In a March 14 column in the Rhode Island Catholic, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence gave five reasons why redefining marriage to exclude sexual difference is problematic and ill-advised.
Among his reasons, the bishop wrote that redefining marriage presumes to alter an institution that is based on the nature of the human person, created male and female:
Marriage between a man and woman was designed by God and has two fundamental purposes: It affirms the difference and the complementarity of males and females in a loving relationship, and it provides the foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Marriage thus described has been the fundamental unit, the building block of every human culture and society.
Bishop Tobin also noted that altering the definition of marriage “is a significant change in the human landscape; it’s a social experiment, the consequences of which may not be realized for many years to come.”
And the bishop highlighted the fact that changing the definition of marriage invariably leads to conflicts with religious liberty, as those who hold the immemorial definition of marriage, including the Church, would be viewed by the law as “intolerant” or “bigoted.” (The connection between marriage and religious liberty is a main theme of the Marriage: Unique for a Reason initiative, which includes a series of FAQs on marriage and religious liberty.)
In conclusion, Bishop Tobin promised that if the question of marriage redefinition surfaces again in the Rhode Island legislature, “the Diocese of Providence, joined by its allies in our community, will be fully engaged in the battle.”
- Background: the Rhode Island Legislature approved civil unions for two persons of the same sex in 2011 but many proponents for marriage redefinition expressed discontent with civil unions and vowed to continue proposing marriage redefinition bills.
- Read Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s entire column.
- Visit the Rhode Island Catholic Conference’s webpage on marriage.