Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $39,825 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Of same-sex marriage and male lactation

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 29, 2013

“Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalizing male breastfeeding,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said in an interview with the Catholic Herald of London.

With all due respect to the archbishop—whose overall defense of marriage in the interview is admirable—the analogy to male breastfeeding doesn’t really work. As far as I know there are no existing laws against male breastfeeding. Or rather, the only law against male breastfeeding is the law of nature. What the state has to say about the matter is irrelevant.

Regarding same-sex marriage, however, the state’s decision—to recognize such unions or not—is crucial. Insofar as Archbishop Cordileone meant to say that people of the same sex cannot possibly form a marital bond, he is right. The state cannot legislate that bond into existence, any more than the state can require men to nurse babies. So if he had referred to the absurdity of a law that “required” male breastfeeding, rather than merely a law that “legalized” it, the archbishop would have been on stronger rhetorical ground.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that a writer on the staff of the National “Catholic” Reporter also took issue with Archbishop Cordileone’s analogy. But—again, not surprisingly— Joshua McElwee’s complaint is quite different from mine. McElwee questions the archbishop’s grasp of the scientific facts, because “in certain, rare circumstances, males can, in fact, lactate.”

Where that recondite fact leads us, in terms of the debate on same-sex marriage, is obscure.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($127,318 to go):
$150,000.00 $22,681.70
85% 15%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat 3 hours ago
When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics 24 hours ago
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18
Challenge Grant Begins as Synod Ends October 17
What's wrong with this Synod, IV: Unprepared for marriage October 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6