My mom, divorced 3 times, thinks gay marriage will "ruin" marriage.

My mom’s a devout Catholic, so I guess this shouldn’t have been surprising to me, but somehow I’d had the vague idea that she differed from the Church on this topic. But anyway, this morning on Facebook (I don’t care if “this is why you don’t use Facebook”, shut it) she posted some link to an article by a Catholic priest about how gay marriage will ruin marriage and destroy it as a concept.

So, to be clear, getting married and then divorced 3x - and by the way, she has a new serious boyfriend and they’re talking marriage, so that’s a grand total of 4 marriages: totally OK, no problem, God approves. Two men or two women getting married 1x: hell no, against God’s law, cannot support.

The hypocrisy just seems greater than usual. And for once I said something to her about it because I’m tired of keeping my mouth shut around her on the topic of religion. I’ve heard stories about other people who 'come out" as atheists to their parents and still manage to have a decent relationship with them, and I’m jealous. All my mom knows is that I’m a lapsed Catholic who doesn’t go to church, and she’s still constantly praying for me and trying to sneak religious materials to my kids etc. I should just come out already. If she’s going to pray for me anyway she might as well know what she’s praying for.

Ugh. There’s some totally mundane and pointless crap about my life for you. Enjoy. :stuck_out_tongue:

Out of idle curiosity, did your mom receieve decrees of nullity from the Church as to marriages 1 and 2?

She did indeed, Bricker, although she didn’t get marriage 2 annulled until some time after marriage 3 occurred. The Church seems to be a bit freer about issuing those things than it used to. Although I’m not really complaining about her divorces per se; marriages 1 and 2 were to abusive men, and I’m glad she got out of them. Marriage 3 lasted 15 years and then he walked out on her. She’s currently working on getting it annulled so she can marry her current boyfriend - who is also Catholic, and divorced, and working on his annulment.

My mom and step-dad are republicans who met while married, they divorced their then spouses and re-married. We’ve discussed gay marriage over and over and they’re finally coming around. During one debate, they were agreeing with one of their friends who contended that marriage was for procreation. Since they have not had children since their re-marriage, I insisted on a divorce. They backtracked on that idea quickly.

Recently my mom was saying that civil union should be enough since it was good enough for her and my step-dad. When asked to go into more detail, she said that she “wasn’t married in a church, but by a justice of peace, so it’s just a civil union”.

I replied “OK, so what does your license say?”

“My what?”

“Your certificate after the service.”

“Oh, that’s a marriage license.”

I paused waiting for that to sink in.


Incidentally, not that this is entirely relevant, but this August will be my 10th wedding anniversary.

If that’s the case, it’s not clear to me what you feel the inconsistency is in her approach. You say, sarcastically, that she feels getting married and then divorced three times is fine with God, but objects to a same-sex union.

But the whole point of a decree of nullity is a judicial finding that the sacramental marriage never happened – that despite appearing valid at the time, there was some hidden flaw that prevented the sacrament of matrimony from being conferred between the particpants.

There are plenty of points[sup]*[/sup] to disagree with your mom’s view – but this claimed inconsistency doesn’t seem to be one.

    1. The Church’s canonical law concerning marriage should have no effect on secular law, a point she should know since she recognizes the need for both a civil, secular divorce and a church-issued annulment.
  1. The decision to grant same-sex marriage rights by a state is entirely within the rights and powers of that state, and democracy means we acknowledge the legitimacy of decisions made thereunder, even if we don’t personally like them.

  2. If Hugh Hefner is permitted to marry a string of 22-year-old Playboy models, can we really say that we are adhering to some holy concept of marriage that would be destroyed by permitting same-sex couples to wed?

etc etc etc

ah, nm

Oh, I’ve always thought that the idea of “annulling” a marriage is a ridiculous run-around to allow people to get divorced without technically violating God’s law or whatever. Particularly since she’s now had two, possibly three marriages, one of which lasted for 15 years, and all of which produced children, that “never existed.” The Church can wave its hands around all it wants, but I assure you those marriages did exist in the real world. I remember being at two of the weddings. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, the article in question focused heavily on the idea that allowing gay marriage would lead people to devalue marriage, meaning that everyone would just get divorced willy-nilly. So for my mom to use that particular argument seems quite silly, considering her past history.

Very sneaky, Bricker, asking something out of “idle curiosity” and then using my answer to attempt to prove that, ah-ha, my entire argument is flawed! Columbo-style, man. I’m impressed.

Actually, it was idle – I was 90% sure you’d say that she had not bothered with annullments, which obviously would have made your point very solidly, and I was going to respond that it was an odd compartmentalization that she could consider herself a devout Catholic and still ignore the precepts of the Church concerning marriage.

Nor am I saying your entire argument is flawed, since I agree with you that your mom’s ultimate position is wrong. I just don’t agree that there’s a gaping inconsistency between her multiple attempts at marriage and her position on same-sex marriage as a threat to the Catholic understanding of marriage.

