An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

New Nationwide Bulletin Insert: "Marriage and the Supreme Court"

Hot off the press: a new bulletin insert – for nationwide circulation in May and June – about “Marriage and the Supreme Court.” This bulletin insert is being shared with all of the U.S. bishops, along with a set of “lead messages” on marriage redefinition, which we’ll feature in a later blog post.

Click here to open the PDF of “Marriage and the Supreme Court.”

Content, in text form:

For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court is considering two cases about whether or not marriage should be redefined to include two persons of the same sex. These cases involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The Court is expected to rule on both cases by the end of June. A broad negative ruling could redefine marriage in the law throughout the entire country, becoming the “Roe v. Wade” of marriage. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined with many other organizations in urging the Supreme Court to uphold both DOMA and Proposition 8 and thereby to recognize the essential, irreplaceable contribution that husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, make to society, and especially to children.

What You Can Do

Pray, Fast, Sacrifice

The Bishops have encouraged Catholics to participate in a Call to Prayer for Life,  Marriage, and Religious Liberty during this Year of Faith. Visit www.usccb.org/life-marriage-liberty to learn more and commit to praying and fasting for life, marriage, and religious liberty.

The Bishops have also called for a second Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. Visit www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.

Please consider contributing time, talent, and/or treasure to local or national efforts seeking to protect the unique meaning of marriage.

Advocate for Marriage (Lead Messages)

Be a witness for the truth of marriage in word and action. Take advantage of opportunities to speak about marriage’s unique meaning in conversation with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. Share the truth in love.

Everyone has inviolable dignity and deserves love and respect. There are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all, but redefining marriage serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children.

What is marriage? Marriage is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman, for the good of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. One man, one woman—for life. (See Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, no. 48).

The difference is the difference. Men and women matter. They are equal but different.  Sexual difference is essential to marriage.

Mothers and fathers matter. They aren’t interchangeable. Every child has a basic, natural right to come from and be raised in the loving marital union of his or her own father and mother.

Protecting marriage matters to everyone. It’s Catholic social teaching 101: pro-woman, pro-man, pro-child. Redefining marriage in the law says many false things: women – mothers – are dispensable; men – fathers – are dispensable; what adults want trumps what a child deserves and has a basic right to.

Learn More

Visit MarriageUniqueForAReason.org for more resources on the authentic meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. For resources for engaged couples and married couples, visit ForYourMarriage.org and PorTuMatrimonio.org.

 

 

 

 

26 Responses to “New Nationwide Bulletin Insert: "Marriage and the Supreme Court"”

  1. Pam says:

    As a Catholic, I support the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to marry the person that they love. Civil marriage brings many legal rights and benefits that are critical to so many couples. It is both harmful and disrespectful for us to tell others that they can’t have those rights and benefits because they don’t fit within OUR religious beliefs. While all Catholics should have the right to marry based on their beliefs, forcing those beliefs on others using our nations laws is a limitation of their freedoms.

    • Josh says:

      As a Catholic? Perhaps as a cafeteria Catholic….

      The point is that the Church’s teaching is universal; it is critical to the dignity of a woman/mother, man/father, and perhaps most important to a child. This isn’t stuff just made up by the Church, it was the teaching of Jesus, of God himself. To argue, that someone has the right to reject this and therefore, should become civil law is backwards. Yes, God gives us free will; however, that doesn’t make it right. Civil law must align with natural law, for to go against it, is unnatural to our created nature and is unjust – it would create injustice.

      • Mary Rose says:

        Josh echoed my sentiments,exactly.
        Civil law must align with the natural law.

        If not,the world slides into nothingness.

    • Skptk says:

      It is both harmful and disrespectful for us to tell others that what they are doing is OK when it is not. It encourages others to continue in their sin, and far from supporting their freedom, as you may suppose, it soon undermines everyone’s freedom, as we see happening in Canada.

    • Patricia Smith says:

      Pam, you have been duped. Marriage is a sacred union, instituted by God, between a man and a woman. This is the Church’s teaching and if you don’t accept it than you are not a practicing Catholic. We are called to love but not to condone sin.

    • Gays emotionally and falsely claim they are denied the right to marry and that it is time to recognize “their right”, the way society finally recognized the right of interracial couples to marry. Pause and notice that the interracial marriage issue was exactly that A MAN AND A WOMAN from different races had exactly the same right to marry as any other MAN AND WOMAN. Gays have not been denied that right – nor do gays want that right!

