An underlying principle was set out by the founding fathers of the United States: Church and state are to be separated. This was done in order to prevent the newly founded nation reverting to the practices of the restrictive old world that they had just left. It appears that nobody told George W. Bush about their plan, nor was the Pope and the Vatican informed, as they both clearly feel it in their right to have church and state dictate together how citizens live their lives.
In a recent statement issued by the Vatican, the Catholic Church declared same-sex marriages as “gravely immoral” and called on catholic politicians throughout the world to pass laws against them. President Bush soon followed with a similar statement saying that he wants to make sure marriage remains a union strictly between a man and woman.
The Pope, as a leader of a world religion, has the right to make statements about what he deems moral and immoral. But when he uses his influence to suggest, “the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it” the Roman Catholic Church is clearly overstepping the boundary dividing Church and state.
Also, to suggest that two people should not have the stability, monetary security and legal rights that a state-recognized marriage gives them because they are of the same sex does not make any sense. The Catholic Church seems to suggest that legal recognition of same-sex marriages, or even state-sanctioned unions that resemble marriage, would undermine family values. They state that “the common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society.”
With marriages, according to Divorce Magazine, currently lasting a mean value of 7.2 years on average, it is difficult to imagine how the stability of modern families could be further undermined.
Modern families in most cases do not resemble the archetypal “nuclear family” of father, mother and two kids, anyway. They are often far more complex than this.
But most same-sex couples only want the right to see each other in the hospital, pay their partner’s bills and generally be seen by society as a couple, rather than two people that just happen to live together.
It is long overdue that same-sex couples were granted the same rights and responsibilities as any other couple. And it is certainly not the place of the Catholic Church to meddle in affairs of the state.
Besides, the Catholic Church on shaky grounds issuing statements of moral guidance so long as its own ranks are filled with people that commit their share of immoral actions.