What Is the Purpose of Marriage?

By: PaxCare staff

wedding rings

There are few debates more passionately fought from either side than that of the marriage issue. It is important for us as Catholics to understand what the Church teaches on this subject and why. We may be surprised to find out which people involved in the marriage debate are affected most by the outcome.

The point of marriage is to create  a social institution that protects a children’s rights to know and be provided for by their natural mother  and  father.   Children born in any other arrangement (cohabitation,  surrogacy,  donor-conception)  do not have any right to find their natural parents (especially if their natural parent’s don’t wish to be found) much less be provided for by them.   That leads to two problems.

First,  saying that gay marriage is “equal” to marriage is the same as saying that children raised in households with only one parent or any two parents is, in fact, “equal” to the experience of children raised by a mother and a father and that it is wrong to even suggest that children raised by their natural mother and father have any advantage over children raised in any other context.   Children raised by single parents, or grandparents, or divorced parents or adoptive parents  can  grow up to be “just fine”, but we recognize that they have had to struggle at least a bit more than their counterparts raised in homes with their natural mother and father because they are missing something; because those home arrangements are not equal to those homes in which a child is being raised by his natural mother and father.

Saying that gay marriage is “equal” to traditional marriage means that a same-sex couple can provide  everything  that a mother and a father can provide, and that as long as a child has at least two caregivers of one sort or another, that child  has no right  to feel sad  the absence of a natural mother or a father.  Currently, there is no other context in which  we think it is appropriate to  tell a child that he shouldn’t  feel sad about not  having a connection to his natural mother and father.   Gay marriage would change that.   To say, “you must not feel anything about the absence of the parent we could not provide you with because, after all, we are equal” would be  a serious injustice against a child and do violence to the child’s emotional and psychological well-being.

Second,  to say that a same-sex couple’s relationship is the same as (literally “equal to”) a marriage between a man and a woman is to say that both couples must have the same rights to try to have children.   Of course, that means that more and more same-sex couples would feel obliged to turn to artificial reproduction so that they could be truly “equal” to straight families. There is just no way to support gay “marriage” without also supporting the massive expansion of IVF, donor conception, surrogacy and other forms of immoral, assisted reproduction technologies which, in turn, leads to countless more children who would be denied the right to know or be provided for by their natural parents.

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