The video is produced by the National Organization for Marriage (USA) and takes on the subject of homosexuality from a social and political perspective.
It seeks to explain the perniciousness of the pseudo institution, homosexual marriage, as it relates to a healthy functioning society.
The point it makes is good, but I see a few “blind spots” that might lessen its appeal or persuasive capacity with some groups. Still, its message is clear and could be used to begin an interesting dialogue on the subject.
The video’s “blind spot”
Given the fact that the video’s fundamental argument is: “homosexual marriages are not beneficial to society” therefore “they shouldn’t be promoted”… What happens when we find them useful in some way? What happens if the government obliges homosexual marriages to behave in such a way that they provide some type of social profit, thus converting them into a socially beneficial institution? Would it be worth it to promote them then? Using the criteria of “utility” or “benefits” could be counterproductive, even to the point of being used against us.
For example, a significant gap in the video’s argument is its silence with respect to one of the principal counter arguments: homosexual adoption. If homosexual couples could adopt children, would that offer some benefit to society? On an immediate economic level, the answer could be yes: perhaps they would lower the costs of raising and educating abandoned children who might otherwise spend their youth in foster homes or orphanages.
And after all, would not any child be better off in a “loving, two parent home – even it they are homosexual”? But we must question further: “Is it truly beneficial for a society to allow homosexual adoption? “ and “Are these children really better off than they would be otherwise?” Good questions. Here, I would like to refer you to a research study (here’s a news story that briefly explains it), done by Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, on adult children who were raised with parents who have same-sex relationships. The study exemplifies the principle “You will be known by your fruits,” and bears witness to the serious deficiencies that result from homosexual parenting.
We must remain cautious, however, even in this. While it is certain that “you will be known by your fruits”, it is also certain that the criteria that determines what is good fruit is a hotly contested issue. What exactly is beneficial to society? There are in our world very malicious institutions that portray themselves as the source of economic or utilitarian benefits which they then use to convince society that what follows is also beneficial: cohabitation, abortion, condoms, etc.
A few suggestions:
I believe that an Apostle must use all the arguments and perspectives available in order to explain the “why” of things. Still, he or she cannot renounce the question of right and wrong. More than the question of utility or benefits, we must ask, “Is homosexual marriage a good or is it a wrong, an evil, for the human person?”
When using the video, or discussing the subject in general, I think using an anthropological approach is crucial. Is our nature, our identity – including our sexual identity – as human beings, something ultimately created and decided by us? By some psychological or medical board? By the Government? Or, is it a gift that we are called to discover and respect, given to us freely and willingly by God? The issue at stake here isn’t merely a legal or cultural one, rather it goes to the very root of how we understand ourselves.
As a final point, I would like to offer a brief reflection that doesn’t pretend to give a concrete or complete answer. (I would need a lot more space in order to make a sufficient presentation.) I worry sometimes that when speaking of issues as polemic as homosexual marriage, we Catholics are a little shy to voice the question: “What does God say?” Obviously we must be aware of who we are talking with and speak with prudence, but nevertheless, it’s imperative that we encourage others to seek a source of truth that goes beyond themselves or the cultural paradigms.
One of the keys to the Pandora’s box of our times is the idea that if one doesn’t fully understand or agree with something then he or she doesn’t have to accept it. If this refers to the sacredness of the each person’s conscience and his or her duty to follow it, then I would agree. However, if this means that the ultimate moral criterion is what I myself or a certain group of people has decided, then I would most heartedly disagree. Each has a duty to inform their conscience and does so by conforming their mentality to that of God and His teachings in the Church, not vice a versa.