In a letter addressed to all Catholics in Hawaii, dated August 22, 2013, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu writes, “The issue of same-sex marriage is in the limelight once again in our community, with a move for a special legislative session to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii.”
The bishop continues, “While the Catholic Church is clear in its insistence that true marriage can only be between one man and one woman, there are many people, even among Catholics, who perceive such insistence as unjust discrimination against our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is urgent to clarify certain issues.”
In his letter to Hawaii Catholics, Bishop Silva touches on the issue of discrimination, on the long-term effects of redefining marriage, including threats to religious freedom, and on the importance of marriage for children, who will be the “greatest casualties” of marriage redefinition.
The bishop writes, “The issue goes far beyond simply the private relationship of this or that couple, and its implications will be far reaching and profound. The language of the proponents is meant to convince us that this is a civil rights issue and that anyone who does not agree is bigoted. Do not be led astray with such language, and do not allow yourself to be bullied by it.”
He encourages all Catholics in Hawaii to contact their state legislator and urge them to defend marriage, to pray for their legislators (“But do not let your prayer be mere words!” Bishop Silva says), and to be understanding toward those who do not agree with them – “even Catholic legislators who have committed to vote for same-sex marriage.”