Civil unions bill aims to change perception of marriage, Denver bishop says
By Hillary Senour
Bishop James D. Conley
Bishop James D. Conley

.- Bishop James D. Conley of Denver says that the civil unions bill being debated in Colorado is an  attempt by the government to redefine and change the public's perception of marriage.

“The purpose of the law is to reorient people’s values,” Bishop Conley told CNA on May 10, “and that isn’t what government should be about.”

The intent of the bill, Bishop Conley said, is not to secure “legitimacy for social arrangements and personal behaviors,” but rather to “change viewpoints” of the general population about the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The 2012 session of the Colorado House of Representatives ended May 9 amid great controversy.

With the support of one Republican, a civil unions bill unexpectedly passed through a House committee and advanced to the Republican-controlled House floor.

Republicans filibustered the bill and House Speaker Frank McNulty announced an impasse May 8. The civil unions bill, along with more than 30 other bills, died without a vote.

But Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a special session of the legislature and listed civil unions measure on the agenda for the session, which will begin at 10:00 a.m. on May 14.

This action comes after Coloradans voted to define marriage as being between a man and a woman by passing Amendment 43 in 2006.

Revisiting the issue is a dangerous move, Bishop Conley said, not only because it “obviates the will of the people,” but also because it “diminishes the sovereignty of the legislative process.”

If passed, the civil unions proposal could “pave the way for a total redefinition of marriage” by “creating a pseudo-marital institution” which is recognized by the government, he warned.

Bishop Conley said that changing the meaning of marriage “would be like redefining math or physics—some things are objective, unalterable realities.”

Throughout history, he noted,  most cultures and religions have upheld marriage as a union between one man and one woman, “not out of disrespect for homosexual persons,” but for the interest of society at large and natural law.

The Denver bishop asserted that the creation of such a union would ultimately “set the stability of our culture at risk.”

And while he admitted that it might sound “like scare-mongering” to make such a statement, Bishop Conley underscored that the act of “redefining ancient and universally held beliefs” puts a culture on “dangerous ground.”

“Marriage has a social value. It protects women, and it protects children. Marriage ensures long-term social stability.”

The civil unions bill would harm those it is intended to help, Bishop Conley said, by promoting a “worldview which is false” by presenting homosexuality as morally permissible.

Supporters of the Colorado civil unions bill believe they have enough votes to pass the Republican-controlled House, including Republican Speaker pro-tem Kevin Priola.

Tags: Civil Unions, Gay Marriage

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