Matt C. Abbott
March 17, 2014
Woman-theologian writes judge about gay 'marriage'
By Matt C. Abbott

With regard to same-sex "marriage," I'd say iacta alea est as far as the courts are concerned. Still, the following letter (slightly edited), written by Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Madonna University and founder of the Michigan-based Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, is worth the read.



U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman
Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse
231 W. Lafayette Blvd., Room 101
Detroit, MI 48226

Dear Judge Friedman,

Soon you will be making a ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder. Perhaps you have received hundreds of letters; perhaps very few; and I have no idea if you are even reading letters that seek to influence your opinion and whether you will ever read mine. The issue before you is, of course, very serious and very weighty, and will impact our culture and society for decades to come. If you want to skip to the [two italicized] paragraphs of this letter simply to save time, there you will find the climax of my appeal to you. But, of course, I hope you will take time to read this letter.

My brother was homosexual and died of AIDS when he was but 42 years old. My sister is now living in a lesbian relationship; thus gay issues have impacted my life in a most direct way. I loved my brother deeply. We were quite close all our lives, and I love my sister and I want her to be happy and live a life that is rich and full. I certainly do believe that those with same-sex attraction possess basic human rights – just by the mere fact that they are persons and are entitled to be treated with dignity, respect and understanding.

Nonetheless, nothing can alter reality that marriage actually means something, that marriage is something – that there is an objective order upon which society and culture are based and upon which they depend – namely that of the life-long unity of a man and woman ordered toward the founding of a family – a social unit of responsibility, innate identity and blood-ties that no government has any real authority to alter or rearrange or nullify. Marriage is not simply a private matter rooted in feelings, emotion and romance, but has an objective, social, moral character that provides the most essential and immediate stability for the advancement of the human race.

It is very obvious that no one person in isolation can cause new human life to exist. No man alone, no woman alone can do this. Only together in a bond of sexual unity, that should take place in a permanent shared life of love and responsibilities for the sake of that child, can new life, children be brought into this world and for this reason alone marriage is different from other social domestic arrangements. As a judge it is your duty to honor that difference – and not just as a judge but as a person you have a duty to honor and defend the truth about life, marriage and the family.

Legal recognition of homosexual bonds as marital bonds ultimately means that gender, human sexuality, being a husband or a wife, motherhood and fatherhood have no objective moral meaning. This also means that the family itself has no objective moral meaning. The moral law rooted in nature is completely dissolved. There would no longer be any natural familial moral bonds, thus no longer any natural moral ties and thus no innate moral responsibilities arising from the very nature of the family. All that would be left are social arrangement recognized by law – and who is to say that such arrangements ought to be restricted to those who are gay couples. If persons with same-sex attraction can "marry" one another, then upon what legal, much less moral, foundation can other arrangements be left unrecognized by law, and other persons who seek unity of whatever kind, be denied the benefits and privileges of marriage, including the adoption of children?

If the bond between two men or two women may be considered the equivalent of the one-flesh marital unity between a man and a woman, a bond that gives rise to children and the family, we are then saying that all human ties are strictly a matter of the will; only when persons choose to be connected to one another – by emotional, legal or artificial contrivance – are they then connected. And if the fundamental building block of society, namely the family, is essentially a matter of choice, those choices can be undone by mere personal volition. The family simply becomes a fragile arrangement of the will. No one is, in essence, a mother, father, husband or wife. The family unit is turned into a mere fragile arrangement of personal volition. Indeed, being a husband or wife, mother or father, is nominal, not real.

The family is no longer a unit cemented by innate natural familial bonds that actually cause persons to be mother and child, brother and sister – essential identities imbedded in nature itself that produce inherent responsibilities to which persons who have such identities must be held accountable. Nothing here should be interpreted to mean that sterile couples who adopt children are not parents. Their heterosexual marital unity, unlike homosexual pairings, participates in the truth of marriage and is a public sign of that truth. A married couple who are incapable of procreating children by a pathology nonetheless are still capable of honoring the life-giving meaning of their sexual intimacy. Their bond still contributes to the public support of the cultural, social and moral meaning of marriage. Their sexual unity is oriented towards life and the family in a way that gay sexual activity can never be.

Indeed, if you are looking for a cogent argument as to why the law must make a distinction between homosexual bonds and marriage – here it is: When a man and woman commit themselves to a lifelong unity of their persons, it is this type of union that leads to the begetting of children. The state has an interest in recognizing and protecting the unity between spouses and the natural blood relationships that are created by sexual marital activity. We need to take very seriously the importance of blood-ties in the building of society and culture. It is indeed these innate blood-ties that societies actually depend on for moral order and structure, beginning with the bond between a man and a woman that then creates the natural bonds of blood within the family itself. There is simply no substitution for this kind of cultural/societal building block. The state must support and protect marriage itself that creates the dynamic of the family unit, the unit that gives society its most sure, built-in, stable set of human identities and responsibilities.

Society is not the consequence of arbitrary self-willed human relationships. Of course engaged couples "choose" each other, but they do not choose the actual meaning of marriage. They do not "decide for themselves" what it is they are about to enter. The meaning of marriage precedes them. As stated above, marriage, as it is related to the building of the family, not only produces identity and responsibilities within the "limited" nuclear family; it is the first building block that creates, not only brothers and sisters, but future marriages that produce cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, great grandfathers and mothers, as well as great uncles and aunts. Laws do not create these worlds; innate natural bonds – blood ties – create these worlds – worlds that of themselves cause human identity and human responsibilities. Absolutely nothing can replace such natural world-building! And the law cannot create the moral responsibilities that come from such bonds; it can only call persons to live up to them! Again, for this reason, government has an interest in protecting marriage.


I have obviously put the last two sections in [italics] to draw your attention to these important arguments. And I truly pray that you will consider what I have said in this letter when you make your decision in this case.

I end my letter with these questions: Does not God have any say in a matter as foundational and fundamental as this – an issue that impacts what it means to be human, what it means to be male or female? Is the bringing of life into the world and the duties of parenthood simply arbitrary and accidental? If you have any religious faith at all, you should take your decision to the Lord of life and seek his wisdom.

This case is not about your opinion; it is about the truth.

Sincerely,

Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Religious Studies
Madonna University

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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