And I hope your comments about knowing the marriage was real because you attended the weddings were in jest. No one disputes that the weddings happened. But here’s an analogy: let’s imagine that, unbeknownst to everyone (except the groom) the groom was already married to another woman in another state. Under those circumstances, everyone would agree that even if the marriage you saw lasted 20 years and produced ten children, it would still not be a legal marriage.

The Church’s view of sacramental marriage is conditioned similarly: despite a putatively valid wedding, there must also be a real sacramental marriage, and an investigation after the fact reveals that there was not, then, despite the appearances, the time, and the children, it really wasn’t a marriage.

As I have mentioned many times here, my younger brother has been married and divorced eight times…and yet I cannot legally marry my SO and we have been together 31 years. (BTW, it looks like he might be again heading for the sanctity of marriage for the ninth time sometime soon…)

I wonder if there has ever been a study of the the Senate and House of Representatives to see what percentage of them have been married and divorced? After all, the sanctity is the supposed only one man and one woman, 'til death do them part - right?

[edit: This was in response to Bricker.]

Yeah, you’re not going to convince me that’s not ridiculous, and I have less than zero desire to debate the Catholic church’s position on marriage annulment in this thread.

I suppose if I were going to restate my original point somewhat, it would be that I find hypocrisy in her apparent stance that “Divorce is OK for me, because obviously I had good reasons, but it’s not OK for other people, to the point that we need to keep other loving people from marrying just because it might lead to more divorce among the people that can already legally marry.”

And I wasn’t really trying to harsh on you with my Columbo commentary, I just found it amusing. :slight_smile:

No one gives a rip what a bunch of old men in dresses have decided count as relationships between adults. The fact of the matter is that MsWhatsit’s mom has been married 3 times and is contemplating a fourth while an entire segment of society is being marginalized. The catholic church’s opinions hold no legal weight.

Apologies for the hijack, but I just don’t get this. Bricker, can you explain what a real sacramental marriage would consist of? How would one recognize whether the sacrament is real or not? Is it a tautological argument, that if the people in question split up, then clearly they didn’t have a sacramental marriage? Does the church ever refuse annulments, or is it just a formality?

I would like to politely request, not in any sort of junior-mod “you may not discuss this here!!” way but in a reasonable “I really don’t want to have this discussion” way, that if you have detailed questions or commentary about the intricacies of Catholic doctrine, you take it to another thread. Please.

I tend to agree with their friends. From the point of view of the State the main purpose of marriage is to provide a nurturing environment for the production of future citizens and taxpayers. As to that whole love, honor and cherish thing, you don’t actually need the government permission to do that.

Of course, this might work better in some European countries that only recognize civil marriage. You could get married in church and it wouldn’t have any legal significance.

True, but same-sex couples have and raise children all the time, but are still not allowed to marry. And of course we still allow opposite-sex couples who’ve no intention of or ability to ever have children to marry. You’re right about not needing a state sanction to love, honor, & cherish, but there’s alot more to marriage than that. Joint-income tax, tax-free property transfers, inheirtance rights, automatic power of attorney, pensions, immigration rights, marital communication privilege, duty to support one’s spouse, etc. Anybody who tries to make that whole “you don’t need government permission” argument to be together, but is married himself is a hypocrite.

From the POV of the State marriage is to combine& divide up assets properly…there are different provisos for having children.

I mean, I can get married tomorrow and no one will even ask if I want children. And now, gays can do the same in NYS! WOOT!

My proposal: Religious marriages (recognized by the church) should be left to the church. Civil unions (recognized by the state) should be left to the state. So the state can recognize civil unions of whoever they want to recognize conducted by an official of the state. If you want your civil union/marriage, etc. recognized by the state, then you should have to have a civil ceremony. If you want your church to recognize your marriage, etc., then it’s up to the church to decide if it will accept your civil union or require a separate religious ceremony.

Ah, your brother is like some actress whose name I can’t recall right now, who when some interviewer asked her about her many marriages, said “oh yes, I really believe in marriage!”, to which my mother replied “sounds to me like what she believes in is weddings”.

“That one believes in weddings” has since become my family’s way of describing someone on a 3+ marriage.

Omar, that’s how it currently works in Spain, and even though the path that got us there has its curious twists and turns, I think it’s actually what makes more sense.

From the point of view of the RCC, a wedding with paperwork is a way to simplify proving marriage. From the point of view of the state, a civil marriage is a way to simplify paperwork related to custody (of any dependents, including each other), ownership and inheritance.

Why should religious groups get a monopoly on the term “marriage”? For it’s first millenium Christianity viewed marriage more as a civil contract for the state to deal with, that it did as a holy sacrament exclusive to the Church’s domain. Why not just leave marriage to the state and let religous groups be the ones to invent a new term to describe their relationships?