An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

USCCB Amicus Brief

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On April 2, 2015, the USCCB submitted an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, supporting the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The basic arguments of the brief are as follows:

  • The Catholic Bishops support the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman out of love, justice, and concern for the common good
    •  When it uniquely reinforces the union of one man and one woman, the law furthers the interests and well-being of children.
    • When it uniquely reinforces the union of one Man and one Woman, the law furthers the interests and well-being of mothers and fathers.
  • The legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is not based on hatred, bigotry, or “animus” or any other impermissible purpose or classification.
    • When it draws distinctions based on conduct rather than status or inclination, the law does not reflect hatred, bigotry, or “animus.”
    • When it treats one type of conduct differently from conduct with very different practical consequences, the law does not reflect hatred, bigotry, or “animus.”
    • When it reinforces norms that happen to correspond with religious beliefs, the law does not impermissibly endorse religion
    • When it declines to specially reinforce a particular relationship between persons, the law does not thereby “ban” that relationship or make it “illegal.”
  • A holding that the unique affirmation of man-woman marriage is grounded in hatred, bigotry, or “animus” would needlessly create Church-State conflict for generations to Come.

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