"We face today the prospect of a law in New York which would radically change the timeless institution of marriage. As pastors of citizens from every corner of our great state, we stand unified in our strong opposition to such a drastic measure," the bishops said, urging Catholics to contact their senators.
Beginning with a historical approach, the group of bishops noted that "throughout history ... the one constant has been the conviction that marriage is the union of a man and a woman in an enduring bond, ordered for the procreation and stable rearing of children."
Although Catholic opposition to same-sex "marriage" is frequently cast as solely religion-based, the New York bishops stated that, "Just as importantly, it is based on reason, sound public policy, and plain common sense." They pointed out that "the state has a compelling legal interest in promoting marriage between men and women in order to create stable families and provide for the safety, health and well being of children.
On the other hand, "the state has no such compelling legal interest in recognizing a relationship between two people of the same sex," the prelates said.
Addressing the argument that homosexual couples face discrimination and must be protected by legalizing same-sex "marriage," the New York bishops advised, "If there are injustices against those in relationships other than marriage, those injustices can certainly be reformed and corrected in a way other than by drastically redefining marriage."
The statement from the bishops closed by recalling that their "firm beliefs about marriage … must not be misconstrued to be in any way a condemnation of homosexual people or an attack on their human dignity."
The statement was signed by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan (New York), Bishop Howard Hubbard (Albany), Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (Brooklyn), Bishop Edward U. Kmiec (Buffalo), Fr. Terry R. LaValley (Diocesan Administrator of Ogdensburg), Bishop Matthew H. Clark (Rochester), Bishop William F. Murphy (Rockville Centre) and Bishop Robert J. Cunningham (Syracuse).