EWTN Catholic Q&A
Gay Marriage
Question from anonymous on 09-09-2012:

I am reacting to a statement you made on traditional and gay marriage very recently. You stated that without God, marriage can be defined however a culture chooses. So how can we make gay marriage illegal? Man's law and God's law are two very different things. What is immoral and what should be illegal are also quite different. Catholics, as Catholics, can choose not to participate in gay marriage. But to force the laws of God onto hypothetically two gay atheists who wish to be married doesn't make sense to me. No matter what religion may or may not be practiced in a society, the laws must be determined through secular means. Obviously this means that I am for a separation of Church and State (as long as the two respect each other). Do you agree?

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 09-16-2012:

Dear Anon,

Even in a purely secular society there has to be laws which have coercive power. Otherwise anything goes, a practice which leads to the destruction of a society. Now at this point in time same sex marriage is allowed in some states but not allowed in others. In those states where it is allowed, it would be against the law for a Justice of the Peace not to officiate at such a marriage. Where same sex marriage if not allowed, it would be against the law for a justice of the peace to officiate at such a ceremony. Either way people are going to be forced to do something they do not wish to do. You can't get around that. Where there is a union of Church and State or whether there is separation,people will be forced by the law. For instance, if the law allows same sex marriage, then teachers in school will be forbidden to call it a sin. If the law forbids same sex marriage, then those who want it cannot have it. Either way, somebody is going to be forced to act according to the law. There is no such thing as absolutely freedom.

Dr. Geraghty