An old friend found my reflection about gay marriage and Satan ridiculous and challenged me to consider what I would do if I found out my children were gay.  My eldest daughter is now two years old and the other is just four months.  I have about six years or so before their sexual awareness.  So, I have time.

Nevertheless, it’s a very good question to explore, now.

Same-sex attraction is as natural as concupiscence.  It doesn’t make them bad people just as my tendency towards sexual immorality doesn’t make me a bad person.  We’re just broken in different ways.  What will bother me the most is the vitriol thrown at homosexuals by self-righteous people.

Moral Insiders Treating Others Without Dignity

Moral insiders often do not treat homosexuals with human dignity; I’d be even more sensitive to that if my girls were gay.  I think it is an injustice, the way we moral insiders treat moral outsiders.  I’ve been reflecting on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  As the elder brothers, we should be going out to find our wayward younger brothers who are squandering our Father’s inheritance.  We should not be brooding in our Father’s house, objecting to His mercy.

My girls, if they are imperfect, need to be confident of my love for them – just as I am confident of Our Heavenly Father’s love for me, as imperfect as I am.  They need to understand the true meaning of free will, and the reality of God’s prodigal mercy.  Our goal in life is to become the best-version-of-ourselves.  If my girls discover that they are gay, then my job as their father is to help them become the best version of themselves, despite the heaviness of that Cross.  I am to be like Simon of Cyrene and help them carry their burden, not like the Pharisees who are ready to cast the first stone.

Maya drinks a bottle of milk and then a bottle of water or two before bed.  So, she needs to go to the bathroom three to five times before falling asleep.  My wife finds going potty that many times is excessive and that Maya is merely trying to avoid sleep.  When Maya sneaks out of her room and finds mommy, she cries while being told “it’s the last time.”  When she finds daddy, she gives a sheepish grin, takes his hand and skips to the bathroom.

Maya learns discipline from mommy, forgiveness from daddy (what Anne Marie terms “spoiling.”)  In matters of the Spirit, our Mother Church teaches me what is right and wrong, and our Heavenly Father teaches me about His abundant mercy.  Our home is our daughters’ first experience of the Trinity; if they cannot be accepted in our family for being gay, then we would have failed as parents to live out the Gospel message of love.

My love as a parent, though, doesn’t give me the right to define what is moral.  If my daughters choose to live a sinful life, then I will continue to love and bless them as God even now continues to love and bless me in my broken, sinful state.  How is their father any better as a Christian, any less of a sinner?  How is their sexual sin any worse than mine?  The sun will continue to shine on them as it does on me.

If they insist on gay marriage and children from that marriage, I will tell them that this is not what God wants.  There will be consequences, but I will be there for them.   I will continue to love, pray, fast and sacrifice myself for their sake.  I will care for their spouse, when she is sick.  I will babysit and cook for them so that they can have a break.  I will love them and the new community they’ll bring into my life, even though they are living a life of sin because God loves me even though I myself live a life of sin.  How can I do any less than my own Father?  Christ surrounded himself with moral outcasts and gave them hope.  Perhaps I am called to do the same with the help of my daughters?

Being a Christ-like example of love and mercy may not be enough to inspire my children to a life of conversion.  They may harden their hearts against any religious message because it contradicts the life they’ve chosen.  If that’s the case, then I will offer up my own life in exchange for their immortal souls.  There will be consequences to their actions, but I will pay those consequences myself if, in the end, they do not repent.  For God so loved the world that He gave up His only son for the expiation of their sins.  For I so love my daughters, I will give up my life for them.  What will my Passion be?  That’s for God to decide.  In the meantime, fatherhood is a training ground for that ultimate sacrifice.

So, to answer my friend’s challenge, while I cannot change God’s definition of marriage, I am willing to pay the price for His forgiveness of their sins.

Join the Conversation


  1. On one hand, I don’t feel religiously educated enough to have this debate with you. On the other hand, I still feel pretty strongly about how hypocrytical your statements – so I will continue… 🙂

    You say that you would “accept” them but then you proceed to label them as “sinful” and “wrong” and “broken” and “not what God wants”. I think this perspective is exactly what drives so many homosexual youth to decide that life is not worth living – you are perpetuating the idea that there is something “wrong” with them.

    Again, I am not religiously educated enough to debate on topics of what the bible specifically says or doesn’t say. However, what I do KNOW and BELIEVE is that homosexuality is NOT a choice. Therefore, if your girls were born this way, how could look them in the eyes and tell them they they are “sinful” and “wrong” and “broken” and “not what God wants”? Not only that, but how would you counsel them if they were struggling with not being accepted by others (Church, community, God) or if they were contemplating suicide because they were not born into a body/mind that IS what God would have wanted?

    I’m not saying that it would be an easy road, even if it were my kids. I just can’t wrap my head around this idea of “what if it were my kids”. I think it’s really easy to talk religion, marriage rights, etc. when it’s NOT your kids.

