ASK FATHER: Can friends of same sex “marry” to avoid deportation?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

A friend of mine is a faithful homosexual Catholic, in a committed chaste relationship with another homosexual Catholic since years [in a non-USA country]. He is [from non-USA country A] and his partner [from non-USA country B]. In accordance to the [country B] law for foreign students, he has only a few months left to find a job in order to avoid eviction. Since the search is not going so well, he and his partner are contemplating the possibility to “marry” so that he could automatically receive a residence permit. They know that it’s not right, but they seems to run out of time without another possibility.

My question is, is a “marriage” with such motive and under such circumstances possible for the Church to at least tolerate or even understand it? And what are the consequences if they insist to do it?

Catholics are called to live in truth. We are obliged by the Commandments not to bear false witness.  We must resist cooperation with evil.

While the bond of friendship between these two men, both of whom labor under the tremendous burden of an attraction to the same sex, may be a chaste and holy friendship, it is not, cannot ever be, a marriage. Nor can it ever be anything like a marriage.

Marriage is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. It is, inherently, a covenant between a man and a woman.

For two men, whatsoever the civil law says, to attempt to enter into a “marriage” is to live a lie.

They would be deceiving the state, deceiving their friends and family, and deceiving themselves, even if they remained physically chaste and entirely continent.

They would be cooperating with a grave evil.

They would be living in an objectively sinful state that would bar them from the reception of the sacraments.

They would be seriously imperiling their souls.

One of the most damaging aspects of the contemporary fascination with same-sex attraction and its attendant circumstances is the diminishing understanding of true friendship.

Two men certainly can be friends, even very close friends. Even intimate friends … though not sexually intimate.  The Christian tradition is replete with stories of friends who are closely bonded and who help each other attain holiness. One major difference between the bond of friendship and that of marriage is that friendship does not require close physical contact. It can be a true and holy joy to be in the presence of a friend, but the bond of friendship does not necessitate physical proximity.

If these two friends, because of a certain immigration law, have to live separately, it need not mean the end of their friendship. In fact, since they both struggle with same sex attraction, their bond of friendship might grow stronger if they’re apart, since it won’t be clouded up any warped physical attraction.

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29 Responses to ASK FATHER: Can friends of same sex “marry” to avoid deportation?

  1. mamajen says:

    I’ve been through the marriage-based immigration process, albeit with a real heterosexual marriage. A sham marriage is a surefire way to get BOTH of you deported. As part of the process we needed to provide the federal government with proof such as love letters, photos, wedding invitation, congratulations from friends and family, and sworn oaths from two friends that our relationship was real. It’s an ongoing process. So yes, such a scenario is very dicey and would draw others beyond the “couple” into the lie as well. Not worth it for anyone, but especially people trying to be good Catholics. It is a real shame that our immigration laws are so restrictive, but then again things happen for a reason.

  2. discens says:

    I wonder, Father, if you are not being unduly harsh here. [No.] A civil marriage as currently defined is not, even between heterosexuals, a true marriage, if only because it permits divorce and remarriage to say nothing of other things (abortion, contraception et al.). So to contract a civil marriage is not to contract a marriage, whatever name it is given. It is purely a legal contract that confers certain legal privileges (as a commercial contract does, or a will). So to make such a contract is not to bear false witness nor to cooperate with evil. In fact those who make such a contract may openly declare that they are not married, for they are not married truly. ‘Marriage’ in the sense defined by the state is not a marriage as truly defined. Let the two friends in question say they have only a civil ‘marriage’ which let them also say is not a true marriage as defined by nature and the Church. There is then no false witness and no cooperation with evil — unless Catholics with a sacramental marriage who also contract a civil marriage are bearing false witness and cooperating with evil (for in saying their civil marriage is a marriage they are saying something false, given the state’s definition of marriage). But I speak under correction. [What they would be doing would be a lie.]

  3. Oneros says:

    It seems odd to be concerned about “deceiving the State” since by “marriage” the State intends now to refer to, for civil purposes, an entirely different institution than natural or sacramental marriage. The State’s laws now encompass such a relationship; there is nothing in the deposit of faith about what justifications the State is allowed to grant visas for.

    As for friends and family, I think it’s assumed in this case it will be a “discreet” thing at the courthouse purely for the de facto legal benefits, not some social declaration of equivalency to true marriage.

  4. frjim4321 says:

    I’m not sure about that reply.

    We were taught that a civil marriage could be conducted so long as the parties lived “brother/sister” in order to enjoy certain civil effects. [Ehem… you are leaving out something pretty important.]

