Berlin’s Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, at a conference on 60,000 Catholics in Mannheim, spoke out in support of the moral legitimacy of same-sex relationships. According to the Tagesspiegel newspaper, Woelki said,
"When two homosexuals take responsibility for one another, if they deal with each other in a faithful and long-term way, then you have to see it in the same way as heterosexual relationships."Regardless of where you stand, I think that this may be a sign of where this debate (the debate concerning the Biblical and moral position of the church on homosexuality) could be headed. Notice that Woelki does not try to presume homosexuality as one thing, one uniform concept, but distinguishes a sort of ethical homosexuality from the otherwise implicitly unethical version thereof. I think that may be the best direction for the conversation--to impose the same ethical standards onto homosexual relationships as we would heterosexual ones without imposing arbitrary moral standards.
I don't think it will suffice much longer to simply argue that homosexuality, as a whole, is wrong. You've got to say why it's wrong and you've got to say it in practical and real-life contextual terms, not merely in interpretative ideals and ethereal concepts. For example, you can't just say it's wrong because of some ideological "design" for humanity or procreation. Those arguments ignore real stories way too much. The fact is, relationships are about more than procreation and the concept of a "design" for humanity is just not practical (does the man who cannot produce sperm fit the "design"? If not, then why are we letting him have sex?) and it's arbitrary unless, once again, you argue why.
God is not arbitrary. God's design for humanity is an ethical design with real social implications. God has a reason for why things are wrong. Murder is wrong because it disregards the value of human life. Rape is wrong because it's purely dehumanizing and abusive. Theft is wrong because it violates the the rights of ownership and it values possessions more highly than human dignity. Promiscuity is wrong because it violates the relationship between intimacy and commitment. But why is homosexuality, as a whole, wrong? You've got to answer that question without using "design" or procreation or "'cause the Bible says" (because, again, God is not arbitrary, therefore even the Bible has its reasons, not to mention the Bible is not clear on the subject). You've got to say why it's unhealthy and argue from there. Eventually, you've got to deal with the homosexual relationship in which bother parties are faithful, committed, monogamous, healthy, and even Christian.
So positioning the argument within the realm of ethics, actually discussing the nature of relationships and measuring their morality in terms of practical and contextual standards of social health, like Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki did, seems like a very good idea. It will keep the extreme examples of promiscuity and irresponsibility within the gay community out of the conversation concerning homosexuality's intrinsic moral quality.