A Catholic Monthly Magazine

MARRIAGE Means One Man and One Woman

Bill Farrelly

by Bill Farrelly

WHEN I am writing I have a degree of confidence. But when I am talking/discussing/arguing I often become inarticulate. I stumble, repeat myself, struggle for the right word – sometimes making a complete goose of myself.

Although nowadays I almost never feel rage, on the rare occasions I do, I almost always fall into this trap, which leads me to the subject I’d like to muse with you today.

Gay marriage.Homer marries a gay couple

I have written previously of the deep regret I have felt for my long-ago intolerance of homosexuals. I have long since realised that I have absolutely no right to be  judgemental.

Elsewhere, I have also posed the question: If God could have (and of course He could)  ensured that homosexuality never challenged mankind, why didn’t He? I will only know the answer when I die.

I will go straight into hot water and express my view (as opposed to a judgement) that not every practising homosexual has no choice about his of her sexuality and I accept all the criticism – venom even – that I might be inviting.

But, and it is a very big but, I believe unequivocally there are many, many  who have absolutely no choice . And let me stress that I do not for a moment consider homosexuality to be an addiction.

To the point of this exercise. I have no objection to two homosexuals living together as if – I repeat, as if – they are married and being legally recognised as such and with most but not  all the entitlements and responsibilities which that entails.

But I will never agree with the  attempts to hijack the word “marriage”.

It offends me deeply, both as a Christian – especially as a Christian – but also as a journalist whose craft is words and, while accepting that the language evolves, who insists that there are fundamentals.

No means no, we men have been rightfully indoctrinated for decades now. It will always mean no.

Likewise, and most importantly because we Catholics know that marriage is one of the sacraments, marriage means what it has always meant – the union, the physical, spiritual and emotional union, between one man and one woman – all the while retaining our separate identities and deserving of the respect our individuality demands.

Here in Australia there is righteous indignation from all levels of society that those opposed to gay marriage are disregarding others’ fundamental human rights, their dignity, their God-given humanity. Most of them, I believe, are good people. Many are far more educated than I am. But equally, I suspect, they know their claims are baseless.

In my intolerant moments I feel that those demanding gay marriage are performing like petulant children: he’s got one, I want one, too. Sadly, they will win. Already they have had many successes.

The Catholic Church here in Australia has been pathetic in its feeble resistance. I am ashamed of it – just as I am ashamed of its ongoing attempts, often but not always, to whitewash its history of child abuse.

You will be familiar with the Muslim rage over the film Innocence of Muslims which mocks  the Muslim faith. Because my own faith teaches tolerance and, above all, love, and because I cherish democracy, I am able – when discretion so requires – to suffer in silence  the insults that are flung at my own faith and I am puzzled, saddened and angry when some Muslims cannot do the same.

But though I won’t take to the barricades in anger in relation to this awful campaign for gay marriage, I can understand the rage Muslims feel. It is in the pit of my stomach and were I having this discussion personally with you now it would likely be a spluttering, incoherent babble.

Those who disagree with me may well describe this essay as such.

And for those who might rightly say: “It’s easy for you, Bill, if you don’t have a gay loved one who longs to marry their partner” I can only repeat what I have said. You are welcome to be a couple, to publicly declare and celebrate your love, to share your lives as if you were married.

As if.

Marriage is not a God-given right for everybody.   

© bill.farrelly@yahoo.com.au

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