An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends Who Have This as Their Profile Picture

by | Jun 27, 2013 | Catholic Living, Open Letters, Pop Culture, Things I Think | 87 comments

Especially the “Catholic” ones (oh yes I did)*.

I intended this to be just a Facebook post, but you know me, it got long. So it’s here.

I’ve been pretty silent about the gay marriage debate on Facebook, not because I don’t have an opinion about it, but because I know the flash of heat I feel when I see a friend post something in support of gay marriage, and my lingering discomfort as it sits there on my timeline until my other friends have made enough posts that I can’t see it anymore.

I hate that feeling and I don’t want to make you have it by posting something that you will find confusing and troubling, as I find your posts to be. I still like YOU, but that’s how I feel about those posts. So I just haven’t done it. Because I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.

But on today of all days, I’ve decided that I’ll take just a few moments to explain why I disagree with you. So maybe you’ll still be troubled, but maybe you won’t be as confused.

I’m guessing that what exasperates most of my gay-marriage-supporting-Facebook friends the most about someone like me not supporting gay marriage is this:

And here’s where we agree: Gay marriage does NOT directly affect my life.

But guess what: My lack of support for gay marriage was never about ME. I don’t support gay marriage not because it isn’t good for me but because it isn’t good for the people who WILL engage in it.

I cannot support gay marriage because I love people who have same sex attraction enough not to lie to them and say that society becoming accepting of the particular sin to which they are drawn will take away that feeling of emptiness and un-fulfillment that turning away from God and towards yourself creates in a person’s soul.

Not in gay people’s souls specifically, mind you, in ALL people’s souls. Each person has a dominant flaw (or two or three), a sin or temptation to sin that keeps coming back again and again. For some people, it’s same sex attraction.

Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that my dominant flaw is impatience. Let’s say I struggle every day to not lose my temper with my children, to not consider myself entitled to the last cookie or the best seat, to not begrudge people my time and attention because of all the super-important (to me) things I’d rather do with my time.

I confess this sin as often as I go to confession (which is usually every month). I pray about it often, and try to pay close attention to situations in which I’m likely to succumb to it. And with the help of prayer and grace I have made progress. It’s still there, it’s still a temptation for me, but I’m getting a little better all the time, and I’m so much happier for it. I’m a better wife and mother and human being for it.

But what if, instead of me getting to work on it, the state of California just passed a law that said that, actually, the Catholic Church is wrong and impatience and selfishness are actually good and to practice them will make me happy.  If I believed them, I would stop struggling against the thing that is my near occasion of sin, I would start indulging it. I would distance myself from the Church and from God and I guarantee you I would be less fulfilled, not more.

That is my biggest problem with gay marriage. It’s not because I don’t want people with same sex attraction to be happy, it’s because I really, really do want them to be happy. I want them to have the joy and peace and contentment that I have found by admitting that I am a sinner and that I need some work. I am never made happier by indulging my sinful desires, I am always made happier by fighting against those desires and surrendering to God’s graces, especially those I find in the sacraments.

When a government makes legal something that is immoral and bad for you (see: birth-control, abortion, pornography, divorce), it ceases to seem immoral and bad for you to that government’s citizens. When something no longer seems immoral and bad for you, people stop struggling against it. But we must never stop struggling, we need the struggle. The struggle and God’s grace are our only hope for heaven.

So, gay-marriage-supporting-Facebook friend, I hope you made it this far. If you did, thanks for your time, and I hope you understand me a little more, even if you still don’t agree with me.

In conclusion, I won’t be changing my profile picture to this:

not because I don’t agree with it, but because I’m confident that my current profile picture already says it all:

* Especially the “Catholic” ones: a braver and/or less concerned about other people’s feelings Facebook friend recently posted the following:

Some reminders to my so called Catholic friends and family.
1.) Taking part in or procuring an abortion results in an automatic excommunication from the Church.
2.) By supporting gay marriage you protest against the teachings of the Church. That makes you protestant.

p.s. This post isn’t meant to represent a comprehensive look at the teaching of the Catholic Church about same sex marriage. If you are looking for that, Catholic Answers is a great resource. For the perspective of a faithful Catholic young gay man, check out Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine.

Update: Hey all, this post seems to have grown legs and run off. This is a small Catholic blog. Most of my posts are about parenting techniques and book and movie reviews. 

This post was written not to try to change your mind about this issue (although you are free to change your mind if you’d like), it was written to explain my beliefs to my friends who disagree with me.

You are welcome to comment whether you agree with me or not, but I will delete any mean-spirited comments (on either side) because that’s not what this blog is about.

Thanks for stopping by . . . 


  1. Iris H. @ Country Girl's Daybook

    I love you, Kendra!!! These are my thoughts EXACTLY, I just haven't been able to put them into words. God bless you. And I'm totally sharing this.

    ~ Iris H. @ Country Girl's Daybook

  2. Amanda

    But actually, if the state of California passed a law stating that impatient and selfishness were good and now legal, you would still have the right to say, "that goes against my belief system and I will not be participating in those activities." And go on living by our life, loving your God, and being happy for in the fact that you were being the best Catholic that you know how to be, and setting a good example for your friends and family.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Until the state of CA jails you for being a Catholic business owner who declines to celebrate those who are impatient, or for being a Catholic school teacher (even in a Catholic school) who won't teach students that impatience is cause for celebration, or for being a a Catholic adoption agency who declines to consider adoptive parents who celebrate and encourage impatience.

    • Roberta Williamson

      If and when those atrocities happen, (i.e. you are jailed for your beliefs and the practice of them) many freedom loving people will come to your aid. Just as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, American Friends, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church, etc. etc. came to the aid of those who suffered at the hands of the immoral police in Alabama and Mississippi during the civil rights era.

