Roundup of reaction to Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage
By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — Here is a sampling of reaction to the June 26 Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide:
“Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a truth that predates courts and constitutions. This understanding transcends cultures, religions and all time — it is the foundation of civilization. … Men and women are not interchangeable. Marriage is not ours to define. History, nature and revelation all profess these truths. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court changes none of this. The court deals with civil law not revealed truth or religious faith. The court’s opinion rightly affirms the freedom of religious organizations to continue to express and teach the truth of marriage. Nonetheless, the court’s ruling has the potential to create circumstances in which the Church’s teaching and practices may be perceived to conflict with civil law.” — Archdiocese of Washington.
“Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, this truth as what is good for society and our world.” — Catholic bishops of Michigan.
“In his majority opinion today in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice (Anthony) Kennedy affirmed that religious liberty and conscience rights must be a part of the implementation of this decision. It’s encouraging to see the majority emphasize religious liberty throughout the opinion. Indeed it appears to be religious liberty that forms common ground between the majority and the dissenters. If we are to maintain a pluralistic and vibrant society, people of faith must continue to be able to hold and express a multiplicity of views, and today’s opinion affirmed that fundamental American principle.” — Ashley McGuire, Catholic Association
“Marriage precedes the creation of states and by its nature remains the union of one man and one woman. No court, no law, and no amount of political correctness or wishful thinking can really change what marriage is. Men and women were designed by God in complementary relation to one another, and only a man and a woman can form a conjugal union that brings forth children. Today’s ruling blatantly ignores the fundamental right of all children to be raised, where possible, by a loving mother and a father in a stable home. The law should respect and protect every child’s basic rights.” — Catholic bishops of Colorado.
“I join many voices in denouncing this decision. This misfortune now attempts on a national basis what state of Illinois sought to do in 2013 in attempting to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. It was an “attempt” because the state has no moral authority to change what God has created. The government certainly has the legal power in civil law to coerce its definition, but that does not make it morally valid in the higher realm of supernatural realities.” — Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois.
“We fear the courts decisions redefining marriage and the rights of the states will have a long term corrosive effect on the institution of marriage which is the bedrock of our society. We pray that marriage between a man and a woman will remain a strong truth in our world. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage.” — Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
“The decision issued today by the Supreme Court to effectively change the legal definition of marriage in the United States does not alter the unassailable truth that marriage is, and always will be, the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman.” — Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis.
“Today’s decision marks the capstone of a 20-year struggle by people committed to a vision of equality for same-sex couples. When the struggle began, the idea of same-sex marriage was an oxymoron. By the time the court took up the question, it was an inevitability. That change came about not through clever arguments in Court, but through the painstaking work of thousands of people across the country committed to an idea of equality, and willing to fight for it, in state legislatures, state courts, on state referenda, in their churches, at their dinner tables, and in their communities. The Supreme Court today did not so much change constitutional law as recognize that it had changed.” — Georgetown University law professor David Cole.
“All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. However, our commitment to marriage is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator’s original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children. As bishops, we believe it is more vital than ever that we share the church’s consistent witness to the truth about marriage, and we call on Catholics and those concerned for the common good to continue to pray, live and speak out with charity about the true nature of marriage. The truth cannot be marginalized.” — Catholic bishops of Virginia.
“We … recognize that while the conversation about same sex marriage has changed dramatically in recent years there are many Americans who will disagree with the decision and among them many who are concerned about its impact on their sincerely held religious beliefs. We call for sensitivity and civility in this debate, understanding that the vast majority on all sides are people of good will. Adjusting to change is not always easy or swift. Our society and, no doubt, our courts will continue to be challenged with the implementation of this decision. We call on all sides to respect the decision of the Supreme Court and each other’s religious and personal beliefs.” — Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
“We respect the dignity of all persons, not wishing to undermine their pursuit of happiness but only to preserve and defend the gift of marriage as divinely revealed in Scripture and in natural law. Although we respectfully disagree with those who would define marriage otherwise, we firmly hold that all persons are loved by our compassionate God and deserve the respect and dignity that is inherently theirs as human beings. We acknowledge the right of our nation’s highest court to provide for a well ordered society by establishing laws that protect the common good and safeguard the civil and contractual rights and privileges of its citizens. At the same time, we urge our lawmakers and judges to respect those institutions that are beyond state and federal jurisdiction, institutions such as sacramental marriage that transcend civil law and whose origins precede the existence of the state and go beyond its competence.” — Diocese of Salt Lake City.
“Just as Roe v. Wade was not the final word (on abortion), neither will today’s decision be the end of the matter. Roe created, and continues to create, a crisis of conscience for doctors and other medical professionals who, as a matter of faith, cannot participate in abortions. What Roe did to the medical profession, today’s decision does to the rest of us. By redefining marriage, the Supreme Court has ensured that there will be church-state conflict for generations to come.” — Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Posted June 29, 2015