The following comes from a Nov. 20 story in Catholic San Francisco.
The Supreme Court’s ruling that rendered the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and the Senate’s passage Nov. 7 of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act put the legal defense of marriage “at a critical point in this country,” said the archbishop who heads the U.S. bishops’ subcommittee on the promotion and defense of marriage.
The Supreme Court’s DOMA decision is now being used to judicially challenge marriage laws in more than a dozen states that still recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman, said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
The effects of the Senate bill, Archbishop Cordileone said during a Nov. 11 presentation at the U.S. bishops’ fall general meeting in Baltimore, “go much further” than preventing employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to the point where “[such] laws have contributed to the erosion and redefinition of marriage at the state level.”
The bishops, though, voted 203-17, with five abstentions, to extend through 2016 a “Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage and Religious Freedom,” originally intended to coincide with the Year of Faith, which began Oct. 11, 2012, and ends Nov. 24, the feast of Christ the King.
Archbishop Cordileone said the language in the DOMA ruling was “particularly disheartening, setting a troubling precedent for increasing efforts to redefine marriage.”
He added, “The legal and practical implications are significant, implicating the more than 1,100 federal statutes in which marital status is a factor for determining rights, benefits and privileges.”
According to Archbishop Cordileone, “the State Department has indicated that the U.S. government will now recognize same-sex marriages performed in foreign countries where marriage has been redefined.”
One remedy, he said, could come in the form of the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which would bar the federal government from discriminating against those who “act upon their religiously motivated belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage.” The bill’s scope would include protection for individuals and organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit.
Archbishop Cordileone pointed to a case in New Mexico where a unanimous state supreme court ruled that a photo studio must photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony “if they wish to remain in business.”
He noted that of the 15 states that now permit same-sex marriages, voters in only three of those states actually gave their approval for marriage definition. (Illinois became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriages when the state House passed the Senate bill; the governor must still sign the measure into law but he has promised to do so….)
To read the entire story, click here.