    • Emily

      You can hope that Roberta, but many Catholic loving business owners are currently being forced to comply against their faith through fines, and subsequent business shut-downs….ergo HSA mandate.

    • Anonymous

      I have to say I agree with Roberta. As someone who supports my gay friends right to a happy and loving union with all of the same legal rights as a hetero couple, I would fight even harder and be more vocal (as a Unitarian Universalist) for any churches of any faith to not perform religious weddings for same-sex individuals. The truth of the matter is we are all just trying to live morally even when our morals may not match up with one another exactly and I firmly believe the best laws are those that allow ALL of us to live our personal morals. Not all laws succeed at that but just like you believe that you must never stop working to change the traits you see as sinful in yourself, I believe we as a society must never stop trying to be more egalitarian and more accepting of each others differences. The thing you need to remember is that while you may see homosexuality as a sin not all of us do. And laws that ban same sex marriage say your beliefs are more vaild than mine. A law that says all churches must perform same sex marriages would say my beliefs are more valid than yours. Neither is okay or tolerable. Because we do not live in a theocracy. We live in a democratic republic that time and time again has affirmed the rights of its citizens to worship or not worship in the way that each individual citizen sees fit. Our laws should reflect that. Always. When our laws, limit the ability for either you or I to fully live according to the moral teaching of our chosen religions than we as a country are failing to be the best version of ourselves.

    • Kendra Tierney

      I've decided to start giving my anonymous commenters names so that I don't have to imagine you wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. I'm going to call YOU Jamie.

      Jamie, your reasoning sounds very pleasant, but it wouldn't work very well in practice, because in practice humans can't help but recognize things as either right or wrong. They can't be both at the same time.

      If our government and our society come to regard same sex marriage as morally equal to traditional marriage, then I can't help but think that my fellow Catholics and I will have no choice but to take you up on your offer of help. I think we're going to need it.

    • Anonymous

      What "Jamie" is talking about is Relativism which is so predominant in our culture! We've taken what God says and turned it into "what my faith says" or "what my morals say". What if I think it's moral to end my father's life because he molested me years ago? It's still murder even though people might sympathize with my feelings. God's law didn't change. The whole idea of equality is a very slippery slope too- have you ever really thought about it? It is very hard to define because there, in fact, will never be true "equality". It doesn't exist. I love what my teenage daughter says about the gay lifestyle: the same sexes were not meant to procreate so biologically we can't support that, even if we didn't believe in God. There is no argument to this statement. But yes, we are wonderfully created by Him so we will be that much more thankful to Him for the mystery and beauty of the male and female marriage as one! I think this discussion needs to occur more often or Relativism will prevail in our Churches which is just sin. Bethany H.

  3. Monica McConkey

    Amen. Thanks for grace and dignity and beautiful articulation. I'm thinking about linking to your post and writing "what she says".

  4. Nanacamille

    You said it well in hating the sin but not the sinner. I am just afraid what is going to happen if in fact California does resume gay marriage and a gay couple asks to be married in a Catholic Church are told NO and then demand to be married in that church and again told no and then the gay couple sues the Catholic Church for not marring them as requested.

  5. Kelsey V.

    This is a wonderful post; however, I am seriously concerned about your friend's Facebook post that you quoted there at the end. It is one thing to point out and explain the immorality of abortion. It is quite another to say something about excommunication that, if seen by a woman suffering from the emotional agony of an abortion, might destroy any chance of her repenting and coming home to the Church. I don't know the details of how excommunication works, but I can't imagine that having an abortion would in any way destroy your chances for healing and redemption. Insensitive posts like this could lead others to that conclusion. Just my $0.02!

    • Kendra Tierney

      Thanks Kelsey. There is nothing to keep a repentant post-abortive woman from seeking reconciliation with God and the Church, but it is a fact that Canon 1398 states that a woman who successfully procures an abortion excommunicates herself from the church, along with all other responsible parties.

      Of course this wouldn't apply to a woman who didn't consent to the abortion. But it would apply to all types of abortion, even chemical (pill) abortions. She's always welcome to come back to the church, but she would need to seek absolution for both the abortion and the excommunication.

      I can't see how downplaying the severity of an act is helpful. Each abortion is a serious, serious act. But our Church offers all the forgiveness necessary to come back home.

    • Kelsey V.

      Thank you for your kind and thorough response. I guess I'm speaking from my perspective as someone new to the Church. I think there is a pop-culture understanding of excommunication that makes it sound permanent, as in never allowed to come back. So someone like me who was never exposed to the actual definition could have been confused and discouraged. Maybe a combination of the two approaches would be best: being bold and clear about the serious consequences of sin, but also spending just as much time proclaiming and celebrating the all-encompassing mercy offered to us. 🙂

  6. Kris

    Kendra – so beautifully put! I also never comment on this issue, because it's a very divisive one, especially in my own family. I have no problem discussing it with anyone in person, in a charitable way, but it's so hard on facebook, and so easy to get sucked into an unproductive "back and forth". I hope, in my future conversations with people, I can be as eloquent as you were in this post.

  7. Anonymous

    I've met some wild Prop 8 supporters (mostly young male college students( who said they don't agree with gay men marrying, but like attractive lesbians enough to support them. <–I'm guessing they have a certain addiction which is another problem in fraternity culture and other social groups.

  8. Renee

    I'm Catholic living in Massachusetts and while we have gay marriage, something strange has happened over ten years. We are creating new laws to protect mom and dad, to replace marital laws. We just don't reference them as marriage.

    It's really messed up, we destroyed marriage and yes lawmakers knew we couldn't live without marriage. I volunteer at the Department of Children & Families, and people are assuming we are just giving away children to gay couples left and right.

    Not true, we work with the mother and fathers. If they are unable to raise their children, they are taken by guardianship by biological relatives. Even when adopted by non-relatives, biological relatives still can have a relationship with the child.

