The cardinal writing July 5 about marriage started from the premise that it has always been limited to one man and one woman. Although he asks us to accept this as "a statement of reality, of fact," it is undeniably false.
The Bible is full of polygamous marriages, supposedly sanctioned by God. A marriage was not valid unless the wife was a virgin. When a husband died, his brother was required to marry the sister-in-law.
In recent history, a married woman could not own property. In fact, she was the property of the husband and could lawfully be beaten. To marry a person from another race was a crime. The government could decide whether married couples were allowed to use birth control.
Marriage, like all institutions, has evolved over time. It will continue to do so as the arc of history bends toward justice.
Get used to the idea of same-sex marriage, folks. I moved to South Carolina from Iowa, where we've had marriage equality since 2009. When gays and lesbians were allowed to marry, nothing happened except that gays and lesbians were allowed to marry. My 26-year marriage was unaffected. My church was unaffected. Yet for my gay friends, the change was awesome. Their families were strengthened. They felt like full citizens. They got to participate in a valuable and meaningful public rite. And the world became just a bit fairer and more stable for all of us.
Hilton Head Island