      Despite the tearful pleas, gays are not denied the same exact right to marry that you and I have. The truth, which they never state, is that gays claim a “Constitutional” right to call a same-sex union a marriage in defiance of the facts!

      Gays claim there is no significant difference between a male-female union and a same-sex union despite the conception of children. (Try counting the huge number of collateral changes that gays demand if a same-sex union is called a marriage!)

      Another detail that gays avoid is that if marriage is a right, no matter how I choose to define marriage, then what is marriage? And indeed, how can there be any limits on “marriage”? Do only gays have this special right to define marriage, as they want?

      It is the state that defines the meaning and public purpose of secular marriage, not each person. So, some ask: “Why is the state involved in who I choose as my life’s partner?” Actually, the state is only involved in why secular marriage exists – not in anyone’s actual choice to marry.

      Those who don’t see why the state is involved ignore a lesson learned early in life. When a male and a female join together physically, a child can be conceived. The more than 2,200 human lives destroyed each day by abortion is ghastly evidence that male-female fertility continues to be a major social problem. Yet, abortions are only a fraction of the number of new lives conceived each day through a male-female physical union.

      For context, keep in mind that only a tiny fraction of male-female unions conceive a child, and for some disabled individuals, no child is possible. The vital reason for society and the state to be involved every time a union between a man and a woman conceives a child is that a child needs nurture and intensive care for about 20 years. The state’s public interest exists because the male-female union is biologically fertile, not because the state expects every individual male-female union to be fertile. The absence of a child is not the state’s concern.

      There are more reasons for the existence of marriage than just fertility and children. For the two individuals involved in marriage, these other reasons are often of greater personal importance than children. The point is: those other reasons are personal and do not have a significant public interest value! The state’s compelling public purpose for secular marriage is to join each child to its biological mother and father through marriage for the benefit of the child and the state.

      Given the preceding practical and obvious reason for the very existence of secular marriage, what could possibly induce the state to consider applying the name “marriage” to a type of union that absolutely excludes any possibility of conceiving a child? Same-sex unions are antithetical to the very reason that secular marriage exists.

      Applying the name “marriage” to a same-sex union would immediately sow vast confusion and create extreme social discord! Its long-term effect would be to destroy the institution of marriage, because the two types of union are so radically different.

      About 1980, activist gays began a multimillion dollar campaign to apply the name “marriage” to a same-sex union. Their goal was to obtain a massive public relations coup for the “gay” lifestyle, similar to their success in acquiring the name gay.

      Since then, gays have pressed the idea that they have a “right to marry” – while actually meaning that they have a right to call a same-sex union a marriage.

      DO NOTICE: this material is a defense of marriage and a rejection of that promotion: it is not a criticism of the gay lifestyle!

      Also keep in mind that from the creation of the United States, secular marriage has been a contract between one man and one woman that joins both halves of the human race in a conjugal partnership for the benefit of the individuals and in a family environment for the benefit of the child and the state. The greatest public benefit of marriage is joining each child to its biological mother and father. The associated principle that male-female sex within marriage is good, such sex outside of marriage is bad hasn’t been totally suppressed. It is no coincidence that conceiving a child involves exactly one man and one woman.

      California’s Prop 8 reaffirmed the definition of marriage that existed throughout the United States from its creation. The California Supreme Court affirmed that Prop 8 affected only access to the name marriage. In California, same-sex unions are designated a ‘Registered Domestic Partnership’ and given every benefit and privilege available to marriage. Only the names of these two distinct unions are different because of their undeniably radical difference!

    • Alan says:

      I would like to add to what Josh had to say; what about any children that are born to a homosexual union. They will never know one of their parents. Our longing to know, love and be loved by our biological parents is a longing we all have and that will be denied to any children that are incorporated into a homosexual union. This is the main reason that I too oppose such unions, they are unfair to children.

      • GREG SMITH says:

        Tell you what Alan, I know a number of kids with lesbian moms here in San Francisco. If you’d like, I can arrange for you to meet some of them and explain to them that they never should have been born.

    • mark baird says:

      As a Catholic I respect freedom of choice and the right to choose what we do in life. As a Catholic I cannot give my support to Gay and Lesbian marriage. People can do what they want, life is a pilgrimage maybe relationships can work out in the future.