    I don't know what the future may bring, but I'm pretty open about why marriage is important for a child. Only until yesterday though, someone actually told me "" I really hate the argument that marriage is all about the children. "" and ironically she was married (to a man) with children.

    Also what is hilarious, the few gay people I have as friends on FB never changed their profile!

    So I leave you this, which I wrote in 2007. Marriage from a child's point of view.

    "While in high school and college, my peers always talked about their parents and their relationship with each other. Even though it was never considered a factor in success and happiness, we talked about gender, incomes, and race, even sexual orientation but never how marriage affected society in formal terms. Informally though I could tell you the lives of dozens of parents, because we spoke so much of them.

    We talked about how well they got along with each other, if they fought, if they were divorced, remarried, abandoned us, and even if they smoked pot. Parents were important to us, even though educators, marketers, and counter sub-cultures wanted us to ignore what they represented to us. Back while a sophomore in college something changed in my view of social policy and family."

    "So when people say the definition of marriage hasn’t affected anyone and never will. The reality is marriage has affected everyone, because everyone has a mother and a father and that relationship between their mother and father is the number one factor upon their survival and well being."

  9. rebe

    Thank you for your comments. Well said. I love your family pictures too. 🙂

  10. Sarah

    I'm also pretty sure my profile picture says it all, except it's two (happily and legally married) moms with their kids. I don't care what you think or that you don't support our right to marry, but I do care that you cloak it in concern for us. I'm not Catholic, have never been Catholic, nor will I ever be Catholic. Catholic teachings and beliefs have no bearing on my life. I'm a Reform Jew, and my marriage was performed at our temple. Why should I, as a Jew, be obligated to live under Catholic definitions of morality?

    • Kendra Tierney

      Well, I would say that the confusion lies in whether there are multiple truths or just one truth.

      If there is one thing that is true for Catholics and one thing that is true for Reform Jews (and another thing that is true for Conservative Jews) then certainly we would each just follow our own version. But moral relativism isn't defensible as a philosophy, it's just the path of least resistance.

      I don't believe there is a Catholic definition of morality. I just believe that there is such a thing as morality and that we should all strive for it.

      Your comment wasn't linked to an account so I couldn't see your family photo, but thank you for stopping by and for being nice.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Except that it's not just the Catholic definition of morality. It's the universal definition of morality, and there are even atheists who oppose same-sex marriage (see here for one example).

      Even in ancient societies where homosexual acts were openly practiced and permitted (e.g., ancient Rome), they still only allowed marriage as between one man and one woman. Where the pagan Romans living by "Catholic morality"?

    • Sarah

      But why is your definition of morality the universal definition of morality? Maybe we Reform Jews, Protestant denominations like the United Church of Christ, and secular countries in Europe are "right".

      The Pagan Romans have as much to do with my life as Roman Catholics do, which is to say they have nothing to d with how I live.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Why is your definition of morality right and mine wrong, Sarah? They can't both be right.

      I don't believe the Reform Jews et al are right because your beliefs don't stand up to logical scrutiny. Were all the major religions of the world wrong for thousands and thousands years, until the Reform Jews came along? That's an astonishing level of hubris, especially if you believe in God (because then you must believe that He allowed every single major world religion to teach error as doctrine for time immemorial).

      Universal morality is rooted in the natural law, which applies to all people at all times and is written on the hearts of all men and women. This is an excellent book about the subject.

      My point about the pagan Romans was that they weren't living my Catholic morality yet they still disallowed same-sex marriage. Why do you think that is? (Hint – see previous paragraph.)

    • Becky Christner

      That argument is cyclical. We can go on all day talking about whose version of morality is right and wrong. The bottom line is that there ARE different religions, different "versions" of morality, and our government is not responsible to follow any of them – nor should they be. The laws our government make to promote and protect equality – across the board – should be concerned only with whether or not the freedom they are legally allowing will directly impose upon another person's freedom. This is why murder is illegal, rape, kidnapping, burglary, etc. Those are crimes because by allowing someone the freedom to perform them, another's life is directly (negatively) impacted. THAT is why same-sex marriage is (and should be) legally recognized. It does not negatively impact anyone's life (any more than "traditional" marriage does, at any rate.)

      You are welcome to follow your church's definition of morality, but that doesn't mean our country's laws should reflect it.

    • Kendra Tierney

      We have historically had in this country laws that prevent people from hurting others, as you mention, but we have also had plenty of laws that protect people from themselves.

      Laws against suicide are the most obvious example of this, and though those seem to be on their way out as well (I don't support that either), there are many MANY other laws cropping up that only protect people from themselves. We have laws on the books about seat belts, helmets, smoking, large sodas, mandatory saving plans, etc.

      I believe in a concrete moral law, that is defensible as a philosophy, that happens to be the official policy of the Catholic Church because it is true.

      (If you'd like more information on the Catholic position on homosexuality I'd encourage you to read the Catholic Answers post I linked to in the main body.)

      Since I believe that homosexual behavior is much worse for people than drinking sodas or not wearing a seat belt, I support laws that would discourage it.

    • Anonymous

      I know I'm coming to this conversation a couple months late, but again, I ask what "equality" really means? I don't think people can truly be "equal" because we really aren't. Not in a whole "better than" or "less than" way, but, no one's life can be equal to everyone else's. Otherwise we are only ants in a pattern of sameness. Everyone has different skills, talents, abilities, life experiences, backgrounds, etc. There is no possible way to even the playing field for everyone because of this! I'm just so tired of hearing about equality when in every instance, it seems to create prejudice and intolerant attitudes (in the name of tolerance) for, as JoAnna so wisely explained, morals that have existed throughout the ages. Societies who embraced homosexuality perished. History proves that. Biology proves that. God says it's wrong. Sex is not love. Lust is not love. Our society is so confused about what sacramental married love is. God says to love everyone but not to lie (have intercourse) with those of the same sex. How is that hard to understand? The Bible is wrong? Hmmm. If I am not allowed to believe that, then I am not allowed to have morals myself– how unequal is that??? See?!!! And forcing my priest to go against his morals is moral?? Where does it end???!!!!!! I suppose heaven and hell. And I know where homosexuality leads because God told me. Bethany H.

