To All Christians: What is Marriage?

In my first two years at University of San Francisco, I have heard Catholic students and even our own Jesuit priests either dismiss the issue of same-sex marriage as unimportant, or maintain that God intends marriage to include same-sex couples. Otherwise, they act as though it does not matter that self-proclaimed Christians unquestioningly accept the LGBTQ lifestyle and gay marriage. For example, a number of Christians I know support the Queer Alliance, which helps people embrace their homosexuality and defends gay marriage. The Alliance has a right to exist on campus, but I wonder why the Jesuits don’t act as a light to all Christians and make it clear that true Christian support of the LGTBQ community includes necessarily helping people realize their call to chastity—which may mean celibacy.

What is the origin of marriage according to Christianity? In the book of Genesis, God institutes this sacred gift. After forming Man, God sees that Man longs for a companion that will complement him. When God creates Woman, Man proclaims: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Directly following this, we read: “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:23-24).

The Man’s words signify that he sees a part of his own person in the Woman, which makes them one in union. As much as two males or two females may have deep concern and affection for one another (nobody is denying this), they cannot unite into one flesh as husband and wife. God and, accordingly, nature make it clear that while husband and wife may produce children, no two males or two females can do likewise and, thus, for these two reasons should no Christian say that marriage is possible between persons of the same sex.

The same message can be found in the words of Christ Jesus. When Jesus spoke against divorce, he said: “Have you not read that the One who made them at the beginning made them male and female?…So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6). By referring to the creation of males and females, Jesus is affirming God’s intention to distinctly create men and women, whose complementary union constitutes marriage.

Not all the desires we have are good even if they are in some way beyond our control, and not all that we long for and think may be good is actually beneficial. Christians do not have the right to simply ignore or modify what God has decreed. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that two men or two women should consider themselves married. As Saint Paul reminds all Christians: We are not called to conform to the changing ways of the world, but we are called to lead the world to conform to the unchanging truths of our Creator.

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