11 March 2012 by Michael Asciak
“The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation. According to this understanding, the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers – still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion – but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles”.
With this excerpt from the speech of the Pope on his last visit to the UK, given to politicians at Westminster Hall, I would like to comment on the recent suggestion promoted by an MP to grant same sex marriage to homosexual couples. It ought to be pointed out that we have recently passed an important change to our legal marriage regime by introducing divorce. I would suggest that we take it easy before rushing in to dismantle another mainstay of marriage. The effects of divorce will not be seen in this generation. The majority of Maltese still look forward to having a permanent marriage. Their compos mentis state at the time of marriage is one of permanence, for now. With time, a divorcist mentality will come in, where people unfortunately do not marry in a frame of mind conducive to permanence.
The issue of marriage for same-sex couples should be judged on its own merits. I must admit that I am not against cohabitation rights for same-sex couples as a state should regulate the existence of such relationships for its own regulatory reasons and the interests of the couple involved. Neither am I against same-sex marriage because of adoption issues. That is altogether another different issue that one needs to consider separately. Although most psychological studies seem to show no overt disadvantages for children raised by homosexual parents over heterosexual ones, and the considerations of an adoption should focus more on the saving needs of the adoptee than of the adopters, it may be too early yet to speak scientifically of the results of these studies. I have also read studies that say the contrary. More time must therefore pass and more extensive studies need to be carried out for a proper conclusion. In the meantime, I believe that caution should be the operative word.
Independent of this issue, I am against the marriage of same-sex couples because it distorts natural law and the distortion of natural law distorts reason. The distortion of reason then leads to the loss all forms of moral objectivity and order in society and it then becomes everyone for him or herself. The glue of society is then lost and society itself disintegrates. In our country, marriage is between a man and a woman. Looking at nature around us, this is the natural order of things and we know that offspring are necessarily produced by the relationship between a male and a female of the same species. Reason tells us that this is the essence of human marriage. Changing this means not only that the essence of marriage is changed but also that the essence of our laws and culture needs to be changed. I have just read in the Daily Mail that in the UK a father has just given birth to a healthy child, the fourth of its case in the world. I have also read that induced pluripotent stem cells could be used to produce an offspring for one partner of a female homosexual couple. Concepts of father and mother and male and female will soon be lost if we are not careful where we are going. The scientific world is moving at a pace that cannot compare to law and social expectations. The comfort of being sure that the mother of the child is the one who gives birth, an accepted legal maxim, will soon mean nothing at all.
We should not rush in where angels fear to tread. The choices of homosexual or transvestite couples should be respected and recognised by the society where they live. Measures to civilly register these relationships can be brought to fruition. However, it should not be under the form of marriage. Marriage with its rights and obligations should remain within the remit of a genetic man and a genetic woman!