      • Rory

        Bethany – it’s not hard to understand that that is what you believe. If a person does not believe in the Bible, the way you do or at all, he or she will not share your perspective. Also, I don’t think anyone is telling you that you are not allowed to believe that – that’s precisely the point, that you believe what you do and so do others.

  11. Roberta Williamson

    I am one of those who changed my photo to a marriage equality symbol. I have believed in marriage equality for a long time. One of my Facebook friends posted your blog on her page. I was glad to see it, because she needs to share her thoughts. She and I share a grandson through our wonderful daughters. I support our daughters' relationship wholly. She loves her child and wishes she did not live in sin. Both of us love our grandson. Her example of acknowledging what she believes is sin but maintaining love for her family is what being a follower of Jesus has always been about in my understanding of scripture. I truly hope that you will be able to keep your love for your children through all the trials they have as she has done.

    • Renee


      If I may share "Christian Homes Produce Gay Children" (The Valley Patriot). The Valley Patriot is a local monthy new paper here in Massachusetts.

      "My parents loved each other and our family with such fierce devotion that it spilled over into every aspect of our lives. Our home was stable, safe and secure. Our family’s strong foundation was bricked with the mortar of a deep Christian faith. At the time of my mother’s death my parents had been together for almost forty years teaching us that true love lasts.

      My parent’s stable marriage, loving, Christian, honest, and hard working home produced a gay child. In fact every one of my gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered friends grew up in a Christian household – EVERY one of them. I can only deduce that Christian homes produce gay children."

      As you can tell I'm pretty vocal on the fact children really do have a right to both maternal/paternal kin, I don't know the circumstances your daughter came to be to have a child without a man. But your grandson will have questions as he gets older.

      As someone who works fiercely for children to live with kin, someone has to acknowledge something is lost if they do not have a relationships with both mother and father.

      BUT I will also fiercely advocate that gay children to be loved by both their mother and father.

    • Roberta Williamson

      Renee–Thank you for expressing your advocacy. I understand your concerns about children having access to both biological parents, as there are open adoptions within my family. Though messy and heartbreaking sometimes, these arrangements are made in the best interest of the children. I have often noted that my own anecdotal experience is that I do not know any LGBT adults raised in "gay" homes. Somehow, they all turned out straight, most in their 30's now, with successful marriages and families of their own.

  12. Renee

    May I Kendra?

    For people heavily invested in children's welfare, marriage public policy plays huge a role. My support comes from a liberal point of view of common good. Princeton University is doing a study in its 15th year, in regards to 'fragile families'. These are non-married cohabitation/non-cohabitation, usually with many fathers present at birth but by age five that dad isn't no longer present.

    Or in another way of explain this concern. Marriage seen as 'the rights' of a couple (no matter the orientation) is really a selfish conservative one, where I see marriage as a communal model as liberal (social justice). Two people get married, yes out of free will, but with expectations of obligation to the whole community. That's why government got involved, initially we had expectations we wanted to promote. Without marriage, the mother becomes the gate keeper solely deciding the role if she wishes the dad to play. Dads are pushed out and fade away, not an equal parent.

    A child can not have two mothers, without first having the grief of losing his/her right to their father. Children of anonymous sperms donors are seeking out their family. The Department of Children & Families has gone through many reforms to ensure that fathers are treated no different then moms. Even if children can not live with biological family members, kinship documentation is done for the sake of the child and their right to know.

    If you live in a fragile community, like mine, in which half of the children do not live with both their mother and father this becomes a serious issue. It's a real issue, that we've been ignoring for the sake of how we feel about our friends and family who happen to be gay. Adults rights end at children's needs.

    "David H. Autor, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that the difference between men and women, at least in part, may have roots in childhood. Only 63 percent of children lived in a household with two parents in 2010, down from 82 percent in 1970. The single parents raising the rest of those children are predominantly female. And there is growing evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fare particularly poorly,” Professor Autor wrote in an analysis for Third Way, a center-left policy research organization."

    Raising these concerns is a must.

    • Sarah

      My children live in a home with two parents, and yes, they have two mothers. My wife's name is on our children's birth certificates.

      Your concerns are not shared by everyone, including professional organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics:

      American Psychological Association:

      National Organization for Social Workers:

      American Federation of Teachers:

      American Bar Association:

    • Kendra Tierney

      Sarah, this blog is called Catholic All Year. It's a Catholic blog. I don't believe in "Catholic morality" I just believe in morality. But I do believe in Catholic blogs.

      I don't go on other people's faith blogs and try to leave comments that will make them change their belief systems, mostly because there is no chance it would work, but also because I don't think it would be appropriate.

      This is a blog for Catholics by a Catholic. All are welcome to read (and comment) but it surprises ME that you are surprised to find Catholic beliefs espoused here.

    • Anonymous

      Those studies that Sarah listed are not worth quoting. The AF of Teachers has had strong gay advocacy groups pushing within to include their own doctrines into education. The pediatric one, well, there's hardly any study coming from them that stands any test of time or scrutiny! The APA again is full of conflicting theories and the Bar Association?! Anyone in law knows that words and studies in law can be twisted to suit. If you've ever taken a Statistics class, then you know any study can be manipulated to the desired outcome and a couple of these are very liberal organizations. Let's be honest here. It's all about the money. People have been living together without being married for decades. This is only an issue because of gay partners not being able to claim benefits. It has nothing to do with really wanting marriage because they have said that traditions are not what they support! Materialism and Greed will determine the laws of a society quicker than any morals! So while they cloak their arguments in "love for each other" and "commitment", all they want is the legal monetary and adoption privileges of marriage– they don't want what marriage truly is. Bethany H.

