During his inauguration speech on Monday, January 21st, President Obama indicated that passage of marriage redefinition laws would be a key goal of his second term:
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
In response, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, gave the following comments to the National Catholic Register:
I honor the President’s concern for the equal dignity of every human being, including those that experience same-sex attraction, who like everyone else, must be protected against any and all violence and hatred.
But the marriage debate is not about equality under the law, but rather the very meaning of marriage. Marriage is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers.
Protecting this understanding of marriage is not discrimination nor is it some kind of pronouncement on how adults live out their intimate relationships; it is standing for the common good.
In the Register article, Archbishop Cordileone added that an urgent matter of justice was “the equal right of all children to grow up knowing and being loved by their mother and father. I pray for the president and for all our nation’s leaders that they will grow to understand and support this enduring truth.”
The Register article also laid out the potential consequences to religious liberty of redefining marriage. As Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, pointed out in an earlier interview with the Register, “The real threat [from redefining marriage law] lies in the area of licensing of Catholic Charities’ adoption agencies and accreditation of schools and universities that maintain their support of traditional marriage.”
Archbishop Lori continues, saying that if the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned, it was “not unthinkable” that defending marriage as the union of one man and one woman “will be regarded as bigotry and hate speech and that all kinds of strictures will be placed on our schools.”
Bishops Call for Increased Prayer, Sacrifice
Two marriage-related cases are currently before the Supreme Court, one involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the other California’s Proposition 8. A ruling is expected by late June 2013. In response to this important judicial decision, as well as other threats to life and liberty such as the HHS Mandate, the bishops have called for a coordinated strategy of prayer and sacrifice involving holy hours, praying the rosary, fasting and abstinence from meat on Fridays, focused Prayers of the Faithful at all Masses, and a second Fortnight for Freedom in summer 2013. More information about the bishops’ Call to Prayer can be found on the Call to Prayer website. Or join the Call to Prayer on Facebook.