by Lisa Fullam [more]
Many Catholic contributions to the debate over civil same-sex marriage are too broad or too narrow. Too broad: civil same-sex marriage is sometimes described as parallel to same-sex marriage in the Church. Too narrow: some Catholic contributions to the discussion have centered on reproductive capacity, ignoring Catholicism’s rich tradition which values marriage beyond procreation. Here, I consider Catholic moral tradition on civil law: civil law is approached in light of the common good, expressed in contemporary societies in terms of equal civil rights. Second, I examine magisterial contributions to the public debate, which are framed in terms of a reading of natural law based in the Scriptural interpretation of Pope John Paul II. Such religious arguments may serve as normative for marriage within the Church, but do not reflect Catholic norms for civil law. Finally, I offer reasons Catholics might advocate civil same-sex marriage.