  13. Sarah

    I'm not surprised to find Catholic beliefs espoused here. Not at all. What I'm surprised at is your insistence that you believe in "morality" but that morality is tied to your faith, so it's clearly not a universal morality. Again, I couldn't possibly care less what goes on in the Catholic Church. It has no bearing on my life, except when Catholics (and others) decide they have a monopoly on morality and should be allowed to legislate my rights and spread untruths about the LGBT community and their families.

    • Kendra Tierney

      I certainly don't think we're going to be able to convince each other of anything in this kind of a format. But all I would say is I do believe in a universal morality and only in that. It happens to be tied to my faith, because theologians and philosophers have been searching for The Truth since your religion and mine were the same. But things are not true because the Catholic church believes in them, the Catholic church believes in things because they are true.

      I really appreciate how friendly you've been and I can absolutely understand your frustration with this post and even with me personally. I wish we could have "met" under different circumstances.

    • Renee

      The United Nations regarding Children's Rights state that children at not to be treated as chattel, and have rights to both their mother and father, even if they are not married.

      We are no longer speaking in terms of morality, of what is right and wrong. We are now speaking in terms of truth. No one has two moms. That isn't a belief, that is a fact.

      The birth certificate no longer represents identity for the child, now you are treating the birth certificate is treated like a deed of property. The certificate no longer serves the rights of the child, but for the non-biological adult who wants to deny the reality there is a father.

      Let's be clear this isn't about gay people, it is about the rights and needs of the child.
      I will defend a biological gay father, because he is in fact the dad. The man though has no right to claim, whoever he loves to be the parent if in fact that person is not the parent. I would also defend a gay relative raising a niece or nephew, if the parents were unable to parent.

      I'm involved in politics, it took a lot of money in lobbying to get your special interest. All of those groups are special interest groups, like the ABA, I know I'm went to law school and passed the bar. The ABA has no jurisdiction over me, it is a lobby group.

      President Obama has abandoned his authentic understanding of marriage, due to political pressure from money. Let's considering he sponsored a bill in 2007 to support healthy marriage and responsible fathers.

      "Of course, it wasn’t always this way. In a speech for Father’s Day 2008, Barack Obama was emphatic in championing fatherhood: “We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

      Obama added: “Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives … family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation.” If “we are honest with ourselves,” said Obama, “we’ll admit that … too many fathers” are missing—they are “missing from too many lives and too many homes.”

      Obama summed up: “We need fathers.”


      Your child is not exempt from the right to his/her father, because you happen to be gay.

    • Deltaflute

      What untruths? Is it not a biological fact that a child has two biological parents, one male and one female? Is it not a biological fact that a man /dad is different than a woman / mom?

      What it sounds like to me is that you think its fair that a child be raised by someone other than their biological parents. It sounds like you think its fine for a biological parent to have no say or contact with their child. It sounds like youre saying that a child doesnt have a right to their biological parents and that replacing a biological parent under normal circumstances (im not talking abuse) is fine.

      And we argue that we dont care so much about your decision to have gay sex as much as we care about you denying a child its biological parents. It applies equally to hetero couples too. Hetero couples cant have wild orgies either because sex and marriage has always been about children. And two lesbians cannot without a man have a child. Its not possible. These are universal morals and gvt protects the rights of bio parents.

  14. Anonymous

    The Roman Catholic Church has coexisted with divorced people remarrying for decades, and Roman Catholic business owners haven't been known for refusing to provide cakes, photographs or limo services for paying customers who are remarrying outside of the RC Church. In fact, is a heterosexual protestant wedding in say a Methodist or Adventist church any more legit than a gay wedding, in the eyes of the church? If a business will provide services for protestant or heathen remarriages, how is that so different from providing services for gay marriages?
    Susan Alexander

    • Deltaflute

      Youre confusing marriage as an institution with marriage as a sacrament. We acknowledge many protestant brothers and sisters baptisms and marriages. They are sacramental. We also acknowledge muslim and jewish marriages but they arent sacramental. Marriage yes holy matrimony no.

      The problem then arises with gay persons. We dont acknowledge their unions as sacramental or marriages because they dont fit. Gay persons cant have children together. Gay persons cannot even have conjugal relations so its not marriage.

      Make sense?

      • Rory

        It’s not marriage to YOU, based on your beliefs. I don’t expect to convince you otherwise, just as you won’t convince me to espouse and follow your belief system.

    • Renee

      Good question.

      Vendors are different then houses of worship, but some the the relationships between a vendor and the customer can be very personal.

      I would see a difference between someone make the cake and someone who was to photograph the ceremony/reception. The photographer has to witness the ceremony, and if s/he feels that their difference may affect the quality of their work, that person MUST not only decline and also assist finding a new photographer.

      For instance let's say I'm a lawyer, and same-sex couples wanted to write a pre-nuptial along with their marriage. Well I'm may not only feel compelled not to do it, I'm probably not the best lawyer to do such. I can though, offer them several references of lawyers who would be glad to take them as clients. In Massachusetts they have special workshops for lawyers, because there are situations in which same-sex couples have different issues then other married couples.

      So for the photographer, if they already know that they could not perform their work, they should have a fellow photographer (that you know beforehand) to accept the clients on your behalf. So if you have a same-sex couple approach you, you can offer them your fellow photographer without having to fully explain yourself. You can just say, this photographer specializes in same-sex weddings and has a lot more experience then I do.

