An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Press Release: USCCB Subcommittee Chairman Strongly Endorses State Marriage Defense Act

Federal government disregarding state marriage laws in certain instances

Requires deference to law of state where couples reside

State laws defining marriage as between a man and woman deserve respect

January 10, 2014

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, applauded the January 9 introduction of the bipartisan State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (H.R. 3829) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX).

“The State Marriage Defense Act is a necessary piece of legislation that will prevent the federal government from unjustly disregarding, in certain instances, state marriage laws concerning the definition of marriage,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

In a letter of support to Rep. Weber, Archbishop Cordileone noted that various agencies of the federal government have begun using a “place of celebration” rule to determine whether persons are validly married for purposes of federal law. He went on to say, “The Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor, however, requires the federal government to defer to state marriage law, not disregard it.” He therefore concluded that this bill is necessary because it “would remedy this problem by requiring the federal government, consistent with Windsor, to defer to the marriage law of the state in which people actually reside when determining whether they are married for purposes of federal law.”

Urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Act, Archbishop Cordileone said, “State marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deserve respect by the federal government. This bill does that. I, therefore, strongly encourage the House of Representatives to pass the State Marriage Defense Act.”

Archbishop Cordileone’s letter of support to Rep. Randy Weber can be found at

Keywords: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Rep. Randy Weber, State Marriage Defense Act, United States v. Windsor



Sister Mary Ann Walsh

O: 202-541-3201

M: 301-325-7935

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