Issue One: Bishop's views on marriage

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Narrow viewpoint

Bishop David A. Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says the "purpose" of marriage is procreation and that is why same-sex marriage should not be sanctioned ("When Two Become One," Sept. 15 Forum). By that logic, any couple who is not capable of procreation should be denied a marriage license. This would include all women past menopause and heterosexual couples who are infertile for any reason -- not just same-sex couples.

Conversely, the bishop is making the assumption that homosexual couples are not capable of procreation. That's news to me. Many homosexuals want children and are capable of procreation, albeit not directly with their same-sex partners (yet). We have sperm donors and surrogate mothers. But I doubt that a pledge to raise a family by homosexual couples would be enough to sway the bishop in favor of same-sex marriage.

Let's parse what he is really saying: The purpose of marriage is to unite fertile heterosexuals who are capable of unaided procreation to produce directly related biological offspring. Whew! That really does marginalize anyone who falls outside the standard issue "norm." Maybe that is why his friend the good rabbi is a little more liberal in his thinking.

There are good reasons why we separate church and state. (I always say: Remember the Inquisition!) This is an excellent case in point. It is very hard to listen to a church that does not allow its own clergy to marry, with disastrous results, lecture the rest of us on marriage.

Just for the record, I was raised Catholic and I am a happily married heterosexual with no kids.

North Side

It's about love

Bishop David A. Zubik ("When Two Become One," Sept. 15 Forum) states that "marriage has always been defined and understood as two becoming one to create life." He argues that anything else is just a "relationship." Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, then, he would not recognize the marriage of a heterosexual couple who choose not to have children. Apparently he would not recognize any same-sex marriage for the same reason, even if the couple adopted children, creating his ideal -- "pictures on the wall of the generations."

Bishop Zubik, marriage is about love and commitment. If children are created out of that love, that is wonderful. The absence of children, however, does not diminish the love between two people, hetero or homosexual, and the commitment of their lives to each other.




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