      Now this can only be applied to solo business owners, and not if you are an employee of a larger photography business.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for replying, but I'll re-ask the main question.

      Why is selling a flower or a cake to a gay couple having a wedding you would not approve of nor would it be recognized by your church different from selling a flower or a cake to a divorced person who is remarrying without an annullment, also not approved of or recognized by your church. Not that I care, I just find it (in both Roman Catholics and some Protestants I know) to be a very fine line.

      I have no problem with your church not recognizing a gay marriage. I have no problem with your church not recognizing my 34 year long, methodist marriage with no children as Holy Matrimony, despite my church using the term internally.

      I don't understand how selling a wedding cake to someone who the shopkeeper views as sinning is different from selling a birthday cake to someone without doing a background check to see if they too have an unrepented sin in their life. It is, after all, just a cake, not an endorsement of the life choices of the people paying for the cake.

      It seems very much like worrying about the mote in someone else's eye.

      Susan Alexander

    • Deltaflute

      Devorced persons are still married just not sacramentally but one has no way of knowing anyway without inquiry or as a witness to the event.

      What your asking is for a person to sell flowers KNOWING what they are for. To do so is called scandal. A Catholic cant do that. Its like the difference between selling birthcontrol for a medical condition and the other for birthcontrol. Gay relationships can never be ordered to life and therefore csn never be sacramental blessed. Divorced ones can. People die. People seek anullments. People convert.

    • Deltaflute

      A person can decide with complete knowledge not to sell flowers to divorced persons wedding. Its more obvious with a gay person as explained above so if one knows than one cant.

    • Renee


      When I use to volunteer during marriage prep in our parish, we reminded couples that we not only care about their wedding day. We care about their marriage and we are not a vendor, but your house of worship. So the Deacon does his first talk about the wedding day, so we can actually talk about marriage for the remainder of the weekend. We even talk about the possibility. that after much consideration, a couple may even want to call off the engagement after reflection. Not that we don't want people to get married, but we want couples to do with so with free will fully accepting of the obligation.

      I was invited to a wedding, that was called off just weeks before. We were all fine that she kept the bridal gifts. The vendors, apart of the contract kept their deposit/money. We're just happy she came to her senses, BTW I was related to the groom side! She dodged a bullet. She eventually married someone else and had children with another man.

      Can vendors really care, that much? If they really had limits, they would work 'out of home' by reference only. If someone gets divorce, then remarries that becomes repeat business. Right? If the wedding doesn't go forwards, they still want to be paid. To be fair, if you signed a contract and the blocked our that date, it would then be too late for them to find work for that day.

      And what do divorce people do with their wedding pictures? As a photographer, you are suppose to be documenting good memories.

      If you are advertising your services to the general public, well…

      The wedding industry is a monster in of itself, that can consume a bride.

      We need more backyard receptions and pot lucks.

    • Jeannie

      Yay to backyard receptions and potlucks! 🙂

  15. Joy of Truth

    Very well-written post! You've made me consider somethings that I hadn't before and I think comparing SSA with other struggles is a very interesting way to look at it. 🙂 You are certainly brave for addressing your so-called Catholic and other friends with that profile picture. I have a ton of friends who did so as well and I've been quiet on facebook about it. I guess the reason is I just think its going to get really ugly really fast. But kudos to you! 🙂


  16. Micaela Darr

    Thank you for this, Kendra. I had almost the same reaction and almost the same reasons for not replying. I've lost friends, people I thought would be my friends until old age and beyond, because of the SSM debate. It's been almost a year and it still breaks my heart.

  17. Anonymous

    I was waiting for your view on the gay marriage debate! Thanks for writing this as I know it's not easy to go against popular opinion…or at least against what seems to be popular these days. I am against gay marriage, but not necessarily for reasons you stated but because I am tired of tradition and conservative views having to change because of liberals or fear of lawsuits. I also believe that legalizing gay marriage brings us one step closer to socialism and NOBODY wins with socialism. If you don't believe in something, don't join it! If the Boy Scouts don't want gay children or gay leaders, why would you want your kid to be a part of it? Start a different group! You don't need to go to court over it. If a bakery doesn't want to sell you a cake, why would you want to buy from it? Find another bakery!
    We all have different views and plenty of reasons for why we have those views…so many different reasons we all have. You are correct Kendra, that you really won't change someone else's mind and they won't change yours…I find I can't even have conversations with those that do believe in gay marriage about this topic because it just ends up that I'm homophobic and I don't want gay people to be happy. I'm not homophobic, I just worry that my religion will be attacked when they refuse to allow gay marriage in the Catholic Church (that is next, no question) and that the Church will cave… yet again yielding to the popular opinion. Again, I ask: why be a part of something that stands for something you don't believe in and refuse to follow?
    This really does remind me of the long quote that ends with "and then they came for me and there was no one left to help me." (Paraphrased but really great quote)
    I am worried for my Catholic religion and what it will look like for my children…weakened.

    • Rory Dunn

      That quote is from Martin Niemöller, a German Lutheran pastor who initially supported Hitler’s rise to power before becoming disillusioned. This quote is primarily but not exclusively about the six million Jews and millions of others, including Righteous Gentiles, who were murdered by the Nazis. Though I appreciate what you are saying, despite not sharing your faith tradition, I respectfully don’t think that weakened church doctrine and the murder of millions based on faith and ethnicity is the same thing.

  18. Anonymous

    great post!!! Thank you!

  19. Daniel Rice

    [There is a 600 lb. gorilla in the room.]

    The two sides of an argument sit across a table with a gun in the middle.

    Both sides see the use of the gun as legitimate, the Seat of Authority, and would gladly seize it to champion its view.

