Sometimes the comments here are so good that I feel obliged to lift them out of their comboxes and post them on the blog itself, in the hope that readers who aren't following comments will benefit from them. Here's Boltingmadonna commenting a day or so ago about the recent ruling of the Maine Supreme Court that the National Organization for Marriage must now reveal who funded its political operation in 2009 to strip gay citizens of Maine of the right of civil marriage. Bolting's also commenting on Fred Karger's musings about NOM's likely funding base and about why NOM keeps fighting so hard to keep its top donors hidden:
Wow, that is just so interesting. Naive me, I never thought to ask myself, why would NOM go to such lengths to conceal its donors--even to the point of violating state laws? Duh! Of course, because it's the LDS and the Catholic Church throwing their million-dollar muscle around, while trying to pretend it's a grass-roots movement. They really never change. This is exactly what they did with the ERA, as described by Sonia Johnson in "Housewife to Heretic." Keep women and gay people down. Exalt a small class of (ostensibly) heterosexual men, while keeping the rest in check by ginned-up threats to the limited privilege they still possess. Dispense charity with one hand, while with the other making sure there will always be poor people in need of largesse. Preach against Mammon while using its power to grip the golden scepter more tightly. It is a time-honored strategy. One can only hope that the sunlight of democratic process and the electric light of the internet will finally render this particular Death Star inoperable--to mix a few metaphors.
And here's Terry Weldon commenting yesterday about the large majority of members of the House of Lords who voted Tuesday to permit marriage equality in the U.K., and about the support of Catholic members of the body for this move:
Bravo, Bill - Pyrrhic, indeed. But, just to provide a counter, note that here in the UK, equal marriage legislation yesterday easily passed its first hurdle in the House of Lords and with a margin sufficiently wide to promise similar passage through the remaining two stages. As before, Catholic peers were prominent and vocal in declaring their support (I'll be posting on this later).
I'm rapidly moving to the view that for practical purposes, the battle over equal civil marriage is now won: all that remains (a very big "all" admittedly) is a matter of timing. A more urgent consideration for the churches now, is - how to respond? How do parishes and parish priests now respond to their Catholic parishioners who marry same - sex spouses? How are Catholics to respond to their parish friends who are in obviously committed, loyal etc relationships every bit as respectable as their straight counterparts, and would like the witness and support of their peers, in a church blessing? How are we, as gay or lesbian couples, to respond ourselves - do we follow the crowd and call in the wedding planners, caterer florist, photographer et al for a "traditional" wedding - or do we give serious thought to what really should go into a serious marriage before God?
Gay marriage will certainly "redefine" the institution - but not in the way the opposition fears. It has the potential to force a fundamental rethink of the real, authentic nature of marriage - instead of the modern masquerade which often has much to do with Christianity as a "traditional" Christmas.
There is good research evidence that straight couples can learn a great deal from us about healthy relationships. They can also learn from us, about healthy marriage.
As footnote to Terry's valuable suggestion that married gay couples might well end up teaching heterosexually married couples a bit about how to sustain healthy marriages, see Candace Chellew-Hodge on the same topic recently at Religion Dispatches.
And as Chris Morley reports in a comment following Terry's preceding comment, a group of researchers at Melbourne University in Australia who are engaged in a study of children being raised by same-sex couples has just released its initial findings, which blow the bogus Regnerus study of "gay" parents out of the water. The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families is the largest sampling to date of households headed by same-sex parents raising children, and it finds children in these households thriving and, in some instances, actually doing better than the rest of the population on a number of key health indicators.