From a Letter to the Editor by Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence.
I write about the highly publicized attempt of two Rhode Island women to enter into a "same-sex marriage" in Massachusetts.
I’d like to stress that my remarks aren’t aimed personally at the individuals in question. I wish them no harm and I sincerely pray that God will bless them and the children with them with much health and happiness. Nonetheless, their attempt to have the state ratify their homosexual relationship is disturbing and morally objectionable.
God’s plan for the human race is obvious and immutable: "God created man in his image, in the divine image he created them, male and female he created them. . . . For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh." This clear testimony of the Bible is supported by the constant teaching of the church, the law of nature, the reality of biology and common sense. Males and females are complementary; they are designed for union with one another. The traditional concept of marriage, based on that relationship, is normative, fundamental to the human person and essential for the common good of society.
Contrary to some current ideologies, this teaching does not discriminate against homosexual persons. The Catholic Church has consistently taught that homosexual persons are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and must be respected. Nonetheless we have to recognize the possibility, sometimes even the necessity, of respecting individuals even while opposing their immoral behavior. Likewise, it’s not a question of civil rights as some have claimed. There’s never a right to do something wrong. Human freedom is not unbridled license; it must be grounded in truth.
The facts are these: Homosexual acts are contrary to the law of nature and gravely immoral; The notion of gay marriage or civil unions is spiritually harmful to individuals and families and erodes the foundation of society; The state has no business encouraging immoral behavior or ratifying illicit unions.
I hope and pray that the State of Rhode Island will not follow Massachusetts in traveling down this dangerous and dead-end highway.
THOMAS J. TOBIN