Monday, October 20, 2008

How does taking away the right to marry from same sex couples protect marriage?

Well, it doesn't. Proponents of Proposition 8 are spending more than 28 million dollars to take away the right from same sex couples to marry. They believe that doing this will protect marriage. What would actually protect marriage? 

I recall a conversation I had with a realtor several years ago. She told me that "if it were as difficult to get a marriage license as it is to qualify for a home loan, there would be a heck of a lot less divorces." In light of the current home loan crisis, perhaps lending practices also need to be reconsidered. However, she did make a good point. Having processed countless annulment cases over the years, I and many other priests have been surprised at the lack of due consideration that many couples give to entering marriage. Because of this collective experience, the Catholic Church in the USA has come up with several common sense requirements of couples prior to marriage. In my Diocese some of these include:

1) a minimum four (4) month waiting period after a couple requests marriage before the wedding can take place.

2) during that waiting period the Church requires a minimum of eight (8) hours prenuptial instruction. This usually means attending a weekend seminar (Engaged Encounter) where the couple hear presentations on finance, communication skills, sexuality, family life (including relationships with in-laws), etc. The couples then, are given several reflection questions. They write down their thoughts and feelings in a journal and then, privately exchange those answers with each other. 
At the Newman Center, we also required the couple to have a session with a marriage counselor prior to their wedding.

Now, if that were required by Proposition 8 THEN, they could sincerely claim that it was about "Protecting" or "Restoring" marriage. As written, Prop 8 does nothing, ZERO, to actually help any marriages. It merely takes away the right of same sex couples to marriage and in effect promotes promiscuity in society by unfairly taking marriage away from same sex couples as a real world option. 


Kevin said...

Fr Farrow, you hit it on the head! So many are NOT concerned with justice, they just don't want homosexuals to have the same rights as they do. I also believe there is a direct connection between this and promiscuity. Unfortunately, I am one of it's victims. I'm okay, but I struggle deeply with it. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I think it would be great to form a ministry where we could all meet on a regular basis for a healthy support group. Just a thought to throw out at you..:)

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

Perfect question!!! Brilliant answer!!! It doesn’t.

What is the FEAR that motivated these people to spend “28 million dollars” to protect their fear? This fear comes from within these proponents most likely from confusion about their own sexual orientation.

I am a priest and psychologist and having spent many long hours in both pastoral counseling and clinical work. I have found that TRUE HETEROSEXUALS are not fearful, at all, about same sex marriage. True heterosexuals are just as confused and upset by all this hysteria over people trying to stop same sex marriage, as it was said to me,

“What do they think (the Vatican) that once same sex marriage
is legal, all of us in heterosexual marriages are going to
leave our spouses and marry someone of the same sex. It is
pathetic and cruel. They certainly do not have too much
faith in marriage to begin with, if they think marriage
is so threatened.”

It does cause one to ask the question, “What causes these Proponents of Proposition 8 to protest so strongly against SAME SEX MARRIAGES and to willingly spend 28 millions dollars of tax payers hard earned money.

You have helped so many people to begin to have hope again that God truly loves them. Thank you on behalf of so many LGBTQ people, their parents, families and friends.

Anonymous said...

My husband is driving me nuts because he says that it's about children needing a father and a mother, and what's to stop the definition of marriage at gay and hetero couples--what about polyandrous/polygamous families?

I answered that the slippery slope does not apply in this instance when it comes to relationships of more than 2 people, and that children need people who love them, not necessary for them to be of different sexes.

This proposition is horrible, and it does nothing except to perpetuate homophobia and demean gay people as second class citizens.

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

I was corrected that it was not 28 million dollars of taxpayers’ money. Please, forgive me for my mistake.

However, this only localizes it to a select few number of people. It would be interesting to know who were the proponents of Proposition 8 who contributed 28 million dollars.

Serg said...

I only recently learned of your blog, but made sure to take the time to read each post today. I attended Holy Family in Visalia during your tenure there. Being a gay man I always felt a pull to leave the church as strongly as I felt the need to stay. A couple of years after graduating from high school I did in fact leave, attending mass infrequently over the next six or seven years, usually at my mother's request. It wasn't until this past May when my gradmother passed away that I suddenly felt the overwhelming need to return to the church. While I will always struggle trying to resolve my feelings for both my sexuality and the church's stance on it, it is people like you who fill me with hope that it is possible. Thank you for your words. They will continue to inspire me on my own journey.

Anonymous said...

