we would argue that marriage comes from the natural order and therefore our contribution to the marriage debates of the day is important.
Simply put, marraige between two people of the same sex is not marriage.
Marriage is a covenant established between men and woman, partnership for the whole of life, odered for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of offspring (children). Among Christians, it is a sacrament. (canon 1055 §1 of the Code of Canon Law)
Marriage has the properties of unity and indissolubitly (canon 1056 of the Code of Canon Law). This means that marriage corresponds to our natural origin and men and woman, our masculinity and feminity, that when united in the most natural way reflects a reality larger than the two persons. It reflects the union that God wants to have with us that is for our good and creative.
Marriage has always been valued as necessary for the stability of a society. Certainly it is necessary for the creative aspect, but also for the stability of society, of families, for the good of children, and of the spouses themselves. In fact, we say that it first good for the spouses, and if good for the spouses, then good for children, and good for society.
Marriage is good, and it has a purpose, and can only be established naturally between a man and a woman. This is a fundamental part of the reality of who we are as men and women. Our bodies tell the story of marriage. The union that we desire for communion with another person is reflected in the complimentarity of our bodies. A man's body only makes sense as it corresponds to the body of a woman, and a woman's body only makes sense as it corresponds to the body of a man. Our bodies; natural, beautiful, and with the awesome (we might say "divine") power to create are gifts from God.
The complimentarity of men and women, and our ability to "pro" or "co" create with God corresponds to the dignity and beauty of our human nature as men and women. Marriage is only natural and only makes sense between a man and a woman.
Marriage, in the natural order can only exist between a man and woman. This can not be changed by judges, county clerks, legislative halls, or voting booths.
Marriage "for real" can only exist between a man and a woman. Anything else is not natural. Let's not call it marriage. Marriage is for real, between men and woman only.