The bishops of Argentina issued a statement during their 99th plenary assembly this week which rejects current political pressure to equate homosexual unions with marriage, and explains why the bill currently under discussion should not be approved.
In their statement, “On the unalterable good of Marriage and the Family," the prelates explain that dialogue does not seek to "imply contempt nor discrimination," but only seeks to clarify the position of the Church. They explain that humans are created “in the image of God,” an image that “reflects not only the individual person, but also the reciprocity and complimentary nature of a union between a man and a woman." They go on to note that marriage is understood as "the common dignity, and the indissoluble unity of a man and a woman."
"Marriage is the state of life which creates a unique communion of two people who accept and respect the full exercise of the human sexual function. Marriage is understood as two people who are naturally distinct, complimentary, and reciprocal of each other. In such a union, people will be able to appreciate the wonderful gift of the communion’s fruitfulness."
Marriage, they continue, "is a gift of creation. People of the same sex cannot appreciate this reality. It is not just any union between people; it has specific and unforfeitable characteristics. These characteristics allow marriage to be a solid base for the family and society in general. This fact has been recognized historically by the great cultures of the world. And it is now found in international treaties that exist in our constitution and is understood by our people today."
Therefore, they explain, "Public authorities have a responsibility to protect marriage between men and women through laws which secure and promote marriage as a unique aspect of society and recognize the irreplaceable contribution marriage has in the common good."
"If legal recognition is given to unions between people of the same sex, or such unions are put on a legal plane identical to that of marriage and family, the State would be acting wrongly. It would be contradicting its duties by altering the principles of the natural law and the public order of Argentinean society," warn the bishops.
They continue by recalling that "the union of people of the same sex lacks the biological elements and the proper anthropology needed for marriage and family. These unions do not exist in the conjugal dimension and do not have an openness to the transmission of life. In contrast, marriages, and the families which come from them, become the home for new generations of mankind."
"From their conception, children have the inalienable right to develop inside their mothers, to be born and to grow up within the natural environment of marriage. In family life and in the different relationships with their father or mother, children will discover their own identity, and with time, maturity."
The bishops stress that, "to state a difference that is real and natural cannot be considered discriminatory. Nature does not discriminate when it makes us male or female. Similarly, our Civil Code does not discriminate when it requires a marriage to be between a man and a woman, it is simply recognizing a natural reality. Legal situations regarding the things of mutual interest between persons of the same sex can be sufficiently protected by the common law."
Therefore, the bishops assure, "It would be a serious discrimination against marriage and the family to give private unions between same-sex couples public legal approval."
After urging the legislators to consider "these fundamental truths, for the good of the country and its future generations," the bishops conclude with prayers asking God "to enlighten our governments, especially the legislators.”
“We ask also that you will not hesitate in expressing your defense and promotion of the great values that have forged our nation and of which we constitute the hope and future of our country.”