Check out the press release from the USCCB about the recent rulings on marriage in federal courts. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Cordileone reminds us, “Recent court decisions on marriage in no way deter our efforts to promote the truth about marriage – a truth that no court decision can ever undo.”
A federal appeals court in Denver struck down Oklahoma’s marriage amendment today. This is the same court responsible for striking Utah’s amendment down. They argue that the U.S. Constitution protects same-sex marriage.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released a statement, reaffirming her commitment to natural marriage. She said: “In 2004, voters had an opportunity to decide whether or not to allow same-sex marriage in Oklahoma. Seventy-six percent voted not to, and to instead define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. I was one of the many voters who cast my ballot in favor of traditional marriage.”
On July 16th, 2014 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that not extending the right to marry to same-sex couples does not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
The petitioner to the court in this case was a man in Finland who had gone through a sex change and wanted to change his identity. He was told that if he was to do so, he would no longer be recognized as married to his wife: that marriage could be dissolved or transformed into a civil partnership.
The court explained that the European Convention “enshrines the traditional concept of marriage as being between a man and a woman.” Therefore it does not require acceptance of same-sex unions.The majority of the countries in the European Union maintain the true meaning of marriage as a bond between one man and one woman.
There’s an article about this ruling and its possible implications for American at Aleteia.
Yesterday a Circuit Judge in the Florida Keys ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex “marriage” is unconstitutional.
The judge noted, “The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority.” In fact, in Florida, 62% of the voters approved a marriage amendment to recognize the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Instead of asking the question of whether those voters had a rational basis for their belief about marriage– which is distinct from a belief about the rights of individuals– the judge in this case dismissed those beliefs as just another kind of prejudice.
There is a great need to educate people about the crucial distinction the Church and others make between the person and their sexual expression. The person is always respected; certain sexual activity may not be.
Archbishop Wenski released a statement about the decision. He reaffirmed the importance of marriage to society and the right of a child to be raised by his or her mother and father.
A state judge in Colorado’s Adams County district court struck down the ban on gay “marriage” on July 9th. Judge Crabtree wrote that, “The Court rejects the State’s attempt to too narrowly describe the marital right at issue to the right to marry a person of the same sex.” He immediately stayed his ruling, reaffirming that this issue will largely be up to the Supreme Court to determine.
A federal judge struck down Kentucky’s restriction of marriage to man and woman. The decision is on hold for appeal.
In a split decision (2-1), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling striking down Utah’s marriage amendment as unconstitutional.
After responding to the bad legal reasoning of the Court, the dissenting judge admonished his judicial colleagues by concluding: “We should resist the temptation to become philosopher-kings, imposing our views under the guise of constitutional interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.” The Utah Attorney General has announced that he intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
Let us pray for our federal judges – that they uphold the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman!
Yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled that Indiana’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional and that the state’s non-recognition of out-of-state same-sex “marriages” is unconstitutional. Indiana will be appealing the decision.
The bishops of Indiana issued a statement about the decision, noting that it, “ignores this fundamental and natural truth of marriage and opens its definition to the whims of public opinion.”
A number of officials from San Francisco and a number of other groups wrote to Archbishop Cordileone last week to urge him not to join the March for Marriage on June 19. They argued that the March for Marriage was a platform for hate.
Archbishop Cordileone responded yesterday to the Lt. Governor Newsom and Mayor Ed Lee, pointing out that the March for Marriage, “is not ‘anti-LGBT’ (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March… Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there.”
He goes on to encourage his correspondents not to take hearsay for truth and corrects a number of assertions about the organizers of the event. He states his willingness and interest in meeting the letter signers in person, not only to talk about the issue, but simply to get to know them, writing, “It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart.”
The Archbishop ends his letter with a plea of his own: “When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.”
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt 5:10-12)
He includes those in the beatitude whose will is ready to suffer all things for Christ, who is our righteousness. For these then also is the kingdom preserved, for they are in the contempt of this world poor in spirit. (St. Hilary of Poitiers)
It may seem to be extreme, for us who work to uphold the true meaning of marriage to think of ourselves as “persecuted,” especially in the sense that we say the early Christians were persecuted. And indeed, playing the martyr does not get one very far with those whom one perceives to be doing the persecuting. Even if there is some element of truth in it, it’s a dangerous and tricky thing to speak and behave as if one is the victim of vicious persecution.
This claim needs to be carefully articulated: it’s certainly the case that religious liberty is being superseded in various ways today in the name of equality and fairness and “civil rights”—and people on both sides of the marriage debate have readily acknowledged this fact. But the early Christians were put to death for confessing their faith in Jesus Christ. This is a different sort of thing than experiencing various forms of social injustice which are certainly wrong but are also non-lethal.
But the comparison, careful as we must be in making it, is not totally devoid of value. It’s not helpful to portray ourselves as living martyrs in response to the many trials Christians have undergone, are undergoing, and will undergo because of various government infractions or in response to the attempt to change the very definition of the fundamental institution which is the heart and foundation of the family, the “basic cell of society” (as St. John Paul II often called it); but it is helpful to see how the early Christians lived even in the midst of their own persecutions.
Our Christian tradition is full of inspiring stories of holy patience in the face of intense persecution and suffering, of courageous martyrdom, and even of humor. (St. Lawrence, burned alive on a grill in 258, famously quipped as he was tortured, “You may turn me over, I’m done on this side.”) But St. Hilary of Poitiers, who died in 368 and thus knew well the gruesome details of the persecutions inflicted on the Christians who went before him, beautifully sums up the attitude of those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness: they are “poor in spirit.” By referring this last beatitude back to the first, he implies that all of the beatitudes, like the virtues, go together: where one is found, the others may be found too. The early Christians were able to submit to persecution and even to martyrdom, and survive it, thanks to the grace of God which enabled them to live according to the Beatitudes, to live lives completely oriented towards God.
For us, then, who are not being nailed to crosses, burned alive, stoned to death, beheaded, shot full of arrows, skinned alive, or hacked to death, but who do endure various difficulties and trials of our own for upholding the truth about marriage—and for those in our midst who themselves experience same-sex attractions and struggle to approach Christian perfection through the chastity to which they are called—the early Christians can serve as models: since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
This series is a guest contribution by a Dominican student brother who has been fulfilling his pastoral ministry assignment by serving as an intern at the USCCB’s Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth.