Following the advancement of a bill yesterday in the U.S. Senate to federally recognize same-sex marriages, the nation’s Catholic bishops reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage. They also “expressed concerns that the legislation could lead to discrimination against individuals who hold to a traditional view of marriage.”

“The Catholic Church will always uphold the unique meaning of marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, said in a Nov. 17 statement. 

“In doing so, we are joined by millions of what the Obergefell Court called ‘reasonable and sincere’ Americans — both religious and secular — who share this time-honored understanding of the truth and beauty of marriage,” Dolan continued, referencing the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. 

The Senate voted 62-37 Wednesday to advance the bill, which still needs a final vote to make it out of the Senate before final approval in the House of Representatives and then President Joe Biden’s signature. 

The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), if ultimately signed into law by Biden, would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton that defined marriage federally as the union of a man and a woman, and permitted states not to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. DOMA already was effectively nullified by the 2013 and 2015 Supreme Court decisions United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.

Dolan said the bill opens people such as faith-based adoption and foster care providers, religious employers seeking to maintain their faith identity, and faith-based housing agencies to potential discrimination since it does not provide for individual conscience protections for those who hold to a traditional view of marriage. 

“The bill is a bad deal for the many courageous Americans of faith and no faith who continue to believe and uphold the truth about marriage in the public square today,” Dolan wrote.

“The Act does not strike a balance that appropriately respects our nation’s commitment to the fundamental right of religious liberty,” he continued. “Senators supporting the Act must reverse course and consider the consequences of passing an unnecessary law that fails to provide affirmative protections for the many Americans who hold this view of marriage as both true and foundational to the common good.” 

Full story at Catholic News Agency.