    For example, and a specific case that was approved by the chancery, a couple [I doubt “a couple of men”…] preparing for a church wedding wished to marry civilly because it had to so with some kind of benefits since one party was military. Something to do with housing.

    The parties were not sexually active and planned to abstain until after the church wedding.

    This situation was approved for me by a higher authority.

    This situation is not identical, but analogous. [It’s not analogous, either.]

  5. Uxixu says:

    For all their spurious and fallacious demagoguery, the sodomites did expose some deficiencies in power of attorney and next of kin laws, which should in no way be exclusively tied to sexual fecundity, much less romantic love. It should not be so onerous to want to so empower a platonic friend or sibling as legal heir, for example, with all the legal benefits that entails.

  6. Fr_Sotelo says:

    In present immigration law, even a heterosexual couple, where one of them is an alien, are not supposed to contract legal marriage until the citizen spouse submits the required paperwork to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE has to approve of the application before the two can contract marriage. There are cases where couples thought that marriage alone would protect an illegal from deportation, only to find out later that this is not the case.

    In the case of an illegal who contracts marriage for the purpose only of avoiding deportation, if ICE later finds out about the circumvention of the law, not only will the illegal be subject to immediate deportation. That illegal’s name, also, will be recorded in Homeland Security records as being barred from the United States–for life, with no chance for appeal. ICE has authority to investigate suspicious marriages at any time, even dropping in to the home and workplace to interview acquaintances.

    This is in addition to Fr. Z’s advice that a good Catholic should be witness to the truths of Catholic Faith, in civil matters as well as religious.

  7. discens says:

    This discussion is proving very interesting and good points are being made on both sides. One question though: when a heterosexual couple gets a civil marriage and the state checks to see if it is genuine, do they check to see if the couple are engaging in sexual intercourse? If it turned out that they were not (and by choice, not by some physical impediment), would the state say the civil marriage was not a genuine civil marriage? I somehow doubt it. And if a homosexual couple were also voluntarily not engaging in acts of sex but were otherwise sharing their life together, as living in the same house, going on vacation together, taking photos together, even writing letters of loving but chaste attachment, etc., and were known by mutual friends to be so doing (and known by the same friends to be living chastely as per the teachings of the Church), would the state say their civil marriage was not a civil marriage? I doubt it. Further, would the Church say they were doing anything wrong? Again I doubt it. But suppose I am wrong, what mistake am I making — either as to the requirements of civil law or as to those of Church law?

  8. discens says:

    PS. When I ask in my last sentence what mistake I am making, I would like as specific answers as possible relative to the case described. So for instance if the answer is ‘they are committing a lie’, it would be nice to know what lie they are committing. Here I really am a ‘discens’.

  9. Fr Jim, your example is completely different. For starters, your situation was a man and a woman who intended matrimony in the Catholic sense. This situation is two men, who can’t marry in the eyes of God. This remains true, no matter how much fun/edgy it might be to fudge the issue on the grounds of ‘compassion’.

    Fr Z is right. I know it seems hard, but you can’t live your life based on a lie, and you certainly can’t have a lasting, wholesome and beneficial relationship based on a lie.

    Not going through with a lie will cause both these men some degree of suffering, but that doesn’t mean that it makes it OK to lie to everyone. I’ve watched several nominally Catholic couples I know tell lies in front of their family, and friends, and God, in Catholic marriage ceremonies, mostly along the lines of accepting children willingly from God – when they’ve made it clear beforehand that they will be doing no such thing. That’s caused ME a lot of suffering, but I suppose my suffering doesn’t count in this situation …

    If they have to separate, or if one or both of them has to return to their country of origin/s, then if they really do have a committed chaste friendship, they will find a way to be together again and continue this good friendship. This is an opportunity for real grace, which will bless not only them for their good example to everyone, but will strengthen their friendship through what is really a small trial in the bigger scheme of things.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The friend and his “partner” are identified as from two different non-USA countries and living “in a non-USA country”.

    How decisive, or of how much weight, are the details of a given country’s laws, in such casuistry?

    For example, if there are laws that do not put things in terms of ‘marriage’? When the Civil Partnership Act 2004 was going through Parliament in England amendments were tabled “to extend the property and pension rights afforded by civil partnerships to siblings who had lived together for more than 12 years” and “to extend eligibility for civil partnership to blood relatives who had lived together for a minimum period of time” (to quote Wikipedia).

