.- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined other religious leaders yesterday in voicing their support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
The amendment, which would preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, is currently being debated in the Senate. Senators are expected to vote on the bill by the end of the week.
The press conference was conducted by Senator Sam Brownback; leaders from about six religious groups attended.
USCCB general secretary Msgr. William Fay represented the U.S. bishops at the press conference, stating "safeguarding the nature of marriage has always been one of the Catholic Church's constant concerns.
"The Church believes and teaches that marriage is created by God,â he said. âIt is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong and loving union of a man and a woman, which is the foundation of the family unit, which itself is the bedrock of society and culture.
âMarriage is not an arbitrary social arrangement that can be altered by either the Church or the State,â he continued. âIt is God's will for humanity and the keystone of every human community."
In his statement, the monsignor said the bishops are aware of âthe growing efforts of a small but vocal minorityâ¦to redefine marriage as something that it is not."
"The protection of marriage is essential to the health and well-being of our nation, and the vast majority of Americans know this," Msgr. Fay said. He pointed out that more than two-thirds of the state legislatures have enacted measures to protect marriage, yet it remains insecure at the national level.
"The failure to protect marriage at this important moment in our history will have devastating consequences for our society and our nation," he warned.
Msgr. Fay also recalled that Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the USCCB, wrote to the Senate July 6, urging them to vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.