.- The U.S. bishops condemned a federal court ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, saying the move defies the will of California voters and reflects âbasic confusionâ about the nature of marriage.
âThe people of California deserve better. Our nation deserves better. Marriage deserves better,â said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York City, president of the U.S. bishopsâ conference.
In a Feb. 7 statement, he called marriage âone of the cornerstones of societyâ and stressed that the U.S. Constitution âdoes not forbidâ its protection.
The cardinal-designate said that Wednesday's ruling was a âgrave injusticeâ that ignores âthe reality that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.â
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, who chairs the bishopsâ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, added that the court ignored the âcorrectly-informed judgmentâ of California voters, who supported the 2008 ballot measure that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
The people of California, he said, âjustly upheld the truth of marriage.â
On Feb. 7, a panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower courtâs decision against Proposition 8. It said the measure âserved no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.â
Supporters of the measure â which received 52 percent of the vote â plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bishop Cordileone said that society does not exist in âan amoral or value-less vacuumâ but must be âinfused with moral direction that is grounded in the truth.â
The California Catholic Conference also weighed in after the ruling, noting that marriage âbetween one man and one woman has been â and always will be â the most basic building block of the family and of our society.â
Conference leaders said they were âdisappointedâ by the most recent ruling but noted that it has âalways been clearâ that the U.S. Supreme Court would likely decide the issue.
âIn the end, through sound legal reasoning, we believe the court will see this as well and uphold the will of the voters as expressed in Proposition 8. We continue to pray for that positive outcome.â
Archbishop JosÃ© H. Gomez of Los Angeles also criticized the Ninth Circuit's opposition to the measure.
âMarriage, in every culture and every age, has been recognized as the lifelong union of a man and woman for their own well-being and for the creation and nurturing of children,â he said on Feb. 7.
The government has a âvital interestâ in promoting marriage because it is the âfoundation of societyâ and because the government has a duty towards the well-being of children, he said. Children âhave the right to be born and raised in a family with both their mother and their father.â
Government officials also have âno competence and no authorityâ to redefine or âexpandâ the definition of marriage to include other kinds of relationships, he continued. To do so is âto say that marriage no longer existsâ and this would have âgrave consequencesâ for children and for the common good.
Archbishop Gomez pledged continued prayer for an outcome that âsupports and strengthens the true meaning of marriage.â