    They were ultimately unsuccessful, but would have made ‘civil partnerships’ more like what discens characterizes as “purely a legal contract that confers certain legal privileges” rather than a sort of same-sex simulacrum of a marriage.

    I don’t know if any countries have ‘non-simulacrum civil partnerships’ open to various sorts of ‘partners’, but presumably some such ‘partnership’ would be open to undertaking by the friend and partner discussed here.

    But would the possibility or impossibility of a ‘simulacrum restricted civil partnership’ depend on the exact wording of the law? A curious development in England thereafter was the Church of England permitting clergy to enter ‘civil partnerships’ if they explicitly promised there was no ‘genital activity’ (so to put it: I don’t remember just how they put it). But, so far as I know, the Church there has not countenanced such a possibility for anyone.

  11. Grumpy Beggar says:

    discens says:
    “This discussion is proving very interesting and good points are being made on both sides. One question though: when a heterosexual couple gets a civil marriage and the state checks to see if it is genuine, do they check to see if the couple are engaging in sexual intercourse? If it turned out that they were not (and by choice, not by some physical impediment), would the state say the civil marriage was not a genuine civil marriage? I somehow doubt it. . .”

    A really pertinent question.

    It’s been a few years now, but I remember on two separate occasions here being invited to the civil marriages of several (heterosexual) friends of mine [unnhh – it’s just so weird that these days we even have to specify “heterosexual” – thank-you so much gay lobby !] . I do recall , on both occasions that in their final instructions to the couples, both judges explicitly informed them that “husband and wife must sleep together.”

    It was never clarified to me whether the state , in so doing , intended to curtail the practice of contracting civil marriages for reasons outside of marriage , or whether they wanted to ensure new little citizens would be running around later on who could take their places when they were gone. Given that in the state here at that time, legalized abortion was already a done deal, I would suspect the latter in terms of justification.

  12. Scott W. says:

    what mistake am I making — either as to the requirements of civil law or as to those of Church law?

    That marriage is between a man and a woman isn’t “merely” Church law, it’s Divine Law.

  13. discens says:

    To Grumpy Beggar: thanks for the information. I doubt though that the state could annul or deny a civil marriage in the case of people who physically couldn’t have sex. There would be a public outcry. So I suspect now that a legal requirement that civilly married couples have sex together could not be imposed.

    To Scott W. There is here a simple case of equivocation. Marriage in the true sense is between man and woman by divine law, by Church law, and by natural law. But no one can maintain that heterosexual civil marriages are true marriages. So the word ‘marriage’ is being used in different senses. Civil marriage has long permitted things that divine law, Church law, and natural law say are incompatible with true marriage (contraception, abortion, divorce, remarriage, anal and oral sex, adultery etc.). The adjective ‘civil’ as applied to the noun ‘marriage’ has become what logicians call a destructive adjective, since it destroys the noun it is applied to. The typical example given is ‘dead’ as in ‘dead man’, for a dead man is precisely no longer a man but the decaying remains of a man. The term ‘marriage’ in ‘civil marriage’ does not mean what ‘marriage’ means in ‘true marriage’ or ‘marriage according to divine, Church, and natural law’. Those who have a civil marriage, therefore, are, simply and truly speaking, not married at all. All they have is some sort of legal contract which grants to the partners to the contract certain rights and privileges specified by the state.

    The better thing to do, then, instead of protesting homosexual marriage, would be to change the name ‘civil marriage’ to something else, as ‘civil partnership’ or the like. One might even call it ‘dead marriage’ by analogy with ‘dead man’. If the couple described in the original question that started this discussion make a legal contract that is in no sense a marriage (in the true and natural sense of ‘marriage’), and if they make it clear that it is not a true marriage (but there is mere equivocation over a name), I fail to see what divine or Church or natural law they are breaking or what falsehood they are guilty of. Let the Church say openly and loudly that civil marriages are not marriages and are not recognized as marriages by the Church but are legal fictions or legal creatures of the state conferring only such rights as the state has legal power to confer (e.g. residency rights).

