The Catholic Bishops of California have endorsed Proposition 8, a measure on the California ballot that would ban what they called the “radical change” of same-sex marriage. Writing in a statement, the bishops explained Catholic teaching on marriage and also defended marriage’s natural functions in stabilizing society for the procreation and rearing of children.
“As citizens of California, we need to avail ourselves of the opportunity to overturn this ruling by the California Supreme Court,” the bishops urged in their statement, referring to the court’s May 15 decision mandating that same-sex marriage be enacted in the state.
The language of the ballot, which declares only marriage between a man and a woman to be valid in California, “simply affirms the historic, logical and reasonable definition of marriage—and does not remove any benefits from other contractual arrangements.”
The bishops declared that marriage is intrinsic to “stable, flourishing and hospitable societies” and is the “ideal relationship between a man and a woman for the purposes of the procreation of the human race.”
Criticizing the ruling of the California Supreme Court, the bishops argued the decision “discounts the biological and organic reality of marriage” and “diminishes the word ‘marriage’ to mean only a ‘partnership’,” making children no longer a “primary social rationale” of the institution.
Citing the Catholic Catechism’s teaching that “God himself is the author of marriage,” the bishops said that same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex unions. The marriage of man and woman embraces their “sexual complementarity” and is ideal for children, who are thus raised by both a mother and a father, they said.
“Marriage mirrors God's relationship with us-and that marriage completes, enriches and perpetuates humanity,” the bishops also wrote. “When men and women consummate their marriage they offer themselves to God as co-creators of a new human being.”
Further, they repeated that protecting the traditional understanding of marriage should not be seen as a disparagement of our brother and sisters who disagree with us.
The bishops concluded by saying that they “strongly encourage” Catholics to provide financial support and volunteer efforts for the passage of Proposition 8 and to vote in the November election.
Catholic News Agency contacted Protect Marriage, a California organization backing the proposition, for comment on the bishops’ endorsement but did not receive a response by press time.