By John-Henry Westen
HARTFORD, April 4, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On March 26, Brian Brown, Executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, testified before the judiciary committee of the state legislature in regard to House Bill 7395: An Act Concerning Marriage Equality.
Representative Michael Lawlor, a proponent of homosexual ‘marriage’ repeatedly asserted falsely that Brown, a Catholic, believed homosexual people were intrinsically evil. Lawlor, joined by Senator Edwin Gomes continued this line of attack even after Brown repeatedly insisted that he agreed with the Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts, and not homosexual persons are intrinsically evil.
Brown presented an admirable defense of his faith and his stand in favour of the traditional family based on rational argument. Nonetheless, the repeated and discourteous attacks by Lawlor and Gomes drew criticism from the Catholic League.
The following is an edited transcript of the exchange:
Lawlor:…I mean do you personally feel that homosexuality is intrinsically evil and objectively disordered?
Brown: . . . So yes, as a Catholic, I believe what the Catholic Church teaches on this and I respect my Protestant brothers and sisters and everyone here who has their own religious beliefs, but the arguments I put forward today I think are logical and rational arguments on the foundation of marriage. I think people of different faiths and different backgrounds can agree on this, and for those who disagree…that is what this public hearing is about.
Lawlor: I’m glad you said that cause I think that seems to be the dividing line, if you believe that about homosexuality then you are opposed to same sex marriage and if you don’t, typically you’re supportive of at least civil unions and potentially marriage. And I think it’s important cause I definitely respect everyone’s views, but I think it is important to clarify the basis of those views and…and I respect you for saying that’s how you feel.
Brown: I believe in respect and the basic human dignity of everyone…um…so again, I think that is something else that our church teaches, charity, love, respect, um…and that is what I believe in.
Lawlor: So labeling people as intrinsically evil and objectively disordered is a respectful thing in your view?
Brown: Well, first of all the Church doesn’t label people as that. It talks about acts, what the Church doesn’t agree with that’s a very different thing. So that’s a mischaracterization of what the Catholic Church teaches.
Lawlor: Okay, so I’ll clarify my statement… so you believe that people who love people of the same sex are intrinsically evil and objectively disordered. Is that what you feel?
Brown: Of course I don’t. I’m not saying people or individuals, I’m not saying anything like that, but if you want to stand up here and have a show trial on my Catholicism, I’m willing to stand hear and answer questions all day because people fought for the right to be Catholic. People fought for the right to believe what they believe and speak up on those issues, and anyone here who is sitting here, I don’t care what religion you are—don’t ever be silenced. Don’t ever be told don’t speak what you believe. That’s what we have to do and that’s what I believe in.
Gomes: I also am Catholic and I belong to a Catholic Church and I was married in a civil marriage. But what you’re telling me according to what you said on the teachings of the Catholic Church, that I shouldn’t even have an opinion as a senator on this at all. Could you repeat what you said about this issue when asked by Representative Lawlor? What was that question you asked Representative Lawlor?
Lawlor: I was asking whether Mr. Brown felt that persons who love people of the same sex and apparently engage in sex with them are intrinsically evil or objectively disordered? Cause some people argue that?
Gomes: What was the answer? Do you believe that? Do you believe they are?
Brown: Again he put the question for not what the Church teaches, the Church says that homosexual acts, its not attacking persons. So he’s…. Representative Lawlor is saying that the Church says that people are evil.
Gomes: And what did you say the Church said?
Brown: Well the church says that certain acts are wrong, not that people are evil. That’s a very big distinction.
Gomes: In that sense, then what you’re saying is they don’t agree with same-sex relationships at all.
Lawlor: Well, I think that what the Catholic Church teaches is clear…that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage.
Gomes: Then, you base your convictions on what the Catholic Church has taught you, you said as a Catholic.
Brown: Not only do I believe that it is logical and rational to believe that and to understand that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Again, I mean this line of questioning, its almost as if, you know, that people with religious faith have no minds of their own. You think these things through. You say is this true? Is this accurate? Is this rational? I believe those are all the case. I believe that it is true that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Gomes: I believe that people do have a mind of their own. I’m not questioning that I was questioning you. I was questioning what you said about the Catholic Church and what they believe about same sex relationships and I come away with the belief that what you have said is that my sitting here as a Catholic senator should really not have a decision to make on this because the Catholic Church has made it through what they taught you. What you think I am a Catholic member just like you that that’s the case?
Brown: You can have any opinion you want but what the Catholic Church teaches is quite clear that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.
Gomes: And that’s the basis of your argument?
Brown: No. The basis of my argument is that I believe that is rational and that its true. There are people who do not share my faith at all; there are Orthodox Jews, Evangelical Protestants people of entirely different religious backgrounds that agree and understand that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Is it a source of truth? Of course it is. If you are a professing Catholic, is that part of who you are? Of course it is and it is a clear teaching of the Church.
Gomes: Therefore, I should ignore the fact that a class of people are being treated differently and I should ignore that this is a civil rights issue to me. I should ignore the fact that it is a civil rights issue because of the teaching of the Catholic Church and because I’m Catholic?
Gomes: You know, when I was a kid they scared us with heaven and hell and all that. I thought you were going to say I was going to hell if I cast my vote.
Brown: I didn’t say that.
Portions of the exchange may be viewed on this video from AirMaria.com:
To contact Brian Brown:
To express concerns:
Governor Jodi Rell
Representative Michael Lawlor
Legislative Office Building, Room 2500
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
Senator Edwin Gomes
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: Toll-free 1-800-842-1420