.- The New York legislatureâs passage of a gay âmarriageâ bill will undermine families and will enable efforts to sanction those who preach the true nature of marriage, the stateâs Catholic bishops said June 24.
The bishops of New York said they were âdeeply disappointed and troubledâ by the legislatureâs passage of the bill on June 24 by a 33-29 vote.
âWe worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization,â they said.
The definition of marriage âcannot change,â they explained, âthough we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.â
The bishops said society must regain âa true understanding of the meaning and place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by Americaâs foundational principles.â
One Democratic senator opposed the bill and four Republicans voted for it. Similar legislation had failed in a 2009 vote by a vote of 38-24.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic and a Democrat, signed the bill into law on Friday. He said the state has âfinally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted.â
The Republican-controlled Senate could have prevented the vote but chose not to. Several wealthy Republican donors had also funded a campaign to pass the legislation.
In a separate statement, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn said Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature have âdeconstructed the most important institution in human history.â
He said Gov. Cuomo âhas opened a new front in the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of our nation.â
âRepublicans and Democrats equally share responsibility for this ruinous legislation and we as Catholics should hold all accountable for their actions,â he added.
In protest of the decision and the âcorrupt political process in New York State,â Bishop DiMarzio said he has asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors granted by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support the legislation. He has also asked all pastors and school principals not to invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.
The bishop said that the governor and the legislature have âdemonized people of faithâ and âidentified them as bigots and prejudiced.â
âIt is mystifying that this bill would be passed on the last day of an extended session under the cover of darkness,â he said.
âThat there was virtually no public debate on the issue and that the entire matter was concluded in just over thirty-minutes late on a Friday evening is disgraceful,â the bishop added in an editorial in the New York Daily News.
An amendment to the gay âmarriageâ bill granted some religious freedom protections to religious groups, but not to those working in wedding-related industries.
New York Catholic Conference director Dennis Poust told EWTN News June 15 that if the bill passed âthere is very little that can be doneâ since New York does not have a system of voter initiatives and referenda like California and some other states.