Should Catholics legislate teaching on marriage?


This letter is in reference to the Iowa Catholic Conference’s (ICC) Sept. 22 news release stating its support for the convening of a constitutional convention and for a marriage amendment to the State Constitution. The ICC states it hopes to encourage “Iowa’s roughly 500,000 Catholics to vote…”

Mathematically, they do not have that voter strength. Every Catholic is neither 18 years old or older, nor is every Catholic registered. Furthermore, the ICC said it has the authority to speak on behalf of Iowa Catholics about politics. Since neither I nor my fellow Catholics elected these officials, they are not speaking for us in a democratic, representative manner in the realm of Iowa politics.

Secondly, ICC Executive Director Tom Chapman saying that a marriage amendment is “worth a discussion.” There is no discussion about Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Catholic teaching cannot be discussed as open to interpretations and then voted on.

The unity of the Catholic Church is durable enough to invite political discussion, debate and disagreement among its members when these principles are to be applied to secular politics. 


As one Catholic, I see political energy being concentrated into saving the souls of two men or women who partnered up. That’s squandering political resources at the expense of job creation, improving education, and state budget problems.

Should we Catholics think we can legislate our Church teaching about homosexuality? Same-sex couples are not going to change their relationship because of an amendment. It is downright wrong to try to discipline citizens who are not members of the Church to begin with.

 I also sense immense danger in voting yes to a constitutional convention. Consider what other political movements may seek: adding an amendment changing the state tax exemption for the Church. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

John Clayton


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