    It is indeed puzzling to me why the hierarchy, in upholding the Church’s teaching about marriage, is bothered about civil marriage at all. Civil marriage ceased to be true marriage long before homosexual marriage came on the scene. The hierarchy might be better advised to support homosexual civil marriage because such marriage, by its manifest mockery of true marriage, just proves what the Church has been saying all along: marriage, to be true, must meet certain conditions (e.g. no contraception, no divorce, etc. etc.), and anything else is a farce as a marriage. So if the state wants to perform farces, let the hierarchy sit back and enjoy laughing at the farce. For the louder the laughter the more evident will become the fact that civil marriage is a farce. Ridicule is likely here to prove a more potent weapon in evangelizing people about what marriage is than any number of referenda or judicial appeals or expostulations to politicians or bills in congress designed to save from homosexual contamination a civil contract that has been the rotting corpse of marriage for decades. Civil marriage is dead. Let the corpse putrefy and rot and smell to high heaven, and let us increase the rot and magnify the smell, so that all who have any sense of decency left will run from it in disgust and realize that, yes, the Church was right all along and that, yes, Blessed Paul VI was a holy genius and that Humanae Vitae bids fair to be the greatest encyclical of the 20th century. Blessed Paul VI the Great!

  14. The Masked Chicken says:

    “A civil marriage as currently defined is not, even between heterosexuals, a true marriage, if only because it permits divorce and remarriage to say nothing of other things (abortion, contraception et al.).”

    There needs to be a distinction and between sacramental marriage and natural marriage. Two non-baptized opposite-gendered persons contracting a civil marriage contract a valid natural marriage (certeris paribus). It is a true marriage of natures (male and female). Baptized people of the opposite gender, in a Church ceremony, in addition, contract a sacramental marriage. It is not right to say, “Let them do the civil ceremony, because it is not a real marriage.” In many cases, it can be.

    People of the same sex cannot get married, however, no way, no how, because they neither marry natures, nor marry in sacrament (which presupposes natures that can marry). Thus, a same-sex marriage is, under every rational circumstance, no marriage. Thus, it is unequivocally, a lie, rationally speaking. That the government definitions of marriage are becoming more and more irrational and departing from the truth, does not entitle someone to take advantage of their insanity. The first principle of moral theology is that one may not use an evil means for a good end. A homosexual pair trying to do this is violating exactly this principle.

    “I do recall , on both occasions that in their final instructions to the couples, both judges explicitly informed them that “husband and wife must sleep together.”

    The judge is simply wrong and may be ignored, rationally. While it is expected that couples will sleep together, this is not a necessary condition for marriage, proper,since the Church recognizes so-called Josephite marriages, where the couples are celibate, with the permission of the Ordinary. The state may want children, but they are in no rational position to force the issue.

    Sorry, by the way, if I seem to be using the word, rational, an awful lot in my comments, above. That is exactly what marriage is becoming less of, these days. Marriage is a rational act. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rediscover that fact?

    The Chicken

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Grumpy Beggar (taking up discens at 5:23 PM yesterday),

    ‘Non-consummation’ is a ground for annulment, and I think I have read something recently (in the old Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent?) about there being annulments to civil marriages in some places, at least historically. Might something like that be in the background in the instances you met with? (I.e., that “husband and wife must sleep together” for it actually to be a marriage-not-subject-to-annulment-on-grounds-of-non-consummation.)

    discens at 5:23 and 5:30 had not yet appeared when I submitted before, but, again, with an eye to comsummation would much depend on whether or not ‘simulacrum restrictive civil partnership’ laws payed specific attention to what might be called ‘analogues to consummation’ (whether that corresponds to what has been or might otherwise be legally designated ‘sodomous rape’, or not)? There was certainly discussion at that time of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 in England about the strict impossibility of consummation in same-sex genitally active situations (with apologizes for the bureaucratize sound of that).

  16. LuxPerpetua says:

    This was a very crafty and deceptive question you were asked, Father! First how can chaste, faithful, homosexual Catholic friends be in a “committed relationship”? Either that simply means “friendship” or something else, like a love affair. Let’s be clear about ideas. Equivocation should only be used when hiding Jewish children in your attic during a Nazi persecution.

    Second, a good analogy to this situation would be if two first-cousins wished to civilly “marry” to gain citizenship. They would benefit for a while temporally but would suffer and inflict so many unwanted consequences. They would be living a lie and in a state of objective sin. They would be setting a bad example for younger generations. They would be ruining their reputations. The list of the evils caused and suffered goes on and on.

  17. Scott W. says:

    It’s getting off topic, but here is the Church on the matter: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

    Executive summary: the faithful don’t get to punt on the State legally rubberstamping the fiction of same-sex unions no matter what shell-game name is applied to them.

  18. Oneros says:

    discens really has the better argument here, though.

    There is nothing in the Faith saying that the State has to restrict certain civil benefits only to truly married couples (at least, outside things intrinsically connected like regarding biological offspring etc).