    My best friend since the 1st grade is gay. I’m not even really having this debate on his behalf. Sure, having him as a friend has solidified my belief that this is not a choice and my support for gay rights, etc. But I am challenginig you just because we are both parents – and I really can’t wrap my head around how people, reasonable people, can respond to their children with anything other than COMPLETE acceptance…(and your post still doesn’t answer that for me…).

    1. Thanks for reading the post, LY. While there is nothing I can write that will answer this difficult question for others, I am trying to answer the question for myself. You’re right that I may say and think this now, but what will I really do and believe if my children really are gay? That’s the beauty of these journals: I can look back and see how I’ve grown — or failed to grow, for that matter.

      We live in a world where even the word “sin” is antediluvian and judgmental. Everything is relative, “if it works for you, then fine… as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” We also live in a world where people identify themselves with their sin. When my identity is my sin, then my very being is threatened if someone labels my choices as a sin. I am a Catholic. It’s part of my identity, now. If society told me that going to Mass is wrong, that I can still be Catholic but not go to Mass, then I would take great offense to that. It’s unfair and ridiculous that society would “permit” me to be Catholic but prohibit me from living out my identity. So, I can understand why my daughters would be indignant if I told them they could have same-sex attraction but not act on it. It’s unfair and ridiculous that they can be gay, but not live out their life as a homosexual. Trouble is, homosexuality is not a religion. It does not lead one to experience infinite happiness that we were created to enjoy. It does not promise Eternal Life.

      It’s okay to be sinful, wrong and broken. That’s the “Good News” of the Christian Gospel. You don’t even have to be religious to understand the Good News. We live it every day when we forgive our children for their mistakes, for their bad behavior, for their bad habits. Everytime I forgive my daughters, it’s a reminder of God’s forgiveness for my imperfections. They are not yet perfect, but I certainly hope they will be. God has the same hope for me. For all of us. In the meantime, He’s patiently watching us grow up — just like I’m patiently watching Maya and Hana grow up.

      I am guilty of immoral sexual tendencies. In thoughts, if not in actions. Why do I have these tendencies, even after being Baptized and going to Church every Sunday? It’s concupiscence. Being born with same-sex attraction is no different than me being born with concupiscence. I can’t fault my daughters for being gay, just like God doesn’t hold it against me for my concupiscence. It’s just a fact that we’re all broken in some way. But, then there’s the Good News… but that’s a whole conversation in itself.

      Social persecution and suicide. I wholeheartedly agree that morally upright people have done a piss-poor job of welcoming the moral outcasts. Just look at the condemnation that man has for people who are homosexual, declaring that gay people are possessed by demons. There is no love in him.

      Without explicit and implicit loving support in the family, social persecution may very well lead my daughters to suicide. It doesn’t even have to be about homosexuality. Our culture itself leads many teens to commit suicide. Explicit and implicit love in the family are critical protections against teen suicide. Growing up, my parents and I only had implicit love. Explicit love was completely missing. The implicit love was so subtle, one wondered whether we had any love at all! So, when my brother fell into depression and felt like a social outcast, that last support barrier — his family’s explicit love — was missing. I’m not saying that was the only or the primary factor for his suicide, but I believe our lack of explicit love was a contributing factor. That’s why, if my daughters were gay, then they need to know that their own father is willing to pay the price so that they will go to Heaven. Would that be explicit enough for them?

      If my daughters were gay, I need to be very sensitive to how many Church parishes won’t welcome them. Someone once told me that the Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. I should not be upset that a spiritually ill person is not welcoming another spiritually ill person. It’s just the nature of being in a hospital. Fortunately, there are some patients who’ve recognized the need to band together. So, they formed a Catholic apostolate, recognized by the Vatican, called “Courage” ( It ministers to people with same-sex attraction and their loved ones. It is even endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family. So, if my girls were gay, I have a Catholic way to support them.

      A concluding thought from a TED Talk by Brene Brown ( the difference between “shame” and “guilt”? Guilt is “I made a mistake.” Shame is “I am a mistake.” My job as a father of gay children would be to teach the difference.

    2. LY, like you, I am not the most educated person in the world. If I were to engage in a debate with a trained theologian, I highly doubt I would come out the victor. However, in this issue, I feel that I do have much to say from both sides of the issue.

      I’m 24, male, a Christian, believer in the sovereignty of God, convinced of the inerrancy of the Bible, and struggling constantly against the very real desires of homosexuality in my heart. For the past 10 years or so, I have been almost exclusively attracted to men, which presents a problem for someone who reads scripture and finds all those passages condemning the gay lifestyle. Do I believe I am still a Christian even though I have these wrong desires and lusts? Absolutely. Do I believe that I could ever reconcile living with another man in a gay relationship while still claiming to be a Christian? Absolutely not.

      Here’s how I reconcile those two facts. After struggling against lusts and desires for years, and trying to work through what I deal with internally, I have come to the following conclusion: homosexual desires are not a choice. I cannot find nor remember any instance of a “choice” I made to feel this way in my childhood or youth; I am almost completely convinced that I was “born this way” (to borrow a song title).