  2. Dennis says:

    This is a very important initiative and one that is important to be done well. Thank you for doing this catechesis. There is a very real reason that heterosexual relationships be seen as distinct from other relationships in order to protect children. In a time of rampant divorce and single-parent families, to further remove fecundity from marriage is an extremely dangerous weakening of this most important societal institution.

  3. Jason says:

    Too much energy, time and money is being wasted on this “cause” – especially when far more important concerns exist in the world. I proudly support love and the freedom of gay and lesbian Americans to marry. Move on.

    • Tom Morofski says:

      … and they sought the approval of sinful men rather than the approval of God.
      May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ today send His Holy Spirit into each of our hearts and minds. May each of us reflect His glory and His truth to a world dying to see and hear. And may, by His almighty power, each of us today determine to share our Savior and His words and will with everyone we meet.

    • Calling a same-sex union a marriage does not make that anti-procreative union a marriage! However, imposing this lie by law would create vast confusion and great social discord.

      Calling a same-sex union a marriage would also have a destructively detrimental effect on the institution of marriage. Marriage cannot simultaneously join each child to its biological mother and father while also transferring the respect and dignity implicit in the male-female union to the gays’ same-sex union. Yet, that was the silly reason that four California Supreme Court judges gave for declaring that same-sex unions were to be legally called a marriage! Look it up!

  4. [...] reckon we’ll have to make do with the pillar of truth, aka the Catholic Church. Which, come to think of it, reminds me of something G.K. Chesterton wrote back in [...]

  5. [...] created a special website on this issue called, “Marriage: Unique for a Reason.” In a post on that site, the Bishops promise to deliver “a set of ‘lead messages’ on [...]

  6. [...] via New Nationwide Bulletin Insert: “Marriage and the Supreme Court” | Marriage Unique for a…. [...]

  7. Linda Kaufman says:

    Civil marriage, the contracting of marriage, is a state issue. It should NOT be controlled by any church. Which marriages the Roman Catholics choose to bless in liturgy is the right of the RC church. It is time to separate the contracting of marriage for civil rights and the blessing of marriage by the church.

  8. Frances says:

    Dennis–to tie marriage to the outdated notion of fecundity (reproduction-wise) is ridiculous. By saying that marriage is all about child-bearing (a popular argument), you immediately exclude anyone who cannot reproduce due to medical issues.

    Marriage was invented by the Church in conjunction with nobility to 1) make it easier to keep track of the peons, 2) have a legal hold on keeping the peons docile(nothing like threatening your legal wife and kids to keep you from leaving your “master”), 3) to make collecting taxes on people more efficient because there were and are now records of who is with whom and where and 4) to determine inheritance and other legal rights for the family.

    Notice that last reason? THAT is why the LGBT community is asking for the right to marry in a fully legal manner. Civil unions and same-gender marriages currently are only good in the states where performed, still deprive couples of benefits and other perks that hetero married couples have.

    If you ever witnessed the fiscal aftermath when one partner in a gay couple dies after being together longer than most hetero couples, you would understand the NEED for full legal status that is portable–that is, recognized across state lines (you do know that some states reserve the right to disallow YOUR marriage, right?).

    Marriage is something that should be defined at the national level and NOT left up to the various states. It was NEVER about religion, either, but the Church was recruited to make it seem so in order to keep the revenue flowing.

    • Gays, like Frances, vigorously deny that marriage has anything to do with procreation because they know that calling a same-sex union a marriage inherently destroys the existing link between procreation and marriage. Gays recognize that calling a same-sex union a marriage inherently destroys the marital function of joining each conceived child to its biological parents, because a same-sex union excludes any possibility of conceiving a child.

      Gays accurately insist – what no one denied – that allowing a man and a woman who are sterile to marry proves that the ability to conceive a child is not necessary for marriage. THAT is not a proof that marriage has no connection to the biologically procreative nature of the male-female union!

      The marriage issue is the radical difference between these two unions, not whether or not a particular man and woman have a disability that prevents them from having a child.

      Isn’t it odd that after falsely claiming they are being denied the right to marry – as marriage is defined for everyone – gays demand that a sterile man or woman must be denied their right to marry if gays are not allowed to call the anti-procreative same-sex union a marriage?

      The truth is that marriage with the opposite sex partner of their mutual choice is the right of every man and woman – including gays. Denying any man or woman this right to marry would deny the principle of “equal treatment” by the law and if a sterile man or woman were involved, it would also violate the American’s With Disabilities Act.

