Volume > Issue > Homosexuality, Contraception & the Defense of Marriage

Homosexuality, Contraception & the Defense of Marriage


By Patrick Danielson | March 2007
The Rev. Patrick Danielson is an Orthodox priest serving the Orthodox Mission of St. John Cassian in St. Augustine, Florida. Married with six children, Fr. Danielson also teaches philosophy at the University of North Florida.

Courts in several states have held that laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman deny equal protection under the law to homosexuals and so are unconstitutional, even if traditional. Indeed, American courts have been pouring away as worthless the liquid of tradition in which our moral ideals have been suspended.

Living Christian tradition, however, understands that human sexuality finds its fulfillment in the monogamous childbearing union of a man and a woman, wherein two souls are bound in the common struggle to regain Paradise. Alas, the overwhelming number of married couples use contraceptive technology.

The urges of the flesh cannot give rise to civilized cultural order. This is the work of the God-given longing of the soul for divine communion. In search of that communion, the sexual urges of the body are harnessed to the soul’s higher aspirations by recognizing that the twofold nature of human sexuality is ordered primarily to man’s eternal destiny. The Western Christian tradition of marriage is rich with understanding of the human significance of the divinely created sexual order. That order now stands precariously, in need of authentic and authoritative defense. But the widespread practice of contraception among defenders of marriage compromises their position, and so weakens their chance of defending marriage between a man and a woman.

The contraceptive ethos assumes that pleasure for its own sake justifies sexual experience, and this assumption effectively sunders the morally and socially indispensable twofold nature of human sexuality. The case against homosexual marriage thus becomes an argument for the moral superiority of one form of pleasure usurping another: Homosexual sex is inferior, for example, because it does not involve the conjoining of generative organs. Here one confronts a perhaps unseen and certainly unnamed obstacle in the forensic path of those who will defend marriage.

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