This year, Catholic Celebration of Marriage Week (February 12-18) will be observed throughout Connecticut for the first time under the auspices of the Dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich and the Archdiocese of Hartford. The week begins on “World Marriage Day,” a longstanding event sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.
In a letter to priests in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Bishop William E. Lori urged their participation in solidarity with the Catholic community throughout the state to honor and raise awareness about the vocation of marriage. “A healthy marriage is crucial to every family, the ‘domestic church,’” he writes. “We hope that this effort will provide encouragement and support for married couples and for those considering the vocation of marriage.”
Marriages Down, Divorces Up
Marriage in America has been on a roller coaster ride in recent decades. According to 2005 statistics from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the median age has risen (27 for men, 25 for women) while the marriage rate (annual number of marriages per 1,000 adult women) has declined 50 percent over the last half-century. The divorce rate hit its all-time high in 1980 before beginning a modest decline from 22 to 18 per 1,000 married women.
Meanwhile, cohabitation has increased a whopping 1,100 percent over the last 40 years. Over half of all first-time married couples live together beforehand. And in our own state, civil unions became law last October 1, despite a strong protest from the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations who believe that traditional sacramental marriage is under threat.
Not surprisingly, those activists who have put the definition of marriage under threat in Connecticut were trying to be the party poopers at this week’s celebration. But they were at war with nature itself. An e-mail from one pro same-sex “marriage” publicity hound encouraged local activists to “protest the start of their straight marriage week” at the “anti-gay RC Cathedral” in Hartford. “Make your signs now” he wrote, helpfully suggesting such slogans as “Gay Love is God’s Love” and listing reasons for the protest such as “because GLBTIQ children grow up hearing the teachings of the RC church and thinking that there is no hope for them and some commit suicide.” Unfortunately for the author of the e-mail, he scheduled the protest for Sunday the 12th, a day during which there was a record-breaking snowfall. No protest occurred, or, if it did, no one saw it.
In another e-mail, the same activist gadfly tried to organize a protest across the street from the FIC press conference held on Feb. 9 in front of the state Supreme Court: “There doesn’t have to be a lot of people–just enough to gain publicity to counter the FIC message…if you are doing a counter, please let the Courant and TV stations know.” But there was no protest. Perhaps it was the freezing cold that morning that kept those intrepid warriors for “marriage equality” away.
Of course, there was the usual gimmick of same-sex couples showing up at town clerks’ offices to request marriage licenses, when they know they will be turned away:
That was fine with Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, a group that opposes gay marriages and plans to push for a constitutional amendment.
“You’re not allowed to just make marriage up as you go along,” he said. “Marriage is some definite thing and what marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
But the noteworthy thing about this year’s effort is that it was almost entirely ignored by the state’s print media. Try the same pro same-sex “marriage” gimmick three years in a row and even the MSM will find you boring.
Love Makes A Family conducted its own gimmick at the state capitol, a Valentine message to legislators “promising a big fight” to legalize same-sex “marriage”–but only after Election Day. They say it is because of the short session this year, but their contempt for the voters is hard to miss. And the political effect of the civil union-inspired attacks on religious freedom that are already occurring in Connecticut has made them nervous:
Stanback fears anti-gay marriage forces will attempt a bill that would exempt religious affiliated groups from the civil union law. Such an amendment died in the state House last year 56-92.
Senate Minority Leader Lou DeLuca (R-Woodbury) said he knows of no such plans, but blasted LMF for lobbying for gay marriage when the civil union law specifically defined marriage as a rite between a man and a woman. DeLuca feels the gay rights lobby assures legislators they want one thing, while really striving for more.
“They tell you what you want to hear one year, but they’ve never been truthful during this entire process,” DeLuca said.