Things I don’t understand

There are a number of arguments you can make against marriage equality or “gay marriage.” None of them are persuasive to me for reasons beyond the nature of this post. Regardless of intent, all are countered by the simple understanding that we cannot deny basic rights to one group of people if we extend them to others.

Yet the arguments make a kind of sense to me. Their basis is usually in fear and that’s a universal emotion, even if I don’t agree with the roots of that fear – usually an effort to hold on to some imagined way of life (the “traditional marriage” argument) that didn’t exist before and doesn’t exist now. I may disagree with the intent but I can at least get my head around it.

The argument Cardinal George made in a letter this week? I don’t get it. It’s not based in fear. It’s based in a kind of logic. A deeply flawed logic with truck-sized holes in it.

Civil laws that establish ‘same sex marriage’ create a legal fiction,” George wrote in a letter sent to priests today. “The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”

What does nature tell us is impossible? Reporter Manya A. Brachear explains:

According to the tradition of natural law, every human being must seek a fundamental “good” that corresponds to the natural order to flourish. Natural-law proponents say heterosexual intercourse between a married man and a woman serves two intertwined good purposes: to procreate and to express a deep, abiding love.

In fairness to Cardinal George, those aren’t his words even if the crux of the argument is. Here’s what I don’t understand:

Where does this leave couples who cannot have children due to a biological reason? If they cannot procreate, does their marriage run counter to natural law? Or if couples feel called to adoption – and as someone with just a passing familiarity of the domestic and international processes, make no mistake, it is a calling – is their marriage in opposition to the natural law Cardinal George feels is so important? What about couples who have a deep, abiding love but feel children are not possible in their marriage due to financial or other lifestyle concerns? Why isn’t Cardinal George trying to oppose these marriages? Is it because in Cardinal George’s mind he imagines they’re capable of both procreation and love and perhaps God will guide them to procreation by changing the nature of their minds or healing their biological concerns? Odd that the Cardinal views man’s mental or biological free will – a gift from God – with such contempt.

On a completely separate topic is this piece from New York magazine on what happened when the California State Teachers Retirement System, a public pension find, let a private equity firm called Cerberus Capital Management know it was less than happy with the firm’s ownership of a certain gun manufacturer:

Cerberus, it emerged, owns the company that makes the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used in the Sandy Hook spree (along with other gun companies). CalSTRS, which has $750 million invested in Cerberus funds, made it known that it wasn’t happy about this news.

Hours later, Cerberus — whose CEO’s father lives in Newtown — announced that it was putting its firearms holdings up for sale.

What I don’t understand is this: Could this method be used to reduce the widespread sale of guns in this country? A democratic political operative I’m friendly with on Twitter thinks it’s the ballot, not the buck, that stops the bullet.* And there may be reasons why the above wouldn’t operate at scale.

Worth trying to understand why or why not though, right?

* Apologies if that conversation is a bit tough to follow via the link. I’m not feeling up to Storifying it to capture the context and order of how it unfolded.

1 comment for “Things I don’t understand

  1. Madame S.
    January 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Indeed! I will not be procreating, yet, I’m straight and married…is the Cardinal going to ask me to annul my marriage? Doubt it.

    I give you credit for giving this some thought. My immediate reaction to hearing about Cardinal George’s letter was, “Eff him, he’s an A**.”

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