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By definition and etymology, ‘marriage’ requires a man and a woman

Published: Sun, April 21, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

The question of “gay mar- riage” is not a religious matter. Nor is it a political issue. Rather, the question of gender neutral marriage is a matter of human reason. Simply put, marriage between two persons of the same sex is unreasonable. Why? Because the definition of marriage necessarily includes sexual intercourse.

Only a definition of marriage that includes sexual intercourse may distinguish marriage from all other human relationships. While one may define marriage any way one wants to, regardless of how one defines it, that definition must recognize that marriage differs from all other human relationships. Married love is not the same as the love between parent and child, or the love and affection between brother and sister, or other deep and lasting friendships.

Put another way, to define marriage so as to exclude sexual intercourse as part of its definition eliminates any real meaning of marriage.

Whatever two women choose to do in their private lives is nobody’s business but their own. But two women are incapable of sexual intercourse. And whatever two men choose to do in their private lives is nobody’s business but their own. But two men are incapable of sexual intercourse.

Sexual intercourse — not simply sexual stimulation — remains an essential element of marriage. Where sexual intercourse is not possible in principle, marriage cannot exist. Same-sex partnerships, like friendships, can be deep and lasting, but they cannot be marriages because they lack the capacity for conjugal union.

We see this truth clearly in the very etymology of the word marriage. The word “marriage” derives from the French word for “mother” (Fr: mere), just as the word “matrimony” comes from the Latin word for mother. The word “conjugal” signifies sexual intercourse. Only a man and a woman may have conjugal relations. The natural outcome of such conjugal relations is that the woman becomes a mother, thus the connection between the words “conjugal” and “marriage.”

“Gay marriage” is not a religious issue. Nor is it a political issue. Rather, it is simply a matter of reason. If the word “marriage” has any meaning at all, then the notion of “gay marriage” is unreasonable.

Fr. Greg Maturi, Youngstown

The writer is pastor of St. Dominic church.


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