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Bishop Tobin (Providence): Don't Redefine Marriage in Rhode Island

In addition to Illinois and several other states, Rhode Island too is facing a marriage redefinition challenge. There, a bill that would redefine marriage to include two persons of the same sex was introduced on January 3rd in both the House and the Senate. It is expected that the full House could vote on the bill by the end of January.

In response, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence has written a column entitled “The General Assembly Should Reject ‘Same-Sex Marriage’.” In it, he provides a number of reasons why the proposal to redefine marriage in Rhode Island is “immoral and unnecessary.”

Among his reasons, Bishop Tobin writes, “Marriage between a man and a woman was designed by God for two specific reasons: to affirm the complementary roles of males and females in a loving relationship, and to provide a stable foundation for the procreation and raising of children.” Redefining marriage to include two men or two women means that marriage can no longer do either of those goals.

In addition, writes the bishop, redefining marriage “enshrines into civil law immoral activity.” It is also “an untested social experiment with unpredictable long-term outcomes” and it “would pose yet another threat to religious freedom.” Bishop Tobin points out that religious exemptions notwithstanding, in locales where marriage is redefined, religious entities “will be obliged to extend their resources, facilities and benefits to individuals who are living in immoral relationships – contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs.” He continues, “This is not a hypothetical situation; it’s already happening throughout our nation.”

Bishop Tobin argues that if the question of marriage must be raised again in Rhode Island (civil union legislation was passed in the summer of 2011, a move denounced by Archbishop Cordileone), then a referendum should be brought to the general public. He also challenges the ideas that redefining marriage constitutes a civil right and that marriage redefinition is inevitable:

It has been said that ‘the world is changing’ and that we need to get with the times. Well, it’s certainly true that the world is changing, but the truth is that not all change is good. It’s never good to accept and promote immoral activity; it’s never good to experiment dangerously with the long-term well-being of the community; it’s never good to impose a politically-correct, socially-fashionable agenda item on the entire community, especially if it challenges the conscience and religious liberty of many, many citizens.

He ends by urging Rhode Island citizens to contact their legislators and urge them not to redefine marriage.

More from Bishop Tobin:

3 responses to “Bishop Tobin (Providence): Don't Redefine Marriage in Rhode Island”

  1. Patrick says:


    You cheapen my marriage by using it to justify your bigotry towards other consenting adults seeking to “marry”. By your logic shouldn’t any non-Catholic marriages be prohibited?

  2. Matthew C. Masotti says:

    God Bless Bishop Tobin!

  3. Chris Bergeron says:

    Dear Thomas Tobin,
    On 1/24/13, at the State House, the seperation of church and state was made more clear for the citizens of Rhode Island…keep your faith rolling in your non-taxable shelters and all who want to practice the faith you choose to teach can come and join you and your priests. The issue of same sex marriage is simply a civil rights issue, and the elected officials in this state are capable of doing their job for the constituents. We,the tax paying citizens of the state, pay them and their staff not your un-taxable institution. And if I am correct, you were not elected by those you currently lead, you were appointed. Your bullying tactics are not going to work Mr Tobin.
    In your writings you have said…” Marriage between a man and woman was designed by God and has two fundamental purposes: It affirms the difference and the complementarity of males and females in a loving relationship, and it provides the foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Marriage thus described has been the fundamental unit, the building block of every human culture and society.”… hmmm…are you pre-screening all men and women couples for the ability to procreate? Those who are impotent are cast aside? Those that are wishing to be married, but are beyond the age of pro-creating are sent away…I don’t think so…so why be a hypocrite?
    You call being homosexual a “lifestyle”… that Mr Tobin is the most ignorant reference to fellow human beings. Is being black, jewish, muslim, asian, etc…a lifestyle, too? Unlike your religious philosophy promotes, in today’s world exacting science has proven that homosexuality exists in over 400 species currently on our planet…did the dolphins, birds, lizards choose that lifestyle too. Did they collectively or individually go to the mall and pickout Homo- over Hetero- sexual at Nordstroms? Your ignorance is what is destroying society today Mr Tobin. I am more than willing to meet with you for further discussion, anytime…any day…and I am not kidding.

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