I rejoice in the fact that 11 states voted to recognize the traditional, sacramental definition of marriage. It is likely that there will be a great deal of legal wrangling over this, but the people have spoken unequivocally on the matter.
I am a good deal more conflicted over the fact that 8 of these states apparently also voted to outlaw gay civil unions. I suppose the matter is merely semantic. At least in my mind that is how I have drawn the boundaries--marriage is between a man and a woman--a union recognized both by the Church and by Law. But a civil union? Why should I oppose the legal recognition of a long-term relationship.
Why, for example, should it be possible for a spouse to inherit with or without a will in most states the estate of a spouse upon the demise of the spouse, but such cannot happen without a will in place for persons of the same sex.
I see justice-of-the-peace marriages as simply a legal recognition of a bond between people. While I may be required to insist that such a bond cannot and does not exist sacramentally, what sense does it make to say that it does not exist legally?
I think the bishops have said that we should certainly fight to preserve the sanctity of marriage. And I suppose one could reasonably make the slippery slope argument with regard to the legalization of civil unions. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the heart is entrained in the strict line of reason. In this case, for me, it is not. Yes, I regard homosexual practice as a sin, but is it not possible for the homosexually attracted to live in a committed, non-sexual relationship? I suppose the temptation is always present, but temptation is not sin, and it is, frankly, none of my business and certainly not within my purview to regulate it.
In this case I will say, "The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know." I don't know why I am saddened by this turn of events, but I am. I feel that in some sense justice has been denied even while truth has been reaffirmed in the main statement.
So, I rejoice in the 11 states that have defined marriage traditionally, but I am saddened that the two issues seem to be one in at least eight of those states.