The very sad part is that the 28 million dollars they've wasted on hate could have been used to help people who truly need it. With all these people facing the mortgage crisis and losing jobs, wouldn't it be better spent on assisting the community? Wouldn't that be the truly Christian thing to do?

Anonymous said...

Not to take away from your post today, but I wanted to
take a moment to ask those who follow your blog to consider being active in the following manner:

Every day on other blogs people are crucifying Fr. Farrow. I have tried to be the voice of reason in those circles (e.g., the California Catholic Daily, or the Daily Titan). But sometimes I feel the need for more than one voice there. Please, take the time to remind other Christians to focus not on the splinter in Fr. Farrow's eye but the log in their own.


Anonymous said...

I have always wondered if same sex couples already have the right of inheritance, medical, adoption, etc, why can't they have marriage? Some of these "relationships" have lasted longer than any marriage that I know, including mine.
I sat through 3 Masses this weekend listening to a speaker read the prepared speech about prop 8. Every time I heard it, I cringed. I will be voting no.

WifeandMom said...

So very true! Like I've always said, if people REALLY want to protect marriage, then they shouldn't allow drive-thru weddings and divorces. Celebrities shouldn't be trading spouses like they change their underwear. People who marry and divorce all within a few months are the ones screwing up the sanctity of marriage, not the same sex couples.

I remember when my hubby and I got married. We're Catholic, so it was an ordeal to get married in the Catholic Church, but we knew that's what we wanted, so we did everything we had to do. We did the whole premarital investigation with the priest who separated us into different rooms and made us swear on the bible while he asked us a series of questions about our relationship, then compared our answers for accuracy. We went to the Engaged Encounter weekend retreat, and we were engaged for 13 months before we got married. And that was after we dated for 3 1/2 years before even getting engaged.

Anyway, I wish that we could see more commercials for the NO on Prop 8 Side. I have yet to see a single No on 8 ad, but have seen several slanderous Yes on 8 ads that drive me nuts because they are twisting the truth to scare voters.

Keep fighting the fight Father Geoff. I'm glad you're standing your ground!

kkryno said...

Hello; Fr. Farrow.

I think that people who want to deny same sex couples the right to marry live in a world of non-reality. If they say it can't exist; then it WON'T exist. If they play ostrich, the GLBT community will just cease to exist.

When will folks just accept that we all are children of our Lord, and He created each and all of us?

Thank you so much for helping the public gain insight. Maybe there is hope for acceptance and love; which is what God wants for the

Anonymous said...

Geoff... I heard of this from our dear friend, and I am so glad to know there is someone out there who will stand up for this! I miss you and hope everything is going well for you! I am sure it is, you are a wise man! Keep it up! _Cristobal_

Марко Фризия said...

If Prop 8 contained a "traditionalist" clause criminalizing adultery, limiting heterosexuals to only one legally recognized marriage for life, making divorce more difficult, no one would support this legislation. Prop 8 has nothing to do with traditional values or Christianity. It is all about legislation of bigotry. Blessings to you from the Balkans!

jmKelley said...

FYI: Here is my letter to the editor published in the Boston Globe (10/21/08) --

Faith in conscience

The ouster of Rev. Geoffrey Farrow illustrates that there are really two Catholic churches: the church of the hierarchy, and the church in the pews ("Gay Calif. priest ousted for marriage stance," Oct.15).

A strong majority of Catholics in the pews support either civil unions or full marriage rights for same-gender couples, according to countless surveys of Catholics in the U.S. and other countries. Thus Farrow expresses the sense of the faithful more than the pope and the bishops on this issue.

In rejecting Rome's position, most Catholics affirm the primacy of conscience, a principle deeply rooted in Catholic tradition. Thomas Aquinas often said that when in conflict with church authorities, "It is better to be excommunicated than to violate your conscience."

West Roxbury, Mass.

Martha said...

It doesn't protect marriage at all, and everytime I read that or hear it uttered I feel such frustration. As a Catholic, I would find it unconscionable to vote yes on Prop 8, a proposition that is based on intolerance and inequity. I'd really like to know how any Catholic can in good conscience reconcile their internal moral compass and an upbringing based on Catholic social justice with a "Yes" vote on Prop 8...How can one do that? Yet every Sunday I have to endure this sort of hypocrisy and a sea of "Save Marriage, Yes on Prop 8" buttons and bumper stickers at my church. It's even plastered on the newsletter for my parish. It's an assertion based on hatred, intolerance and any number of logical fallacies and I'm stunned that more priests haven't spoken up about the matter. For what it's worth, I agree wuth Kevin that it would be wonderful to have a ministry for a healthy support group. I'm in San Diego, but I'd drive up each Sunday.