    At best, one says 'it is a necessary evil,' and reaches for the gun out of fear that the other would certainly grab it if he didn't. But there can be no honest discussion while one has the scales tipped to his side. The other will bide his time, and await the moment at which the Fates will surely smile on him, and he will seize the weapon.

    At worst, one says 'I will save them from themselves', in the hallowed tradition of the 'Humanitarian with the Guillotine', binding in holy chains the Will(s) that Our Lord so curiously allowed to roam free (at such great risk to themselves!)

    But what folly has befallen them both? Do the ends justify the means? Is the gun the source of piece and order, or simply a paramount source of conflict? Have not both assumed that one will must dominate, and the other must be dominated? Who will be the Master?

    Could they not simply agree to find a more suitable table? Or perhaps more suitable company?

    [So culminates the slow-motion train-wreck begun by admission of the term 'married' into government legislation. There is nothing which Leviathan touches which it does not wish to ultimately swallow.]

  20. Anonymous

    So, by this logic, the Church ought to rule the nation as a church/state. And only laws that force others to behave as Catholic will be in place. And we must hope that no other religion or majority takes over and makes all of our beliefs and practices illegal. I'm fully understanding of your feeling about and towards homosexuals and same-sex marriage but I'm not sure how that applies to the rest of the country. It is actually against the law for a majority to take away the rights of a minority – which is why we are all out protesting the health care mandate that would force us to provide birth control, right? And what you are suggesting is that sin should be illegal. Let's follow that train of thought for awhile and see where it gets us. There really isn't a gray area here, either you believe that everyone should be forced to follow all the teachings of the Church by force of law, or you believe in free will – for everyone (even gays). If we expect people to support our rights, we have to support theirs. Otherwise we are hypocrites. Striking down DOMA has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and if we don't want what we don't believe forced upon us we should stop doing that to others.

    • Kendra Tierney

      Okay, here we go:

      I personally don't think you can beat a Good Catholic King for the government under which I would personally most like to live (the state of CA and it's basically direct democracy where I have to vote constantly and on everything has been driving me nuts lately) BUT there is the very real problem that his son might well be a jerk, so I guess that's out.

      Your comment makes it sound like our country has not historically had laws against things that lawmakers considered sinful, and we are just now trying to change the law-books to create them, which of course isn't the case. This is a question of whether it's a good idea to CHANGE traditions and policies and societal views that have stood in this country and all over the world for ages and ages.

      I think it would be BETTER for our society and for SSA individuals if the laws stood as they always have.

      I tend to skew quite libertarian myself naturally, but I have come to believe that as a society we do owe it to our fellow citizens to try to look after their best interests and encourage good behavior with sound laws for the good of the society and the individual. Just as this country has always done.

      That said, it's seeming like this ship has sailed. And I don't expect these laws changing to impact my life any, until folks with an anti-Catholic agenda start (continue?) coming after the Church.

      So my preference going forward would be to have the government out of the "marriage" business entirely. I think it would be better to just let any two adults register as a tax-partnership (or civil union, whatever) and leave marriages to be governed by the rules of people's individual faiths.

      I do think we owed it to our society and the individuals within it to fight the good fight, in Christian charity.

    • Renee

      Our view of marriage doesn't come to how we think about same-sex attraction, our view of marriage comes from what we think about father absence. Homosexuality isn't even a sin, in the Catholic Church and we are called to love everyone. Geesh.

      Let's break it down in term so public policy, neutral of what anyone thinks of how one feels. Public policy works on obligations, not one's feelings.

      There is a cost to family fragmentation and father absence. Numerous public policy studies point this out, Oprah calls father absence an epidemic.

      In the city of Richmond VA, the majority of children have father absence. It costs not just them emotionally, but everyone one else financially.

      How much? 200 Million Dollars a YEAR.

      "How should policymakers, and others respond to the large social costs and large taxpayer cost of
      family fragmentation? Scafidi noted that even very small increases in stable marriage rates as a
      result of government programs or community efforts to strengthen marriage would result in very
      large savings for taxpayers. He noted that a 1% reduction in family fragmentation would save
      the US taxpayers an estimated $1.1 billion each and every year. Using this estimate, a 1% reduction
      in family fragmentation would translate into a $2 million savings every year in Richmond. See
      page 5 for the 1% solution."

      I don't expect everyone to read study after study on the costs of family breakdown, but I thought it would be a little more obvious in real life. Sadly, people are not out in their communities.

    • Renee

      The 200 Million Dollars a year, is just for the city of Richmond VA.

    • Anonymous

      Kendra, while I appreciate your well-worded answer, you are speaking from both sides of your mouth. If you feel that marriage should not be ruled by the state, then you do support the freedom of any adult to have committed relationships of their choosing – including gay and polygamous families. If you feel that the law should be dictated by the majority then you have to accept that it's okay for your own life to be dictated by the majority even if it doesn't agree with your beliefs. There aren't two ways about it. You either feel it is alright for a larger group to bully a smaller group or you believe in free will.

      Saying that the government has always legislated on moral grounds before is a poor argument; "we've always done it that way" is never a good reason. And I balk at the idea that the government should "look after their [citizens] best interests and encourage good behavior with sound laws," because, again, you are only putting us (Catholics) in a position to be forced into whatever the greater majority of voters thinks is in our own best interest. Slippery slope.

      I am assuming this sentence "This is a question of whether it's a good idea to CHANGE traditions and policies and societal views that have stood in this country and all over the world for ages and ages." means that the traditions, policies and viewpoints regarding marriage and family have been the way they are now for a very long time all over the world, which is just patently untrue.

    • Kendra Tierney

      Okay, first, I don't like having a conversation with "anonymous" so I've decided to call you Chris.

      Second, Chris, I can see the logic of a very libertarian state, but that's just NOT what America is or ever was. This country was founded on a concrete set of values that included religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and limits on people's behaviors based a set of moral standards. We had ALL of those things, we didn't have to just pick one or the other.

