The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco is urging U.S. senators to reject the pending Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect same-sex marriage from a potential rollback by the Supreme Court.

“People who experience same-sex attraction should be treated with the same respect and compassion as anyone, on account of their human dignity, and never be subject to unjust discrimination,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone wrote in a July 22 “Dear Senator” letter posted on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It was never discrimination, however, to simply maintain that an inherent aspect of the definition of marriage itself is the complementarity between the two sexes.”

The bill, which was approved by the House on July 19, was written in response to opinions that justices issued with the court’s June ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade guaranteed right to abortion. In his majority opinion on that ruling, Justice Samuel Alito argued that the ruling should not cast doubt on other constitutionally recognized rights. However, he did question a constitutional right to privacy, which is the basis of several standing rulings, among them those legalizing same-sex marriage and access to contraception. In a separate opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should revisit those rulings. Despite some Republican support in the House, the Senate version of the Respect for Marriage Act — which was co-authored by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein — faces a difficult road.

In his letter, Cordileone wrote, “I must urge you to vote ‘no’ on this measure.” He called the bill unnecessary and said Congress should have responded to the overturning of Roe v. Wade with a “meaningful effort to help women in need with unexpected or difficult pregnancies.”

“Marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman, and open to new life, is not just a religious ideal – it is, on the whole, what is best for society in a concrete sense, especially for children,” he added. Cordileone said he was writing the letter as the chairman of the bishops’ conference Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

Full story at SF Chronicle.