Leaders in the Catholic Church in California and national pro-family organizations have published their reactions to the first homosexual marriages contracted in California beginning on Monday night.
The bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles reasserted the state’s duty to protect and promote the family, while Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and the Alliance for Marriage Foundation both called for a federal marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Another group, Concerned Women for America, called for Tuesday to be observed as a day of prayer and fasting.
A Monday statement from the bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said that U.S. Catholic bishops have “affirmed repeatedly” that persons with a homosexual orientation “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” The statement said that all people regardless of sexual orientation are called to holiness and to live according to the teachings of the faith.
“Nonetheless,” the statement continued, “the Church cannot approve of redefining marriage, which has a unique place in God’s creation, joining a man and a woman in a committed relationship in order to nurture and support new life for which marriage is intended.” Quoting the U.S. bishops’ 2006 statement “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination,” the statement said “When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened.”
The bishops’ statement said that the state has a primary and fundamental obligation to protect and to promote the family, which it said is rooted in marriage and sustained by it. The statement also said that some benefits sought by same-sex partners can already be obtained without marital status.
The statement closed by calling for people to strengthen their resolve to protect the sanctity of marriage.
The Alliance for Marriage Foundation said in a statement that the California Supreme Court decision that instated homosexual marriage proves the need for the foundation’s proposed Marriage Protection Amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution.
"In the most populous state in the Union, radical activists have convinced judges to ignore the will of the people and to follow the destructive lead of the Massachusetts courts in striking down the common sense definition of marriage," said Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage Foundation. “California is now ground-zero in the Battle to Protect Marriage, and the fight in California must now be joined in the Congress.”
Marriage amendment proponents say that without such action, couples who contract same-sex marriages in California will return to their home states and attempt to change the laws there.
Sen. Sam Brownback(R-Kansas) reacted on Monday by saying that the California ruling was a rebuke to those who believed a federal marriage amendment was not necessary. “In the wake of this decision, it is apparent that the marriage laws of all 50 states continue to be at risk from judges who desire to legislate their views on important social issues from the bench and that only a constitutional amendment will suffice to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” Sen. Brownback said.
“If the experience of the last 40 years tells us anything, it is that the consequences of weakening the institution of marriage are tragic for society at large. The percentage of children born out of wedlock has increased almost tenfold during this period. And the jury is in on our experiment in raising children without a mom and a dad: The verdict is that it increases the risks for children substantially,” he continued.
“Marriage is designed to maximize the chances that each child will be provided with a mother and a father, in a stable family setting, during the years when children are too young to fend for themselves. To redefine marriage in such a way as to remove its essential connection to parenthood is to take away its very purpose,” he said.
Sen. Brownback said the social costs of the government not upholding marriage are “tremendous,” saying studies show that children raised by their married, biological parents have fewer educational and behavior problems, are less likely to suffer parental abuse, and are less likely to use drugs or be sexually active.
“The moral imperative today is to do things that will strengthen marriage and help children, like eliminating disincentives to marriage in our welfare benefit system and reestablishing a culture that values moms and dads who get married and honor their commitments in marriage. Now is not the time to take the enormous risk of further weakening this vital foundation of our society,” his statement concluded.
The group Concerned Women for America called for a day of prayer and fasting in a Monday press release. Phyllis Nemeth, State Director for CWA of California, said, "Prayer is the key to this battle. We need to see hearts changed by God at the same time that we're trying to change minds. That's why I'm inviting my fellow Californians especially to join CWA in prayer and fasting for our state and our nation."
CWA President Wendy Wright said, "CWA was founded on 'prayer and action.' The decision by the California court on same-sex 'marriage' is an affront to God and His plan for marriage and family. It will cause long-term problems and risks for families, churches, and agencies that work with children, and many others - leading to more lawsuits and damaged lives. While many will be working to protect the true definition and meaning of marriage, our first action must be to pray for God to intervene. Please join us in prayer and fasting on June 17.”
In a May 15 statement issued shortly after the California Supreme Court’s ruling instating same-sex marriages, California Catholic Conference spokesman Ned Dolejsi said, “Although we strongly disagree with the ruling, we ask our Catholic people, as well as all the people of California, to continue to uphold the dignity of every person, to acknowledge individual rights and responsibilities, and to maintain support for the unique and irreplaceable role of traditional marriage as an institution which is fundamental to society.”