Volume > Issue > "Gay Marriage" Is Not Marriage. Here's Why.

“Gay Marriage” Is Not Marriage. Here’s Why.


By Monica Migliorino Miller | July-August 2012
Monica Migliorino Miller is Associate Professor of Theology at Madonna University in Michigan, founder of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and author of Sexuality and Authority in the Catholic Church and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, to be published this summer by St. Benedict Press.

On May 9, 2012, President Barack Obama sat before Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America and announced that he is in favor of giving homosexuals the legal right to marry one another. “I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue,” the President explained in this nationally televised interview. He told Roberts that he initially hesitated to support gay marriage: “I thought civil unions would be sufficient…that it would give people hospital visitation rights and other elements we take for granted. And I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.” He ended by saying, “At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Obama’s statement came only three days after Vice President Joe Biden revealed on Meet the Press that he was “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And, quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.” Biden, who identifies himself as Catholic, is also “absolutely comfortable” with the legalized killing of the unborn. Thus, no one should be too shocked that he would also have a distorted view of marriage.

Many political commentators believe that it was Biden’s disclosure that made it imperative that Obama follow suit. According to the online magazine Politico, for example, “Biden’s statement of personal support for same-sex marriage…did indeed force the hand of the administration to let the cat out of the bag early. The Obama administration initially tried to tamp down Biden’s remarks, but the distancing angered gay rights activist groups that are a key constituency for the Democratic party. Thus, Obama went ahead and pulled the trigger on his epi­phany.”

Obama placed his support for gay marriage within the context of a personal evolution. This evolution, however, has taken an odd path, with twists, turns, and retracing of steps, such that one could easily conclude that Obama has always believed that the law should sanction gay marriage, but that he held his tongue when it was politically expedient to do so. He was pro-gay marriage back in 1996 when he ran for the Illinois State Senate, but he claimed to be against it during his 2008 bid for the presidency. Apparently, Obama’s views on gay marriage, up until now, depended on what political office he hoped to secure. We can safely conclude, therefore, that his thinking has not undergone any real evolution, that his 1996 and 2012 views have been his real views all along.

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