Over at Liberal Conspiracy we have a Catholic trying to make a religious argument in favour of gay marriage.
I think there are excellent arguments in favour of gay marriage (not least they should be allowed to be as miserable as all us heteros). I think there are even better arguments in favour of a single civil marriage for anyone who wants it with you and whoever having a further religious ceremony from whomever you would like or none and from whomever will have you.
Hoever, trying to argue from within Catholicism for gay marriage doesn’t really work because of the underlying theology of sex itself. As I explain in this comment over there:
“What is a non-bigoted argument against gay marriage that actually holds logic?”
I most certainly don’t say that you have to agree with this logic (I don’t myself, despite a Cathoilic upbringing and education) but this is the underlying logic of the Catholic attitude towards sex (not surprisingly, it’s remarkably similar to traditional Judaic law as well and there are many similarities with Islamic).
Sex must always be open to the possibility of conception.
And that, pretty much, is it. If you really pin down the explanation of it all that is. I’ve not seen this stated quite so bluntly by a Catholic authority, but I have seen it written by a Rabbi and also an Imam.
Anal sex, oral sex, these things are just fine. If that’s what turns the parties on, mutually, why the hell not? Sex is fun, it’s very definitely a gift from God. But such anal, oral, frotting, handjobs, tit rubs, whatever you want to think of, are only allowable as long as the actual male orgasm happens where conception is possible. This was the sin of Onan recall, coitus interruptus.
Now, given that only a woman can get pregnant and only get pregnant if ejaculation takes place at least vaguely in the region of her genitals then the only morally and righteously allowable form of sex is where ejaculation takes place at least vaguely in the region of a woman’s genitals.
As I say, that’s pretty much it as the basis to the whole thing.
You can disagree with the premise (I do myself) but that is what the premise is that then leads to all of the other restrictions. The restriction on contraception, to gay sex itself. That sin of Onan again.
Of course, when the premise is accepted (and as I say, it is at the heart of the Catholic theology of sex however much all of us Catholics, nominal, practising or non believing like myself ignore it or disagree with it) then the very concept of gay marriage beomes unthinkable. For marriage is a public recognition of devoting oneself to a sexual relationship (the marriage ceremony really does say “I thee with my body shall worship”) and how can that happen with a sexual relationship where conception is not possible and thus is not a moral or righteous sexual relationship?
Just to repeat myself again. I don’t find this convincing either. But it is an explanation of that underlying religious argument and it is indeed believed to be true by many.
You can only argue from within Catholicism in favour of gay marriage if you are to reject the Church’s basic teachings about sex. At which point, you’re not really making a Catholic argument, are you?