“Ask a Priest: Should I Date Someone Who Backs Same-Sex “Marriage”?

Q: I’ve been friends with this guy for almost a year, and we recently decided that we should go on a date. We’re both Catholic, but he doesn’t agree with the Church’s teaching on gay marriage. I’m trying not to overthink, but does that mean that I shouldn’t date him? – H.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to hear that you are serious about following the Church’s teaching on this issue. It is not a popular teaching in some parts nowadays.

The purpose of dating is to see whether two people are compatible for marriage. It involves a journey, and people can change on a journey. For one thing, they can have an impact on each other.

Perhaps you could ask yourself why you are considering dating him after a year of being friends. You obviously see something good in him; otherwise you would have either broken off the friendship by now, or you would have excluded him from a list of possible suitors.

Two questions are worth focusing on.

First, is this a non-negotiable issue for you? Is agreement with Church teaching on this issue one of the prerequisites you would expect in a husband?

Being such a key issue, it is understandable if it is a non-negotiable issue for you. Just think of what would happen every time a homosexual couple want to “marry,” and you and your husband are invited. Imagine if you have to debate the issue all over, every time.

Second — and this would take a while to tell — would you see a change in your friend’s thinking over time? That is, if you started to date, with the idea that maybe you could help him see the light, you would want to look for progress.

Prudence is helpful here, because a few unexpected things could happen.

For openers, you might start to fall in love with him, and, in the interest of maintaining peace, the same-sex “marriage” issue starts to fade into the background.

Or you could be tempted to think, “Sure, he’s not 100% on board yet … but wait till we get married — I’ll change him.” More than a few women have made the mistake of thinking they were going to change their man after the wedding day.

If you want to be pro-active and press the issue a bit, you might recommend that both you and he read a book or two on marriage or theology of the body, and then discuss the works. (Christopher West, www.christopherwest.com, has some accessible material.)

This would be a way to educate your friend. You might help to win him over to the Church’s thinking. Or he might dig in his heels. Whatever he does, it is better that you see his reaction sooner rather than later.

In the meantime intensify your prayer life. Keep your friend in your intentions. Stay close to the sacraments and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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