A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Same Sex Friendships

by Fr Brian O'Connell sm

I have respect for most same sex friendships. I value deeply my friendships with other men. Some of my men and women friends have close friendships with others of the same sex. I do not have a problem with that. If some of these people want to call their friendship ‘marriage’, I do have a problem with that. Because I know what I mean by marriage, and what society has meant for hundreds of years, and a same-sex couple cannot possibly fulfill the requirements. If our Parliament passes a law redefining marriage as open to same sex couples, it prompts the question: what can same sex ‘marriage’ add to a civil union already sanctioned by law in this country? Nothing.

The Judeao–Christian view is that marriage is a glorious part of God’s creation – a union between a man and a woman made in God’s image whereby they become one body – fruitful, faithful and permanent. It does not always work out that way in practice, but that is what marriage is in its essence. It remains an ideal achievable by all, and provides the possibility of the greatest happiness available in this life.

Jonathan & David

Jonathan and David

Our Western secular society has not respected marriage to any degree. Over a third of marriages end in divorce. The good of the children is often last considered when marriage breaks up. Fidelity within marriage is portrayed in the media as boring and unnecessary. So in reality, marriage has been ransacked on the pretext of human expediency, and systemically stripped of its treasures. Cohabiting couples simply ignore it. What society is saying to same-sex couples is ‘You might as well have it. It is an outworn vestige of a hierarchical society, worthy to be trampled underfoot. Do what you like with it.’

I will be hoping for a bit more backbone from our politicians i.e. to resist this redefinition of marriage. A law to redefine marriage is a front-on attack on the mainline Christian Faith, and should be met as such. The Churches don’t own marriage; it is much more basic than that - human society does.

It is the Churches’ role to defend it. It is not the institution of marriage that is flawed, but the weak human beings who enter into it without sufficient resources to persevere. (Cf Article on Homosexual Marriage ) Now is the time to defend marriage legally and claim back its strength and treasures.

Whatever our legislators do, same sex friendships will continue to have an important part in our human journey, and enrich our  society. Any attempt to masquerade such friendships as marriage ought be treated with the contempt it deserves.

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