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Archbishop asks prayers as justices consider same-sex marriage

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Left, a group of about 30 supporters of traditional marriage pray the rosary outside a courthouse in downtown Cincinnati in 2014. At right, a concurrent rally of a larger size took place with supporters of so-called same-sex marriage. (CT Photos/John Stegeman)

Staff Report

Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr has urged archdiocesan priests and deacons to keep their congregations informed on the case before the Supreme Court that could federalize same-sex marriage, making it a right and the law of the land.

“Over the past several years,” the Archbishop writes, “we have heard and been a part of discussions regarding those aspects of the Affordable Care Act which threaten religious liberty by forcing religious institutions to cooperate with contraception and abortion.”

April 26 arguments before the nine Justices offered the first public indication of where they stand in the dispute over whether states can continue defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, or whether the Constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

“More recently,” Archbishop Schnurr writes, “in arguing before the Supreme Court, the lawyer for the Obama Administration stated that constitutionalizing same-sex marriage could threaten the tax-exempt status of all religious institutions. His exact words were, ‘It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is, it is going to be an issue.’

“That is to say, if the Court rules in favor of the Administration’s position, churches that do not perform same-sex marriages will most likely lose tax-exempt status. This is one of many reasons why the Supreme Court should leave the definition of marriage where it has always been – with the states. Even if a state allows same-sex marriage, it can provide religious exemption in the same law. Constitutionalizing same-sex marriage, on the other hand, does not come with religious exemptions.

“This information needs to get out,” the archbishop said Friday. “Please ask your people to pray that the Supreme Court will uphold religious liberty.”

Posted May 1, 2015

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