Regular readers know that over the years I've posted lots of objections to gay "marriage" on secular grounds. Some of these posts can be read here, here, here, here and here; there are more, but that's a good start.
I make these arguments because I do think that the secular, human reasons to preserve marriage are important, and because I'm aware that I live in a culture too diseased to do anything but dismiss religious notions when these notions are raised in the public square. That said, I've been heartened to see, in the latest gay "marriage" debate out of New York, religious speakers and thinkers taking their place in the debate and pointing out that saying an argument has religious underpinnings does not automatically exclude the argument from the public square--unless we're going to admit that secularism is synonymous with atheistic nihilism, which is something secularists dislike admitting.
Rather than rehash my various secular reasons to oppose gay "marriage" today, then, I'd like to take a look at the religious side of this debate, to share my own religious reasons which, joined with and in concert with my understanding of the civil and secular reasons, are why I will always oppose the travesty of gay "marriage" and fight against it. I give fair warning to those of my readers who support gay "marriage," though: first, that there are religious aspects to my opposition does not negate my secular reasons; and second, since you already reject fundamental Christian teachings about morality, particularly sexual morality, and virtue, you will probably lack the basis even to understand what I'm talking about here. In a word, I write this for the benefit of my Catholic and orthodox (or Orthodox) Christian readers who possess the framework in Scripture and understanding of Church teaching to get this. It is my personal understanding of what the Church teaches, and is, as always, subject to fraternal correction by anyone who knows better than I do (and there are many who do).
From the beginning God intended man and woman to live in a covenanted union with three distinct aspects: life-long permanence, exclusivity, and fruitfulness--this last finding its fullest expression in the gift of children who are the natural and expected result of the union. The creation accounts in Genesis show our first parents, Adam and Eve, in this type of union; even after the Fall their union continues and produces the first of our ancestors. Marriage, then, in the order of creation, pre-dates even the Fall of Man.
Why? I think it is because human marriage, in its blurred and imperfect way, first points to and then echoes, however distantly, the mystical union of Christ with His Church. The Bridegroom lays down His life for His spotless Bride; the Bride submits in all things perfectly to Her divine Spouse; the outpouring of His divine life through her calls into being, through the waters of Baptism, the spiritual children of God, who then share in the living nourishment of grace, most perfectly in the Blessed Sacrament in which the Bridegroom becomes present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity for the feeding and strengthening of His family. The union of Christ and His Church is to be of at least earthly permanence (since He promised she would endure until the end of time); it is exclusive (He does not have many Brides, but one); and its fruitfulness can be seen stretching back to the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when the Church came into being.
In order to reflect the union of Christ and His Church, then, human marriage must be ordered toward those three things: permanence, exclusivity, and fruitfulness. (It should be noted, as concerns the last, that "ordered toward fruitfulness" means simply that a man and a woman must be physically capable of the reproductive act; those who are not may not marry, according to the Church, but those who are must not necessarily be capable of fertility, which is always a gift, and may not be commanded.) There have been many human attacks upon this image of marriage: polygamy, adultery, divorce, contraception, the use of sex outside of marriage, and so on have all attacked the reflection of the mystical union of Christ with His Church. Gay "marriage" is just a newer variation on the old theme.
Each of these attacks on marriage is a twisting and corrupting of the human experience in order to shatter any possibility of the likeness of God and His Will in them. We have many similar twisting corruptions in our culture--abortion is one, as it is a twisting of a child's mother into his bitterest enemy, the one who orders his destruction and pays for his killing--and gay "marriage" is another. The gender-difference and complementarity of the couple which reflects the union of Christ and His Church; the couple's biological ability to participate in an act of love which in its highest expression calls forth into being a new person, created in God's image and likeness, which is both a reflection of and an entering into God's creative power; the appreciation of sexual morality and the call for chastity both outside and inside of marriage which is a reflection of the holiness and purity of God; all of these are tossed aside as unnecessary and unimportant to the new definition of gay "marriage." Instead, there is a coinciding--not a joining or a union in any real sense--of, to continue the metaphor, two false gods and no church, or two faithless churches and no God--with no power to participate in the act of procreation, no possibility of fruitfulness, no purification of the sexual desire, no mutual growth in holiness of the couple--nothing of what Christian marriage is about at all. Gay "marriage" is, in fact, ordered toward sinful acts and ordered against God; it is ordered toward the eternal damnation of those who enter it, not their mutual growth in holiness and working toward salvation. It is powerless to draw a couple immersed in it closer to Christ (except by their eventual rejection of its evil, which is always devoutly to be prayed for). It is, in a Christian sense, nothing like marriage at all, except as a demonic inversion of it.
And no power in Heaven or on earth can ever make it anything else.
New York hovers at the edge of the abyss on the question of redefining marriage to include this demonic inversion called gay "marriage." I ask my fellow Christians to pray for New York and for the defense of marriage; I further ask my fellow Catholics and any fellow Christians who wish to do so, to join me specifically in this prayer (Latin or English, your choice):
Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio.
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis,
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute, in infernum detrude.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.