Archbishop John Nienstedt pens a column today urging support for the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which Minnesotans will vote on in November 2012.
In his column in the Catholic Spirit newspaper, the head of the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese says that the media have it wrong: they “have chosen to mischaracterize this measure as anti-gay, mean-spirited and prejudicial. This is not the case or the intent behind the initiative.”
The Minnesota Catholic Conference, made up of the seven Catholic bishops from the state, support this amendment not for prejudicial or political reasons, but rather for reasons that are theological, biological and pastoral.
Nienstedt also quotes from an article written by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York:
We are not anti-anybody; we are pro-marriage. The definition of marriage is a given: It is a lifelong union of love and fidelity leading, please God, to children, between one man and one woman.
History, natural law, the Bible (if you’re so inclined), the religions of the world, human experience and just plain gumption tell us this is so. The definition of marriage is hardwired into our human reason.
To uphold that traditional definition, to strengthen it and to defend it is not a posture of bigotry or bullying. Nor is it a denial of the “right” of anybody. As the philosophers remind us, in a civilized, moral society, we have the right to do what we ought, not to do whatever we want. Not every desire is a right.
To tamper with that definition, or to engage in some Orwellian social engineering about the nature and purpose of marriage, is perilous to all of us. If the definition of marriage is continually being altered, could it not in the future be morphed again to include multiple spouses or even family members?
Nor is it “imposing” some narrow outmoded religious conviction. One might well ask just who is doing the “imposing” here: those who simply defend what the human drama has accepted from the start, a belief embedded in nature and at the core of every civilization — the definition of marriage — or those who all of a sudden want to scrap it because “progressive, enlightened, tolerant culture” calls for it.
And more from Dolan:
If big, intrusive government can re-define the most basic, accepted, revealed truth that marriage simply means one man + one woman + (hopefully) children, in a loving family, then, I’m afraid, Orwell’s works will no longer be on the fiction shelf. As someone commented to me the other day, “Wouldn’t it be better for our government to work on fixing schools than on redefining marriage?”
And resistance to this rush to radically redefining the ingrained meaning of marriage cannot be reduced to an act of prejudice against people with a same-sex attraction.