Arguing for Gay Marriage at a Catholic University

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Some argue that our status as a Jesuit Catholic university obligates us to encourage others to avoid sinning in the eyes of the Christian religion. For some, in the case of homosexuality, this means asking people to refrain from accepting themselves entirely and to only limit themselves to heterosexual relations for the purpose of procreation (or simply remain celibate).

Using the Bible to argue against gay marriage—and self-expression regardless of sexual orientation—when less convenient sections of the New Testament are ignored, should cast serious doubts on the intentions of those who use it to justify any infringement upon the rights of others. Why do the sections of the Bible that are more hostile to homosexuality get more attention than those which prohibit being sexually attracted to a woman (Matthew 5:28), calling your paternal parent ‘Father’ (Matthew 23:9) and promote hating one’s family (Luke 14:26)? Cherry picking the most convenient passages out of a sacred text to justify the oppression of others is unacceptable; doing so undermines the principled doggedness of those who use the Bible to justify their own agenda.

The issue of infringing upon another human being’s freedom is paramount in this debate. Sexual orientation, heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise, is not a choice and the nature of relationships between consenting adults should be of no concern to those who may disapprove. Someone who chooses to be sexually active and be emotionally involved with someone else has made a very personal decision, and it deserves just as much respect as when someone chooses to be abstinent and not act on their desires. It’s unfair for someone to ask another human being to conform to their way of living because it suits their morals and values. Similarly, if people fall in love, how they express it is their business. If they want to express their affections and loyalty for each other by signing a legal document and call each other husband, wife or partner, what right has somebody else’s religion to interfere?
On a personal level, I feel sad when people call my friends sinners because of who they are and who they choose to love. I have queer friends as well as non-queer friends, and I believe they’re good people. I look forward to meeting the people they’re romantically attached to. When my friend Catherine introduced me to her then-fiancée (now husband) Justin, I was thrilled for them just as I’m sure I will be thrilled when one of my friends, who happens to be gay, introduces me to the individual they want to spend the rest of their life with.

Religion has no place in the legal institution of marriage and it’s unacceptable to pick the parts of the Bible you like to justify the oppression of others. To deny people the right to express their love, commitment and sexuality and forcing others to live by a particular set of beliefs is unjustly coercive and can fall outside of the loving spirit of faith and religion.

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