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Maine's Bishop Wants To Leave Society Just A Stone

Bishop Richard Malone, who claims Maine as under his jurisdiction for preaching, is working to gain publicity for himself by making wild statements about the legalization of marriage equality for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, in that state. So, I’ll throw Mr. Malone a bone – I’ve mentioned his name here, and given him some publicity. That’s as far as I’ll let his egotistical little game go, however. I’m not going to pretend that Mr. Malone’s rant makes any sense.

jcliffordMalone calls legalization of same-sex marriages a “dangerous sociological experiment”. He complains that it will damage heterosexual marriage, which he says “has served as the cornerstone of society”.

Malone doesn’t seem to have reflected on the inept nature of his architectural metaphor. Sure, maybe heterosexual marriage has been a cornerstone of society, but the thing about cornerstones is that people expect other stones to be laid next to them, and on top of them. That’s what makes a building a building. If we just kept Malone’s favored cornerstone, and didn’t add to it as time went on, then our society wouldn’t have any structure to it. It would just be a big stone, sitting out there, all alone. If heterosexual marriage really is a cornerstone of society, then its significance is enhanced as we lay the stone of same-sex marriage next to it. How could that cornerstone be damaged by having another stone near it, unless it were a weak, insipid stone in the first place?

Besides all that, Mr. Malone seems not to have reflected very broadly upon just what makes marriage the cornerstone of our society. Is it that it brings a man together with a woman, to sexually reproduce? Not really. Malone’s ideology may not yet recognize this fact, but it’s been a long, long, time since the survival of society was put in crisis by a low rate of sexual reproduction.

What Malone can’t fathom is that the essential characteristic of marriage that has made it a cornerstone of society is that it brings people together in relationships of mutual caring. Marriage creates families, and families care for each other. That principle works just as well in a marriage created when two people of the same gender form a couple as when a heterosexual couple gets married.

Malone can’t see that same-sex marriage fits very well within the important traditional dimensions of marriage. Far from endangering the institution of marriage, legalizing same-sex marriage makes the institution stronger.

All Mr. Malone needs to do confirm that fact is to look across Maine’s southern border into Massachusetts. It’s been five years now since same-sex marriage was legalized there, and the majority of Massachusetts voters continue to support it. That’s because having marriage as a legal option for same-sex couples has not ruined heterosexual marriage in Massachusetts. Heterosexual couples continue to get married in Massachusetts, just as they did five years ago. Nothing has changed for them. Equality doesn’t hurt their relationships one bit, it turns out.

If the stability of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts hurts anything, it’s the reputation of the Catholic Church, which people can now see was making a big fuss about nothing. But then, the Catholic Church has plenty of other problems on its hands, such as that nasty tradition of pedophile priests. It may not be same-sex marriage that withers the Catholic Church, after all, but the weird sexual habits of the church’s own leaders.

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