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Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue Paperback – October 17, 2012
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There is a lot of food for thought packed into this little booklet, which intended to be a practical guide to help the laity navigate the confusion about marriage in conversations with their family and friends. I believe you will find it to be a very valuable resource. —Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone Archbishop of San Francisco Chairman, USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
This communication guide is an invaluable resource for answering questions and explaining what is at stake for the future of marriage and the rights of children if marriage is redefined. Every family should have one. —Raymond L. Flynn, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor of Boston
The break–down of the family through artificial contraception and divorce/remarriage has been a social fact of life for decades now. Unfortunately, that situation has not been helped by ecclesiastical silence on the issues, in all too many cases. The current drive to re–define marriage itself is a logical conclusion to this confusion but also gives people of faith and those simply of intelligence and good will a golden opportunity to re-visit all of the aspects of what constitutes a true marriage, benefitting children and society–at–large. William May has provided a wonderful guide for discussing marriage in the public forum, without having recourse to biblical or other theological points of reference. For that reason alone, it is a most valuable contribution to a conversation which is not going away any time soon. —Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. Editor, The Catholic Response
This 70-page book is a quick read, but it packs a powerful message. —Stuart Dunn Catholic book review blog
If you are looking for an easy reference book on defending marriage, this book really is worth having and reading. —Cheryl Dickow Bezalel Books
This discussion is important, and we owe it to our children, and theirs, to keep having this discussion, and being as thoughtful about it as we can. —Roxane B. Salonen Editor, New Earth
About the Author
William B. May is founder, president, and CEO of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for the evangelization of culture. He is a sought after speaker on marriage, family, culture, and the imperative of regaining the offense to promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society. In 2008, May and Catholics for the Common Good were asked by the California Catholic Conference to lead Catholics for Protect Marriage, the lay Catholic response to the Proposition 8 effort that successfully restored the definition of marriage between a man and a woman in California. In his role as president and CEO, he has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, BBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, EWTN Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, the Catholic Channel, and many other programs. He and his wife Nancy have three children.
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May argues that we really need to address the deeper reasons behind the breakdown of marriage and the resulting mess that has happened, instead of focusing on the issue of same-sex marriage. The effects of moving away from the historical understanding of marriage are numerous and he cites several societal issues ranging from poverty to increased rates of abuse that arise from unwed parents and the utter lack of responsibility by people procreating.
May's primary argument, from the basis of the right of children, is much more helpful than focusing on the rights of two or more persons desiring to publicly signify their commitment to one another. If we define marriage as "the public recognition of a committed relationship between and a man and a woman (or two adults) for their fulfillment" instead of recognizing the need for marriage to "unite a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union" we begin to diminish the rights of children, specifically a child's right to know his/her parents, which is a natural desire for any human person (i.e. a child wants to know who his/her mom or dad is). My own immediate thoughts moved to "what about a couple that cannot conceive or whom do not wish to procreate?", which May later addresses.
May essentially argues that the removal of children from the basic understanding of marriage, which must remain normative to the discussion of marriage, we then focus on the relationship between two persons without any regard to the rights of children or to promoting the good of married individuals when raising a child. But wait, cannot two people of the same sex or a single person raise a child as good as a married heterosexual couple--no, this is not the point. The point is that "marriage is not about who parents best. The sole public interest for recognizing marriage is that it unites children with their moms and their dads." What is a necessary ingredient in the continuation of a society?--people procreating and after procreation taking care of the resulting child(ren)! Without successive generations, society ends.
Society needs to recognize and support man and woman connected in marriage and their responsibility for the care of their resulting children instead of focusing on their right to children or the idea that they only need make one another happy for a marriage to be successful. Marriage reduced to nothing more than a social contract between persons, bear in mind their is now a trio of married lesbian women in Massachusetts, causes "a tragic social problem that affects the development and lives of millions of people."
May argues that efforts to redefine marriage to merely the relationship between two adults, focuses on the private interests of two adults and contributes little to the public interest. Such redefinition also ignores the fundamental right of children to be with, and cared for, by their biological mother and father. The child's right to be with and cared for, by his/her natural parents, carries a massive public interest, which is well documented by much sociological, pedagogical and psychological research around the world. It is clear that children who are with and are cared for by their biological mother and father do much better in life, statistically, than those who do not have that experience.
May posits that to argue about the value of homosexual relationships, or the parental competencies of homosexual couples as against heterosexual couples distracts the debate from the real issue, which is that marriage is the only institution, which binds a man and a woman to each other and to the children which may be born of their union.
This book presents a very sound position, from which to discuss the debate on redefining marriage.