The widespread acceptance of contraception leads to the
widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage, whether wittingly or not. All of us
who justify the use of contraception are responsible for creating the very
logic (mentality) that justifies extending marriage to same-sex partners.
The purpose of contraception is to render a fertile act of
sex sterile. Using contraception always includes a willful act to separate
sexual activity from babies. Implicit here is the belief that sexual union can
be an authentic expression of love even when the couple does something to
sterilize their act(s) of sexual union. In theological terms, it is the belief
that we can separate the unitive and procreative ends of sex: i.e., that we can
have the one without the other.
No matter what side of the marriage debate we’re on, we all
agree that marriage necessarily involves sexual union. What distinguishes
conjugal love from every other form of lovee.g., paternal, maternal, filial,
friendshipis that conjugal love is expressed and sealed through sexual union.
If, however, we believeas in the contraceptive
mentalitythat sexual union can be an authentic expression of love without also
including the openness to life, then babies are seen to be extrinsic rather than intrinsic to marriage. Openness to procreation, then, does not
belong to the very substance and definition of marriage. It is merely an option
for those couples who happen to want children.
This idea, however, opens wide the door to extending
marriage to same-sex partners. Indeed, it provides the very logic that
justifies this form of “marriage.” Same-sex sexual activity is inherently not
open to procreation. Their sexual activity is the kind of activity that is, by
its very nature, non-procreative.
Yet, if we accept the notion that sexual activity which is
not open to procreation can be an authentic expression of conjugal love and
that openness to procreation does not belong to the very essence and definition
of marriage, what is the possible rational basis for not extending marriage to
same-sex couples? There is none, because marriage has been reduced simply to a
loving, committed sexual relationship.
Some might object: if openness to procreation belongs to the
very essence and definition of marriage, we would have to exclude not only
same-sex partners from marriage, but infertile heterosexual couples as well.
This objection is not valid and does not hold weight. The sexual activity of an
infertile heterosexual couple is intrinsically open to procreationeven though
their sexual union cannot result in procreation. The sexual act of an infertile
couple is the kind of act that is open to procreation; the fact that it cannot lead to procreation is
accidental to the act itself. Under normal circumstancesi.e., functioning
fertilitytheir act could lead to procreation. On the other hand, the sexual
act of a same-sex couple is the kind of act that is never open to
procreation; the non-openness to
procreation belongs to the very substance and essence of that act.
Thus, one can rationally hold that openness to life is
intrinsic to conjugal love without excluding infertile couples from marriage.
Infertile heterosexual couples engage in the kind of act that leads to
procreation; homosexual couples do not.
Blessed John Paul II was prophetic when he wrote the following in Familiaris
[T]heological reflection is able to
perceive and is called to study further the difference, both anthropological
and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle: it is
a difference which is much wider and deeper than is usually thought, one
which involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human
person and of human sexuality.
We might add that the difference, both anthropological and
moral, between heterosexual and same-sex marriage is also one which “involves
in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of
human sexuality,” as well.