This past week, I’ve posted a series of brief columns on the same-sex marriage issue. The reader will notice that I frequently use the term “same-sex attractions” (SSA). That’s intentional. It’s a more precise, inclusive term. Words like “gay” and “lesbian” tend to be used by those who have embraced the homosexual lifestyle and the “gay agenda” as it’s commonly understood.
Persons with SSA would include not only those who identify themselves as gay or lesbian, but also those who have never acted upon such inclinations and who don’t buy into the “gay agenda.”
Homosexual or homosexuality in its common usage is a little more vague than same-sex attractions. To be clear, homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex (Catechism, no. 2357).
The problem, in my estimation, comes with using “homosexual” as a noun. Then it’s really no different from gay and lesbian—in other words, it’s defining a person based on his or her sexual inclinations. Rather, God made us male and female, and some males and some females experience SSA.
Our society has largely lost its sense of the intrinsic worth of the human person, so we tend to define ourselves through external, secondary characteristics. That is never good, but it’s especially tragic when those with SSA define themselves as “gay.” Once they are so defined, they give up hope of ever being anything else, and so through force and illusion they strive to change their environment—including the laws of society—to accommodate their lifestyle.
In the face of this, we must be ambassadors of hope and mercy, not wimpy enablers. Woe to us if out of silence or misplaced tolerance we allow homosexual relationships to take further steps toward becoming the legal equivalent of marriage. As St. Paul urges, “we must not be deceived” (1 Cor. 6:9).
To conclude this series, after Easter I will post one final column on this topic, in which I outline some practical things we can do to strengthen the institution of marriage.