    If the State wants to extend tax benefits to business partners, for example, or let being your piano teacher be justification for a hospital visit, or allow you to sponsor a stranger for immigration, it can.

    So as someone said above, it really does come down to whether there is a “sex test.” If same-sex civil partnerships (under whatever label) are still premised on the same standards of consumation etc as marriage traditionally was…then yes there are moral problems, both in the State officially institutionalizing this, and in people claiming it under false pretenses.

    But in truth, as I understand it, discens is right: there is no longer a sex test, at least not in the USA. The civil institution (again, labels are just labels, and can admit of a variety of senses) is now something so broad as to encompass any “Mutual caretaker” relationship, at least between those who aren’t already kin.

    Though it’s troubling that places like Britain ultimately decided against letting, for example, spinster sisters living together be covered by civil partnership…in the U.S., at least, it seems like the State unintentionally created a situation where even two same-sex friends who are heterosexuals could honestly contract the civil thing in a mutual caretaker relationship.

    Was this their intent? Probably not. They created the new, broader, institution to cover gay genital-romantic partners. But without a sex test, they’ve unintentionally created something merely like a “mutual domestic caretaker registration,” and I can’t see anything wrong with that, nor dishonest with taking advantage of that, albeit the label they’ve chosen is unideal and confusing.

  19. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Scott W.,

    Thank you for the link to a document which it is good to reread periodically!

    Among the documents which it quotes and to which it refers back, is:

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19920724_homosexual-persons_en.html

    Section 15 seems particularly relevant to the current discussion here.

    In section 10 of the document you link, this impressed itself upon me: “This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the moment.”

  20. discens says:

    Thanks, Oneros. Very nicely put (and I say so genuinely, not just because we agree). I wonder, though, why the Brits excluded spinster sisters or the like from being covered by civil partnerships. Homosexual lobby opposition?

  21. Oneros says:

    I doubt that. It’s probably because the wider you extend these things, the more it costs the State. Plus, they’d say, there’s less reason to register people who are already kin and thus already have some rights accruing from that fact.

    In truth, this should be the focus of the Catholic approach to the politics of gay marriage: not to try to make the law again more restrictive, but to try to make civil recognition broader.

    Certainly to repeal any “sexual activity test” for civil partnerships (under whatever label) that might exist (though I’m unsure it does anywhere), and then also to fight for extending the “mutual domestic caretaker” category to anyone including siblings or an adult child and aging parent, etc.

    On the flip side, the fight for recognition of true marriage can’t be about a label. Language evolves. The important thing is to address real legally relevant distinctions.

    For example, for many things marriage might sensibly be grouped alongside other relationships in the “domestic mutual caretaker” category and covered by those laws. But there are other questions, specifically related to presumption of paternity and things involving biological offspring, that need to be covered specially.

    In the sentimental outbursts on both sides surrounding gay marriage, there are real practical issues no one discussed. If a lesbian gets pregnant sleeping with a man, will her “wife” really get a presumption of paternity? Without additional adoption or appointment as guardian? Where does that leave the real father? Does he have a right to see the child? Is he off the hook for child support? Is that fair? Is it right for the child?

    In truth, while both might legitimately be covered (among other things) by caretaker laws, there are two things Catholics still need to oppose: 1) any remaining “sexual activity tests” for eligibility for same-sex unions, which just make no sense and serve no logical purpose other than to arbitrarily restrict the category at a meaningless and immoral boundary-line, 2) gaps in the law that in their attempts to make all couples totally equivalent, leave out real issues related to biological procreation, or handle them in ways that do not serve the rights of children vis a vis biological parents.

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    dicens (at 10:15 AM) asks, “I wonder, though, why the Brits excluded spinster sisters or the like from being covered by civil partnerships. Homosexual lobby opposition?” Perhaps another answer is already ‘in moderation’, but I will note the examples Wikipedia cites: “Labour Peer Baron Alli, said the amendment was ‘ll-conceived and does nothing other than undermine the purpose of the bill’,[16] while the gay rights group Stonewall said the amendment was ‘unworkable and undermined hundreds of years of family law’.[17]” (I have not read the linked sources, there.) My memory of the debates was indeed of a lot of “lobby” opposition to what Oneros calls a “mutual domestic caretaker registration” on a more explicitly humane level.

    Oneros’s comment (12:17 AM) stirs a sadly vague memory of a widely-publicized proposal by men with no sexual interest in each other to take advantage of some such law, somewhere (though I have no idea how to search for it).

