Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kimec on Marriage

Doug Kimec, a "Catholic" theologian famous for his dissent, has recently said that the state should stop issuing marriage licenses altogether, rather replacing them with something he would call "civil licenses". Article
Speaking to, Pepperdine University law professor Doug Kmiec said that although his solution to disputes over the definition of marriage might be “awkward,” it would “untie the state from this problem” by creating a new terminology that would apply to everyone, homosexual or not. “Call it a ‘civil license’,” he said.
A rose by any other name...

Kmiec argued “civil licenses” would address the question. He proposed the state withdraw from “the marriage business” and do licensing “under a different name” to satisfy government interests for purposes of taxation and property.

Under his proposal, “the question of who can and cannot be married would be entirely determined in your voluntarily chosen faith community,” he added, saying that the proposal would reaffirm the significance of marriage “as a religious concept,” which has a much fuller understanding than is found in civil marriage.

A civil marriage is a contractual agreement, essentially, and a Christian marriage is a Sacrament, this is true, but renaming the institution does not change, at essence, what it is. Many years ago, I decided that this was the ideal solution to the civil union/marriage disagreement. This opinion was inspired by my then secularism and libertarianism. I couldn't fathom what the problem would be with this solution, it was win-win. Churches could keep their marriages, homosexuals could get their civil unions, and we wouldn't have a separate but equal situation.

The question is, though, why does the government even recognize marriages in the first place; we must consider this and understand it before we can see the problems here. Married people get a tax break over two separate people, even if they live together. The tax break is given because the government wants to encourage marriage over just casual cohabitation. The institution of the family is, therefore, encouraged. This change, therefore, would shift the focus from the family to simply monogamous relationships, for which there is no necessary gender complementarity.

So, why is Kmiec wrong here? The Catechism says that "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered... Under no circumstances can they be approved." (CCC 2357) I seem to recall reading that the state had an obligation to protect marriage, though I can't find a reference. Either way, it is clear that a Catholic politician or theologian ought not support state policies which could be construed to support homosexual acts, at the very least.

This was not the best story to wake up to.


Christina said...

From the sound of things Kmiec has yet to find a liberal cause he didn't like. I wonder when he ran off the rails.

Personally I fear the fight against gay "marriage" is a losing battle. Traditional marriage has become so eroded over the decades by contraception and easy divorce that the way to gay "marriage" is wide open. Lord knows I don't want to see it happen...but that is where we are headed.

James Garrison said...

To be honest, I think there is much hope to be had in the defense of traditional marriage. Anywhere it has went for a vote among the people traditional marriage has been upheld.