Responding to the successful passage of Maine’s Question 1, Archbishop of Louisville Joseph E. Kurtz has said that the people of Maine voted to “uphold the true nature of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.” Truth is inseparable from justice, he added, saying that society should strengthen marriage, not redefine and confuse it.
Question 1, an initiative which overturned the Maine legislature’s decision to recognize homosexual couples as married, passed on Tuesday by a margin of 52.9 to 47.1 percent.
Archbishop Kurtz, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, commented on the vote in a Wednesday statement.
“The voice of the people in this country has spoken once again on the side of justice, in favor of the truth about marriage,” he remarked.
“Law should be at the service of truth and justice. Laws based on untruths are unjust. Working for justice presumes that we work to preserve the true meaning of marriage,” Archbishop Kurtz explained.
The archbishop also emphasized that the Church stands for the basic rights of all people, including homosexual persons, and decries “any unjust discrimination against persons who experience same-sex attraction.”
“Protecting marriage between a man and a woman has nothing to do with denying basic rights to anyone, though it is often framed in such terms,” he remarked.
“Especially in our society where we see so many marriages fail, we should work to strengthen marriage rather than redefine it,” Archbishop Kurtz continued. “Marriage must be protected and promoted today for what it is and what it is meant to be: the lifelong, exclusive union between husband and wife. There are many ways to uphold the basic human rights of all people, but sacrificing marriage can never be one of them.”
The archbishop stated that marriage as an institution precedes all others, political or religious, and deserves the state’s reinforcement and protection.
“The Catholic Church recognizes that this truth is contentious and difficult for some to accept. Yet it is a truth both accessible to human reason and confirmed by revelation, and the Church reasonably and compassionately urges all to respect it.
“The nature of marriage is written in the truth of who we are as human persons, as man and woman. One can say it is written not merely on our hearts, but in our very bodies.”
Archbishop Kurtz also said that sexual difference is “real and valuable,” not a social construct that may be disregarded “at will and without cost.”
“Sadly, the attempts to redefine marriage today ignore or reject the unique identity and gifts of man and woman. Such a dismissal only fosters confusion about what it means to be human.”
Speaking on behalf of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Kurtz expressed his “deep gratitude” to Bishop of Portland Richard J. Malone and all organizations, individuals and voters who worked to support the “truth of marriage” in Maine.
He said the committee urges prayers that leaders and all the people of the country will promote and protect the “truth and beauty of marriage” and its place in service to human dignity and the common good.