  23. Oneros says:

    I wonder how Alli conceived of the purpose of the bill.

    Surely, if there’s a rational legal argument for recognizing same-sex partnerships alongside true marriage, it is that both can fall under the header of this mutual caretaker idea.

    If the “purpose” of the law was allegedly to recognize that love and family come in many forms, and that people are often in domestic situations that are not heterosexual marriage or the nuclear family, but that nevertheless hold a similar place for them at least in terms of being interdependent, their primary unit of support, and the single most important person in their social structure with lives practically integrated on the domestic level…then this may be good, but there is no rational reason to limit it to gay romantic partners.

    Romantic love is a social construct, especially this idea of linking it to pair-bonding through genital intimacy specifically. It’s arbitrary. You’re already overturning centuries of family law by including gay stuff!

    You have to treat like things like, and if the State is saying that civil marriage has already for a long time been less about breeding and more about recognizing the practical interdependence and integration of people’s lives (both for the pair, and for any dependents they might also be guardian of) for the sake of support and stability…then limiting this mutual domestic caretaker registration only to breeding pairs may be discriminatory, but then so is limiting it only to sexual partners period.

    Which is why, as I understand it, at the end of the day no “sexual activity test” was put in place, albeit people who were already kin were still irrationally excluded.

  24. discens says:

    To Oneros: Thanks for your very helpful response. Your remarks and your questions are penetrating and very much to the point. I second them all.

    To Venerator Sti Lot: Thanks for the extra facts you add. They put the Brit law into clearer perspective for me.

  25. dans0622 says:

    dicens said: “But no one can maintain that heterosexual civil marriages are true marriages. ” On the contrary, the law of the Church maintains it. I maintain it. Granted, I am speaking generally and from the perspective of a “defender of the bond.” Even if I was not usually acting as a defender of the bond, I would continue to maintain it.

    I think Fr. Z gave a good answer.

  26. discens says:

    danso622
    Thanks for the reply. If a heterosexual civil marriage is not a true marriage it is not a marriage, no more than a false diamond is a diamond or a dead man is a man. Since civil marriages include things that are incompatible with true marriage the term ‘civil’ as attached to ‘marriage’ is destroying the term ‘marriage’ just as much as the term ‘false’ attached to ‘diamond’ is destroying the term ‘diamond’. It may of course be that a heterosexual couple who have a civil marriage are truly married but if so it’s not because of the civil marriage ceremony or the civil marriage certificate but because of the commitment made by the couple to be married which, if properly made, would, quite independently of the civil marriage, make the marriage a true natural marriage. If the couple were also married in the Church they would have a true sacramental marriage. A heterosexual civil marriage that does not independently meet the conditions at least of natural marriage is no more a marriage than a false diamond is a diamond. If you think it is, may I sell you some diamonds?

  27. Oneros says:

    In other words, some civil marriages are marriages in the Catholic sense and some aren’t. Natural marriage is *one* of the things covered by the State’s “domestic partner” category (under whatever label)…but so are many other things which share aspects with marriage-in-the-Catholic-sense such as a commitment to prioritize and care for the other person, a practical integration of lives and finances, a shared responsibility for momentous decisions.

    I don’t like the insistence on co-opting the word marriage, mainly because trying to force language to evolve by the power of government seems very 1984.

    But as long as there’s no sexual activity requirement, I see no reason to oppose recognizing de facto domestic units or committed care-taking relationships under those aspects (as a Scottish Christian campaign once framed their push to have civil partnership cover siblings etc: “it should be about the living room, not the bedroom.”) And while the label may make me uncomfortable I’m not going to get tangled in semantics.

  28. discens says:

    Oneros. We are again of one mind. Thanks.

  29. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Oneros wrote, “I wonder how Alli conceived of the purpose of the bill.” I’ve gone back and read the source footnoted in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 Wikipedia article and would recommend it for a glimpse at parts of the discussion. For example, Alli is further quoted as saying, “This is about same-sex couples whose relationships are clearly different from siblings.” And Home Office minister Lady Scotland, “Opening up such a formal legal relationship to family members could lead to questions about the nature of the family unit, blurring the integrity of laws prohibiting sexual relationships within families.” Might one say, there was an intention of creating a distinctly limited sort of legal ‘partnership’ with insistence on including the possibility of certain “sexual relationships”? That, while (I take it) there is “no sexual activity requirement,” there is a sort of ‘possibility of sexual activity requirement’?