After U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California's Proposition 8 on Wednesday afternoon, Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the chairman of the bishops' Committee for the Defense of Marriage, described the ruling as a "misuse of law."
Cardinal George stated, “Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of any society. The misuse of law to change the nature of marriage undermines the common good.”
“It is tragic that a federal judge would overturn the clear and expressed will of the people in their support for the institution of marriage. No court of civil law has the authority to reach into areas of human experience that nature itself has defined,” the U.S. bishops' president insisted.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, also weighed in on the ruling, saying, “Citizens of this nation have uniformly voted to uphold the understanding of marriage as a union of one man and one woman in every jurisdiction where the issue has been on the ballot. This understanding is neither irrational nor unlawful."
“Marriage is more fundamental and essential to the well being of society than perhaps any other institution. It is simply unimaginable that the court could now claim a conflict between marriage and the Constitution,” the Archbishop of Louisville said.
The Catholic bishops' reactions were echoed by other pro-family and pro-marriage groups.
The lawyers for Protectmarriage.com, the defendants in the ruling, plan to appeal the case.