.- Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written to all Catholic bishops, asking them to personally urge their senators to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. Pastors and parishioners are urged to do the same.
The first vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 30) will likely be held by mid-July.
The measure, introduced by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO), reads: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”
In his June 24 letter, Bishop Gregory notes that while the proposed amendment defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it leaves legislative decisions on civil unions up to the state legislatures.
Since opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment are expected to mount a filibuster against the proposed amendment, the key vote in the Senate will likely occur on a motion to bring debate to a close (invoke “cloture”). Under these circumstances, cloture is necessary before the Senate can vote on the amendment, Bishop Gregory explains.
“Your message should also strongly support any effort to stop a ‘filibuster’ and allow the Senate to vote on this vitally important matter,” he writes.
Bishop Gregory notes that the USCCB has been working on the marriage issue for many years, supporting state efforts to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
In September, the bishops issued a formal statement calling for all levels of government to support the amendment. They also submitted testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees earlier this year.
The USCCB also released the statement, “Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-sex Unions”, which can be found at www.usccb.org/laity/marriage/samesexunions.htm
Parishioners can reach their senators through this Web site: http://www.family.org/cforum/extras/a0032482.cfm