Last weekend, Miami Archbishop Rev. Thomas G. Wenski wrote a public letter to the Miami Herald criticizing the four pro-gay marriage rulings recently in South Florida as "exercises of raw judicial activism."
"To impose same-sex marriage would open up a Pandora's box of unintended consequences that bode ill for the advancement of the common good and human flourishing in all of society," Wenski wrote.
Here's Wenski's complete letter, followed by an opposing viewpoint from Maxine E. Schwartz of Hollywood. (Schwartz is mother of Miami Beach attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, who is helping represent six same-sex couples who recently won the right to marry in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.)
Judges in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and now Palm Beach counties have ruled that the Florida state amendment passed in 2008 defending traditional marriage is unconstitutional. These exercises of raw judicial activism have been stayed pending appeal.
Yet, in light of these rulings, self-appointed progressive elites — including the presumptive Democratic candidate for Florida governor — are telling the majority of Florida citizens, along with millions of Americans who still support marriage as it has been understood for millennia, as a union of one man and one woman, to get with the program.
Those who characterize themselves as proponents of tolerance will not tolerate their fellow citizens who oppose both the erosion of democratic self-government by aggressively activist judges legislating from the bench, and the further erosion of their freedoms of conscience and religion.
Those who promote same-sex marriage in effect wish to consolidate the hollow victories of the sexual revolution. To promote what they deem marriage equality, the understanding of marriage as a conjugal union of a male and a female, in a permanent and exclusive commitment, conducive to welcoming and raising the children born from such a union, must be deconstructed and redefined. In much the same way that abortion and safe sex are promoted to protect one from the inevitable consequences of sexual activity, seen now as merely a recreational activity without any moral significance, the advocacy of same sex marriage renders the idea of all marriages meaningless.
Indeed, the argument that allowing same sex partners to marry is about marriage equality is fallacious: Enacting same sex marriage does not expand the institution of marriage to a once excluded class, rather it reduces marriage to being just about the emotional gratification of two — and why just two? — persons. Such a redefinition defies the true nature of marriage as a comprehensive "two-in-one-flesh" union capable of uniting children with their mothers and fathers.
Common sense — increasingly uncommon today — understands traditional marriage between one man and one woman as a natural fact rooted in procreation and sexual difference.
Marriage equality today is the poster child of those who hold for a radical autonomy that believes that anyone can essentially create his or her reality by one's individual will without reference to the truth of things. An individual who would believe that he could, by the force of his will, defy gravity is setting himself up for a disastrous fall.
To impose same-sex marriage would open up a Pandora's box of unintended consequences that bode ill for the advancement of the common good and human flourishing in all of society.
Most Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami
Maxine E. Schwartz's rebuttal:
Re Archbishop Thomas Wenski’s Aug. 17 letter, Same-sex marriages would open Pandora’s Box: I am a 76-year-old heterosexual woman, married to my husband for 45 years. No one forced me into this relationship, just as no one forced Wenski into the celibate life selected. How does my marital relationship hurt him or his lack of one hurt me? Similarly, if two women or two men choose each other as life partners, it has nothing to do with his choice or mine. It hurts neither of us. Certainly, no clergyman or woman should be forced to officiate at any marriage of which he or she does not approve, but I don’t think that should mean that there can be no marriage where they do not approve.
Many people who share Archbishop Wenski’s point of view refer to the Florida vote of 2008 rejecting marriage equality.
But as Judge Sara Zabel said in her verdict, we can vote anything we want into the state Constitution, but it still has to pass muster with the Constitution of the United States. Denying anybody the right to marriage is to deny them his or her fundamental right. One by one, each state has begun to recognize this basic constitutional premise. The rest, including Florida, will have to fall in line, sooner or later.
Archbishop Wenski rails against the “hollow victories of the sexual revolution,” abortion and safe sex, and seems to promote a return to the way things were 50 years ago. This train has already left the station. We must evolve into a more just society.
As Archbishop Wenski is a man of God. How can he think it is right to stigmatize and cast out so many of His — or Her — children?
Maxine E. Schwartz, Hollywood