Redefining marriage creates conflict, bishops warn Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- In recent legal briefs filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. bishops warned that a redefinition of marriage would create an “engine of conflict” that threatens freedom of religion, speech and other liberties.

“Marriage, understood as the union of one man and one woman, is not a historical relic, but a vital and foundational institution of civil society today,” said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a Jan. 29 amicus brief supporting the California ballot initiative, Proposition 8.

“The government interests in continuing to encourage and support it are not merely legitimate, but compelling,” the brief explained.

California voters passed Prop. 8 in 2008, reversing a court decision that imposed “gay marriage” on the state.

However, that effort was overturned by a California federal judge in August 2010, claiming that there is a “fundamental right to marry.” His decision was upheld in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2012.

That decision is now being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The bishops’ brief for the case observed that the ballot measure “encourages and supports the union of one man and one woman.”

This is a legitimate state interest because these unions are the only ones capable of creating new life, the document argued, adding that it is reasonable to believe that a home with a mother and a father is “the optimal environment for raising children.”

The brief said the Ninth Circuit’s definition of marriage as simply “a committed lifelong relationship” is “incoherent,” “wildly over-inclusive,” and “leads to absurd results” because it would not exclude parent-child relationships, unions between two lifelong friends or relationships between more than two people.

In addition, the bishops’ conference warned, the redefinition of marriage would adversely affect constitutional rights like the freedoms of religion, conscience, speech and association.

It pointed to instances where businesses were forced to host “gay weddings” or close, as well as cases where public officials such as town clerks were forced to give up their positions over their objections to same-sex relationships. It also referenced religiously affiliated nonprofits that are facing the prospect of lawsuits for following their beliefs and declining to recognize same-sex “spouses” in benefits policies.

Another brief from the bishops’ conference supported the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for purposes of federal law. The act was passed in 1996 with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

That law – which the Supreme Court will also rule on this summer – is being challenged by a New York woman who contracted a same-sex “marriage” in Canada. She argues that she was unconstitutionally required to pay more than $350,000 in federal estate taxes upon the death of her partner, while a spouse in a federally recognized marriage would have been exempt.

The bishops’ brief rejected the notion of a “fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex.”

Civil recognition of same-sex relationships is “not deeply rooted” in U.S. history, it said, and previous court decisions about the right to marry “plainly contemplate the union of one man and one woman.”

The brief also rejected the claim that the plaintiff is part of “a politically powerless group needing protection against majoritarian impulses.”

“To the contrary, the last two decades have witnessed far-reaching changes in how the law treats persons in same-sex relationships, changes that belie any claim of political powerlessness,” it explained.

Tags: Gay Marriage, DOMA, Supreme Court

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27