But Avila warned that a repeal would begin “a further and more intense erosion of public policy on marriage.”
“Marriage is the keystone of the common good. When you erase from a policy on marriage any reference to sexual difference, you will force the government to ignore and to be indifferent to the absence of either the man or the woman in the most fundamental relationship that we know of.”
Marriage between a man and a woman is a “first cell” of society that helps bridge “the most fundamental difference between man and woman, in a way that no other relationship can.”
The redefinition of marriage at the federal level would have “extraordinarily broad effects,” Avila warned.
“Attempts to redefine it through statute forces anyone who disagrees to take the position of being a threat to the public good,” he explained. “The whole premise of redefining marriage is that marriage as we define it now is a form of bigotry and prejudice. Therefore anyone who disagrees with this redefinition will be treated as equal to racists, for example.”
This premise carries “great threats” to the Catholic Church and all like-minded organizations.
Avila cited various instances where recognition of same-sex unions has affected religious liberty.
“In New York right now, long-serving faithful public servants, who have the responsibility of issuing marriage licenses, are being told that they have to be fired if they refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.”
Soon after the Massachusetts Supreme Court redefined marriage, he noted, Catholic Charities in Boston was required to make legal adoptions to same-sex couples and was forced out of the adoption business.
State tax exempt status was revoked from a Methodist organization in New Jersey which indicated that they would not allow a same-sex couple to rent a beachfront pavilion for a civil union ceremony. A bed and breakfast in Vermont is now being sued after it refused for religious reasons to allow its facilities to be used for a same-sex “marriage” ceremony.
In February the Justice Department stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act against a federal lawsuit on the grounds it believes it is unconstitutional because it discriminates against homosexuals.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) praised President Obama’s support for the repeal, calling the Defense of Marriage Act “discriminatory and cruel.”
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Avila contended that claims that Defense of Marriage Ac is discriminatory are not decisive arguments, because at issue is a question of whose discrimination will be adopted.
“I would daresay that Congressman Nadler and others who are advocating the repeal of DOMA are not also advocating for the repeal of the requirement that be limited to people,” he said. Many who argue for same-sex marriage have taken positions against recognizing group marriage, even as polygamists have filed suit charging that polygamy bans are discriminatory.
“Having a mom and dad in the home is best for children,” Avila stated.
The Defense of Marriage Ac passed in 1996 with “overwhelming” bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Democratic president, Avila noted, while 31 states have amended their constitutions to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
“It still represents the will of the people in this country,” he said. “DOMA strongly affirms the consensus that marriage is between a man and a woman.”