      Perhaps this country is heading irretrievably down the path to moral relativism, but you certainly won't find me cheering about it.

    • Anonymous

      Renee, homosexuality is a sin. It clearly states that in Scripture and the Catechism even more clearly explains that Scriptural teaching. Can you honestly say that of all the centuries of understanding by Christians that it is a sin, it suddenly is not? You have some interesting points, but this one in particular is wrong. Bethany H.

  21. Rebecca Young

    Thank you for this post. I am so glad that you tackled it in such an eloquent manner. I think oftentimes the opposition to gay marriage stays silent so as not to look bigoted or like we don't want people to be happy. And all of us staying quiet hasn't helped the issue.

  22. Anonymous

    As an avid blog reader who frequents primarily mommy blogs and follows a number of catholic blogs, I have to say that I have never ever been compelled to leave a comment on a post – until today. I read the post with interest and appreciation until I landed at the sentence that says "something that is immoral and bad for you (see: birth-control, abortion, pornography, divorce)" Please keep in mind that you can´t always make sweeping comments and apply them unconditionally. Maybe you just touched a nerve. I am a practicing catholic, raising my five children as best as I can while going through a divorce that I initiated. After many tearful conversations with a priest I trust, I decided to once and for all leave my abusive husband. Is that really a sin on par with abortion?

    • Kendra Tierney

      I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I will pray for your family.

      But Jesus is the troublemaker on this one. He’s the one who said: So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (see Mark 10:1-12, also Luke 16:18 and Matthew 19:9).

      Of course, the Catholic Church does provide for separation of spouses in extraordinary cases, and I understand that couples are often advised to pursue a civil divorce in those cases, even if they don’t qualify for an annulment. And in some cases, a marriage tribunal may determine that a sacrament marriage never existed, and those couples would be granted an annulment.

      However in all cases something unfortunate has happened, which I’m sure you more than anyone could attest to.

      I stated that divorce in a culture is immoral and is bad for individuals and societies, and I stand by that. It sounds like in your case you have made your decision with the help of a priest and that for you there isn’t a better option. But I don’t think a case can be made that divorce is a GOOD thing.

      You seem to most object to the fact that divorce appeared in a list alongside other ills. Neither the Catholic Church, nor I am in the business of trying to equate specific evils. I just wrote them in a list. That doesn’t mean I think they are the same.

      My heart goes out to you and your children in what must be a very trying time and I hope to see you again around the blogosphere. Do introduce yourself next time.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for the prayers. We really do need them. I'm not looking for a theological or moral debate, I suppose just a bit of understanding. As another comment stated "life isn't always black and white". My husband would often remind me that divorce was a sin and that it was one of the worse things to happen to children. He felt so stongly about it in fact, that he once commented to me that a good father would send his children to heaven before leaving them to live out their lives in a broken family. This comment led the judge to attach a gps bracelet onto him and a gps tracker has been assigned to me. Extreme cases do exist. I realize that for certain cases annulment is a possibility. However, when a priest (from opus dei – not a group exactly know for liberalism) suggested I pursue an anullment, I wondered what that would really accomplish for me or more importantly my children. If the church declares that by process of annulment the marriage was never valid – where does that leave my children? The marriage did exist and produced five beautiful children of God. Sorry for not introducing myself, but I already feel like I'm walking around with a scarlet D across my chest.

    • Kendra Tierney

      I can't claim to understand what you're going through, but you do have my prayers and utmost sympathy.

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church backs up both of us:

      • "The separation of spouses, while maintaining the marriage bond, can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense" (#2383).
      • Divorce, for reasons other than safety and security however, is considered a grave offense because it "claims to break the [marriage] contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death" (#2384).
      • "Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society." (#2385).
      • "It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to [their]… marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage" (#2386).

      If YOU must get a divorce for reasons of "safety and security" them in your case it would NOT be considered a grave offense.

      But even when divorce isn't a sin, it's still an evil.

      And as for your concerns about an annulment, Church law states that children are legitimate and remain so, when born to unions begun in good faith and thought to be a marriage at the time that subsequently receive a decree of nullity (CIC 1061).

      But unless you plan to remarry, you certainly aren't required to seek one.

      I'm so sorry that you're feeling marginalized. I would expect that your Catholic friends who understood your situation would (like the priest you mentioned) have nothing but support for you and your children.

  23. Anonymous

    I am a Catholic Mom and would never want my daughters to stay with a abusive husband. Catholic or not, life isn't always so black and white. Life is full of lots of grey.

  24. Wrapped in Engaged Bliss

    Thank you so much for having the courage to write this. As of recent law changes I too have been struggling with updates on my feed. My initial reaction is to delete people. I don't want to because, like you, I like these people, but do not agree with some of their opinions! Thank you for standing up for the Church, our beliefs and being very mature about it!

  25. Wrapped in Engaged Bliss

    Thank you for having the courage to write this. I agree with you wholly on this. Stay about the negative comments and follow your faith.


  26. Deborah Durbin

    I work in animal welfare, working with many gay people who I love and care about. I skirt the issue, or walk a line, or avoid conversations because I don't know what to say. I hug and engage in small talk. They know I'm the catholic lady. My Facebook is feed is also filled with the equal sign. Your words have helped me if it ever comes up and have to explain. Thanks.

  27. Anonymous

    but how do you feel about touching footballs and eating shellfish and selling your daughters into slavery that's what I want to know can you do some mental backbends there

  28. Anonymous

    Nobody cares if you support gay marriage, just like nobody cares if I support organized religion (I don't). The problem is that many people who don't support something, also actively engage in activity to undermine or prevent it.

    Gay people don't need your support for gay marriage; they just need you to kindly get out of the way.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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