.- The Catholic Conference of New York defended marriage as the union of a man and a woman at the annual lobbying day at the state Capitol yesterday.
Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, was joined by lead spokesman Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn in saying that marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, is for the good of society, reported the Associated Press.
Cardinal Egan celebrated mass at a nearby convention center for about 1,000 people that day. In his homily, he called marriage the “most basic, essential and sacred component of society”, and urged the people to champion the rights of the family.
Lobbying against same-sex marriage has become a priority for the bishops after a number of U.S. cities began issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples last month; 25 same-sex couples were married in New Paltz, in upstate New York.
Currently, there are two bills before the state Legislature on the issue. One bill would make same-sex marriage legal, the other would make it illegal.
Bishop DiMarzio said changing the legal definition of marriage would be a major public policy change, which would also change “the whole understanding of our society and religion,” reported the AP. The bishop also warned that allowing same-sex marriage may be taken too far and may lead eventually to the legal marriage of three or more people.
The bishop said he believes in the separation of church and state, but not “in the separation of religion and society." The legal system’s recognition of the role of religion in marriage requires religious leaders to defend marriage, he added.