Kevin said...

Another thought! We get a lot of talk about the right to life, right? That i totally agree with. How can we votre for a candidiate taht is so pro abortion. But that right to life MUST be carried over to ALL of life! That's where so many of our church's are dead wrong. They say, vote for life, but then say take away rights from a group of people who just want to find love. If anyone asks me why I didn't vote for Obama, but voted in favor of gay marriage I will tell them because a baby has a right to life and gay couples have a right to love!

David@Montreal said...

Father Geoff
the argument that my LGBT people have to be denied marriage to protect hetrosexual marriage is a little too much like southern biggots asking us to delay integration for a coupl of generations as they'r having trouble recognizing the Divinely created humanity of my black brothers and sisters.
just a thought


Anonymous said...

You've answered the question simply and eloquently - it just doesn't. There's no hidden agenda.

In response to Fr Marty's comments about who is sending the $28 millions in support of Prop 8? It's too easy and maybe wishful thinking that it's coming mainly from individuals who question their own sexuality.

Unfortunately, a large part can be accounted for by institutions that have traditionally fought against granting any rights or even recognition to all of us LGBT folk.

The Morman Church has mobilized its congregations and communities to send money in support of Prop 8, and they have, from all over the country.

Another large contributor in support of Prop 8 has been, unfortunately, the Knights of Columbus.

What kind of message are these people giving their own sons and daughters who aren't straight: I love you, but...?

And just as importantly, to their straight daughters and sons: It's okay to deny someone their civil rights because you don't like who they are?

Where's Christ's message of love in ANY of that? I don't remember hearing that He said it was okay to pick and choose.

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

I want to thank Steve V for his response to my thoughts about what might likely be the possible motivation behind the spending of $28 million in support of Prop 8. He has directed my attention to an even greater level of complexity related to this situation, groups. Steve comment was to me “It's too easy and maybe wishful thinking that it's coming mainly from individuals who question their own sexuality.”

I realize that there are a number of factors that are involved in what motivates people to be prejudice against LGBT people. Dr. Gregory M. Herek is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis (UCD). Dr. Herek’s website, he explains the complexity of the different factors that come into play regarding the motivations for sexual prejudice.

I understand the differences that Dr. Herek defines, but the DEFENSIVE FUNCTION that he describes is the one that I have experienced as being the predominate one, which is only based on the social environments that I have been closely associated. I realize that this is a bias and unproven theory. However, my situation is quite unusual and limited to a specific small population of people. The Kinsey’s scale of the break down regarding sexual orientation is that 10% of the population is homosexual and 10% is heterosexual, which leaves 80% of the population a COMBINATION between the two. I may have erroneously made the judgment heuristically basing it on my “coming out” in March 1997 to my parishioners and the greater area of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but not limited to. However, I did so from an observational perspective that only a very small handful of people have been able to do, which now includes Fr. Farrow. As a priest, a pastor of a parish “coming out” to parishioners is highly unprecedented, even more so in 1997and so the observations from this stand point allows insights into a situation not seen before by anyone. It is not as spectacular as viewing the earth from the moon, but in many ways it is. From my viewpoint, yes, I do think that prejudice against LGBT people is coming from a majority of people’s own conflictual insecurities about their sexuality. It is has become an area for research.

Fr. Farrow stated to one of the ABC news reporters October 16, 2008 that he came out to point out that Prop 8 is morally wrong but also to bring these issues of sexual orientation out of the silence, in the Catholic Church, which he is succeeding in doing. Fr. Farrow’s blog, as a priest, began a discussion that is so needed, at least in the Catholic Church; however, there are LGBT organizations, such as Fortunate Families that have been the forerunners, in their panel presentations to churches "Putting a Human Face on Homosexuality.”

In total support of Fr. Farrow and prompted by Steve V. remarks, I have decided to start my own blog, Fr. Marty Kurylowicz. Fr. Farrow came out in defense of adult LGBT people and I came out, 1997, specifically because of the psychological harm caused to children as young 4 and 5 years old, who grow up to be gay. I agree with Fr. Farrow that more open discussions and better access to credible factual knowledge is key in breaking through the silence of the Vatican on these issues in the Catholic Church. My purpose is to complement Fr. Farrow’s efforts and help to generate more valuable needed discussion.