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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 4, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 1
An unnatural obsession - Cardinal George explains why Gays and Lesbians can't consummate a marriage
Section One
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An unnatural obsession - Cardinal George explains why Gays and Lesbians can't consummate a marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In a statement that will no doubt come as a surprise to Gay men and Lesbians, Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said it is physically impossible for same-sex couples to consummate their marriages.

"It is physically impossible for two men or two women to consummate a marriage, even when they share a deep friendship or love,'the cardinal wrote in a pastoral letter released January 1.

EQUALITY A LEGAL FICTION?
"Does this mean nature is cruel or that God is unfair? No, but it does mean that marriage is what nature tells us it is and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish 'same-sex marriage' create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.'

In the letter, George joined with the bishops of six other Illinois dioceses to condemn the marriage equality bill now making its way through the state's legislature.

"The Illinois General Assembly is being asked to consider a bill called 'The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.' This is a deceptive title that ignores basic truths,'the cardinal wrote.

"Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in two complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. It provides the biological basis for personal identity.'

George expanded on the theme in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

"It's not in our doctrine. It's not a matter of faith. It's a matter of reason and understanding the way nature operates,'the cardinal told Tribune reporters.

"You want to be sure that everybody has a chance at happiness. That's a very persuasive argument. But we all want that, and nobody should be disdained or persecuted because of their sexual orientation. But when we get behind the church and behind the state, you've got a natural reality that two men or two women cannot consummate a marriage. It's a physical impossibility.'

The apparently celibate cardinal did not explain where he got his knowledge of how marriages are consummated.

APPEALS TO 'NATURAL LAW'
George admitted that the new marriage bill has some "inevitability to it now,'but added that he is dismayed that "natural law'has been left out of the public debate.

Supporters of marriage equality said the church's effort to ground its anti-equality arguments in so-called "natural law'were clever but disingenuous.

"On sexual ethics, nature is neutral,'said Bernard Schlager, executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, in Berkeley.

"We're moral beings. We may look to nature for some aspects of how we are in our lives, but we answer to a higher standard. Sexual behavior is an expression of human love.'

Last year George made headlines when he compared Chicago's Gay Pride organization to the KKK after the group announced a new parade route that would take the Pride parade past a Catholic church. He subsequently apologized.

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