A Review of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right. By William May.

Emmaus Road, 2012.

In this brief booklet (a 40-page essay with 30 pages of Q&A) the president of Catholics for the Common Good lays out some helpful pointers in how to engage in the homosexual marriage debate. He shows us what the real nature of marriage is, why it is so important for children, and how it fundamentally differs from non-heterosexual relationships.

The most important aspect to this entire debate is to get a proper understanding of just what exactly marriage is. A faulty understanding of marriage will simply provide fodder to those who seek to deconstruct it for their radical purposes.

Marriage is not the mere public recognition of adults who are in a relationship for the sake of personal fulfilment. Any number of combinations could be called marriage if that were the only definition. Not only homosexual relationships, but two or more close sisters living together, or a threesome or foursome of committed, loving, adults, etc.

Image of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue
Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue by William B. May (Author) Amazon logo

Marriage, properly understood, has always been about that which unites a man and a woman with each other and any children who may come from this union. Clearly all relationships are not equal. The social good of marriage is the uniting of a man and a woman and the protection of any children resulting from that union.

If marriage had nothing to do with children, then there would be no need for state and public recognition of marriage. But marriage is always about at least the possibility of children. And children have a fundamental right to know and be cared for by their own mother and father.

Marriage is that public institution which specifically unites children with their own parents. That is why talk of “same-sex marriage” is simply an oxymoron. It is not marriage and can never be marriage. It is simply a radical attempt to fully redefine the very nature and purpose of marriage.

Instead of talking about homosexual marriage, May says we should more wisely describe the issue as “redefining marriage to accommodate same-sex couples”. For that is exactly what is being attempted here. And he offers a number of other pointers in how to conduct the debate on this issue, such as avoiding religious language, and so on.

In the second part of the book a number of common objections and questions are raised which are handily answered by May. He continues to offer pointers as to how best to frame the discussion. For example, instead of saying “I oppose homosexual marriage” say instead: “I oppose redefining marriage to accommodate homosexual couples”.

As to the question of allowing two types of marriage to exist side by side, May replies that this would simply weaken and nullify the real institution of marriage, and governments would then enforce the public recognition and acceptance of the counterfeit.

As to the supposed “right” to homosexual marriage, May says, “Everyone is made for love, but not everyone is made for marriage”. While plenty of loving relationships exist, not all of them are about marriage, nor can be. Recall that marriage unites children with their own parents.

And he deals with the claim that we all have a right to a child: “No one has a right to another person. Does anyone have a right to you? Thinking that way treats a child as property instead of a gift – a person of equal value and dignity to the adult.”

He also rejects the suggestion that we allow civil unions or domestic partnerships. They simply create confusion about the real nature of marriage, and again falsely imply that any and all relationships deserve public and state recognition and approval.

As to infertile married couples, May replies: “Not all married men and women have children, but every child has a mom and a dad, and marriage is the only institution that unites them in a family. That is the primary interest of marriage.”

But, some argue, “Changing marriage will not impact you”. But it does of course. Anyone who disagrees with the new law changes will be regarded as discriminatory under the law and subject to prosecution of various types. And that is happening already wherever such changes have taken place. Everyone is put at jeopardy if they do not accept the redefinition taking place.

And those who argue that heterosexual marriage is already in bad shape are missing the point; making it worse by redefining it out of existence helps no one. Sure, heterosexual marriage needs to be reformed and restored, but this is not done by altering its very nature and design.

Other queries and objections are briefly looked at here. This short volume is a welcome addition to a number of books which have appeared of late making the case for marriage, and withstanding the attempt to redefine it into oblivion.

[795 words]

7 Replies to “A Review of Getting the Marriage Conversation Right. By William May.”

  1. Is there a missing link in this debate?

    We all know and accept or at least ought to know and accept that marriage is for the benefit of children in a social guarantee that every child, wherever possible, has a right to know not only their mother and father but the extended families of the mother and the father just as they have a right to know the child.

    The missing link I am referring to is the certain possibility that marriage, by some and especially those involved in homosexual activity would use the marriage licence to adopt children and bypass the stringent test that adoption laws put on anyone wanting to adopt.

    Clearly, present laws afford equal status to all persons and couples except adoption and it may well be that the marriage licence is the way past that.

    John Abbott

  2. I like your comment John Abbott. How important identity really is.

    And thanks for the article Bill. Short but concise and gets right to the main points.

    Trevor Faggotter

  3. Hello Bill,

    Thanks, for alerting us to the existence this book. The Australian distributor Emmaus Road is Rainbow Book Agencies of Preston in Victoria (www.rainbowbooks.com.au). THe cost of the book is $9.95 + P&H. Its ISBN is 9781937155803. Rainbow also have other titles which would probably be of interest those people who want to educate themselves in ethics and related topics.

    Donald Battaglini

  4. Homosexuality is about sex, not about love, it even says it in the Word.
    We have to tease out the differences between sex and love. The 2 only meet in heterosexual marriage, for that is where God put sex. To reform marriage is to help especially the youth to understand and appreciate the benefits of the true compound concept of marriage.
    Gods richest blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  5. I’m sorry to paleo-comment, but I’ve only just become aware of your site. I was active for a short time in Catholics for the Common Good here in the San Francisco Bay Area, but stopped when rhetorical weaknesses in arguments became obvious but were not addressed. For example, his argument from the welfare of children is easily parried rhetorically (though not disproved logically) by providing a few examples of children who are being raised by homosexuals and who appear to be thriving. Proponents of same-sex marriage don’t have to defeat us logically; with a sympathetic media, they only need to make rhetorical points, and they’ll carry the day. Mr. May’s a good, dedicated man working hard toward good ends. His book holds some very valuable insights. But it’s only the very beginnings of a winning strategy.

    Bob March

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