      The gays’ objection about a sterile man and woman marrying is actually just another of their many misleading distractions. The truth is that the marriage of a sterile man or woman promotes and supports the state’s public purpose for marriage by setting a “good example”. Forcing the need to engage in sex outside of marriage upon thousands of sterile men and woman as their only option would be a public disaster and set a horrible example for impressionable young people.

      “Marriage” as a union between one man and one woman has a vitally positive value for society that does not injure those who aren’t interested! No one has a “right” to change the meaning and purpose of the marriage contract just so they can “feel good” by calling some other personal contract a “marriage”! Imposing a change in the meaning of marriage that destroys its existing purpose over the protests of those in or entering into marriage is a denial of their civil rights; not a promotion of equal civil rights!

      If you recognize the truth, support and share it!

  9. IT says:

    Every child has a basic, natural right to come from and be raised in the loving marital union of his or her own father and mother.
     
    This statement has nothing to do with marriage equality. Like it or not, California (and most other states) allow LGBT families to adopt children. In CA alone, it is estimated that 37,000 children live in households with same-sex parents–either adoptive, or biological.
     
    Prop8 says nothing about adoption or child rearing.
     
    Prop8 ONLY denies the protection of civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Prop8 therefore HURTS the children of same sex couples, and provides no protection to children of straight couples.
     
    If marriage again becomes legal in CA, newly wedded gay couples aren’t going to run and steal children from straight parents. If marriage remains illegal in CA, gay parents aren’t going to stop raising children.
     
    Therefore this argument is a non-sequitor.

     
    If the Bishops really do care about children, why don’t they care about the children of gay families?
     
    No one expects the Roman Catholic church to start marrying same sex couples, any more than it is required to marry previously divorced couples, or atheists. The church already lives in a civil polis where marriages of which it disapproves are nevertheless legally valid. This is no different.

    • Marriage Unique for a Reason says:

      Hi IT, redefining marriage redefines parenthood. Look at Delaware: the marriage redefinition bill passed there this week allows birth certificates to not have to list a mother and a father, but may enter two persons of the same gender as “parents” of a child. (See http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-088.cfm.) This is a biological impossibility, and an injustice to children, who have a right to know who their biological mother and father are, and be raised by them whenever possible. In cases where that is not possible, for a variety of reasons, a child still deserves to be raised by a father and mother together, and receive the different but equally good love of a father and mother. Adoptive families take their form from the generative family (father – mother – children) and should not deliberately deprive a child of a father or a mother.

      The Church does care about children who are being raised by two men or two women. They think those children, too, should have a chance to know both their mother and their father. They speak prophetically in calling all to recognize the rights of children to a father and mother, and not just the rights of adults to have a socially recognized relationship.

      • IT says:

        Blogmaster, you do not answer the question. How does the act of giving a gay couple a civil marriage license “take children away” from a mother and a father? Adoption by gay couples is already occurring. Changes on birth certificates are already occurring. NONE OF THESE DEPEND ON MARRIAGE.

        You would be consistent if you advocated against gay couples adopting, but you do not. Your opposition to equality demonstrably has NO EFFECT on children, their adoption, or their parenting, except to deprive those 37,000+ children in CA of legally married parents.
        If you have actual talking points at least make them factual.

        • Isn’t it interesting that gays who choose to enter a same-sex union which absolutely excludes the conception of any children between them – demand the right to be given children conceived and born to someone else.

          No adult person has a right to be given a child! Rather, every child has the right to be cared for and nurtured by caring biological parents – if possible or by the best available alternative adult male and female – if possible, or by other adults – if possible.

  10. Todd says:

    This initiative strikes me as off. Not because I disagree with the notion of sacramental marriage. But because marriages suffer more from the indiscretions of heterosexual partners: adultery, porn, a poor economy, a lack of affordable child care, and the list goes on.

    I also think this is a waste of money. As a married person, I would appreciate more support for my own marriage and for my friends’ marriages, some of which are in real trouble.

    What a gay person does at City Hall has far less impact than what the fleecers on Wall Street have done. Or the internet creeps pedaling pictures to 2AM husbands.

    Where were the US bishops five years ago when the economy collapsed? Or fifteen years ago when pornographers invaded the internet?

  11. GFPC says:

    If the US Bishops are serious about protecting their country, then they should, all together, consecrate the United States of America to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and have supreme confidence in her intercession.

  12. Fantastic website you’ve there.

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