      HOWEVER, and this is a massive “however”, I DO believe that it is a choice to act on those desires. I have never had sex. I do not plan on having sex outside of marriage, which I (and scripture) define as between a man and a woman. I will continue to fight these desires until my death if necessary. Why? Because I cannot justify acting on these desires with what I read in scripture.

      I would compare it to this: we are all born with a sin nature. We are tempted constantly. But being tempted is not a sin.

      Giving in to temptation is when we sin.

      In the same way, I may not have a choice about who I am attracted too, just like all of humanity does not have a choice about whether or not they are tempted to sin. However, I do have a choice whether or not to give in to those desires. That IS most definitely a choice that every man who struggles with this has. And as long as he is fighting against those desires, he is winning (by God’s grace) and still in right standing before Christ.

      I don’t have kids right now, but if I do someday and they tell me they are gay, I would agree with Keenton: I will continue to love them as my children and pray for they’re repentance. But I can never accept their lifestyle as good and right because I am convinced that it is not.

  2. Keenton,

    How does something imperfect arise from something perfect (God)? What if we were all perfect, but our judgement of ourselves and others prevent us from seeing this?

    How do you feel we come to know what God would have of us?

    Thanks my friend.

    1. “How does something imperfect arise from something perfect (God)?”

      I should qualify that these are just my thoughts, and I’m open to being wrong.

      Depending on whether you believe in the Creation story in Genesis, men and women were created as perfect images of God. So, to answer your question: you are right, imperfection does not arise from perfection. We were created perfectly, first.

      So, what happened? We used our free will to defy our Creator, and the consequence was death. Not immediate and total death, but death in all its variety and forms. We are experiencing the consequences of Original Sin in the temporal world.

      Christ was the gamechanger. His death and Resurrection imbued all forms of suffering with redemptive value. So, right here, right now, the suffering we experience on earth can transform us back to the perfect state. It’s why the Church says our number one goal in life is to be holy, to be saints.

      “What if we were all perfect, but our judgement of ourselves and others prevent us from seeing this?”

      I would say that we were once perfect and that we are destined to become perfect, to be the best-version-of-ourselves. It’s not simply a matter of our own judgment, but a combination of our wounded soul and our reluctance to become perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect. We need to accept Christ and receive the Sacraments regularly to heal the soul. We can only become perfect through a life of transformative suffering/love. They go together, by the way: love without suffering is merely words and emotions; suffering without love is unbearable.

      “How do you feel we come to know what God would have of us?”

      Funny… I also wonder what God wants of me. He’s given me some answers already, but I know there’s more. I’m in a good place in life, right now, but this is only just preparation. For what, I don’t know. I’m still preparing for His answer by prayer. In the meantime, I am supposed to live out the Gospel as a husband, father and diplomat. Try my best to become a saint. 🙂

      1. Suffering seems to give us a gauge by which we may understand other things better, but a great part of me also believes it is unnecessary. Perhaps it also depends on the state in which we are in at a given moment as you’ve alluded ( you had mentioned you feel to be in a good place), and also to freewill. Part of me feels it’s a choice, that we often choose suffering (or love), and don’t always know why. For me I know that when I try to understand these choices, there are times that it leads to more suffering, more often when I try to shape these choices by brute force rather than surrendering to a given situation or state of being. I suppose in a way that brings me back to the original topic of your post about being gay. One can force their way down a path that may be conducive to another’s way of life, but perhaps for the individual surrendering to who they are is their path?

        I like your view of this current state as preparation. I try to remind myself of that but on the other side of the spectrum when things appear well but the nagging feeling that something just isn’t right is there, how does one know what to change? I suppose one must evaluate that for themselves, whether that nagging is an internal or external call. And if it is an internal one, perhaps that’s life.

        Sorry just some internal ramblings..

        Btw, just be yourself. That’s sainthood enough 😉

  3. We are like-minded on this. I think it is Fr. Groeschel on EWTN (or I might be wrong) who has same-sex attraction, yet he is a holy leader and example in our faith. And as you say, many of us men are tempted and stimulated easily toward sexual immorality also – homosexuals don’t own sexual immorality. But it’s really the action that matters – the scandal. The souls we hurt. A person with same-sex attraction might just be Pope one day (or maybe already has been), and that does not matter. It’s the act that we Catholics oppose, as we oppose sex outside of marriage, or with multiple partners, or certain sexual acts, etc. This is why it is easy to understand our Holy Father when he said, “Who am I to judge?” Of course the godless used this as a “see, the Pope is for gay marriage” opportunity, not understanding that what he was really saying was that he is a sinner among sinners. How can he judge? How can I? We do know the rules, but we can’t judge what our Father in heaven will judge (so it’s best to leave that up to Him). Great post. God’s love!

    1. God’s love, indeed. Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading the post. Your thoughtful comment is appreciated — and now I’m curious to know whether Fr. Groeschel does suffer from same-sex attraction. You make a good point that we may very well have had other Catholic leaders in the past who had to bear this cross.

      Thanks again for your words. God bless your week!

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