The United State Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a new set of strategies from its Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage about how to argue against marriage equality. Posted in a seven-part series on the Bishops’ Marriage Unique for a Reason blog is a series of tips for talking about same-sex marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court’s rulings overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing California’s Proposition 8 to fall.
Here’s a look at the rhetorical tricks and strategies the Church hopes to utilize and why they won’t work:
Define Marriage As Heterosexuals-Only
The first tip offered in the series suggests that Catholics should simply assert a definition for the word “marriage” that is heterosexuals-only. That way, they can supposedly reframe the debate around what’s good about marriage for straight couples without sounding discriminatory:
In our conversations and communications, we must insist on bringing the debate back to the fundamental question: What is marriage? A phrase we use in our work is: “Treating different things differently is not discrimination.” We can make a case for the uniqueness of marriage between a man and a woman by pointing out that only a man and a woman can form a one-flesh communion and can give themselves fully to each other, including on a bodily level. Only a man and a woman are capable of welcoming new life into the world, even though there are times, sadly, when this doesn’t happen for reasons beyond their control. And so forth.