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US bishops urge Senate not to repeal Defense of Marriage Act

Catholic World News - November 03, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is urging the US Senate to reject the Respect for Marriage Act--a measure that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which became law in 1996.

“DOMA recognizes for federal purposes that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman,” notes Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. “It also prevents the redefinition of marriage in any one state from forcing other states to follow suit.”

“DOMA is rational, and its repeal would be unjust,” he continued. “It takes into account the distinguishing properties of unity and procreation that mark the relationship of husband and wife.”

“Redefining marriage to mean simply an arrangement of consenting adults violates justice because it interferes with basic human rights,” he added. “Changing the institution of marriage by making it indifferent to the absence of one sex or the other denies that children have the fundamental human right to be cared by both their mother and father. Such revision transforms marriage from a child-centered to an adult-centered status to the detriment of children.”

Bishop Cordileone added:

Redefining marriage also threatens the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those who refuse on moral and religious grounds to accept or accommodate the redefinition of legal marriage are already being wrongly accused of bigotry and hatred, bias and prejudice. They are being stigmatized and marginalized precisely because they are exercising their religious freedom to teach and practice their values.

In places where marriage’s core meaning has been altered through legal action, officials are beginning to target for punishment those believers and churches that refuse to adapt. Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement, based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism. DOMA represents an essential protection against such threats to faith and conscience.

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  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Nov. 03, 2011 8:08 PM ET USA

    This is how Sen. Bill Nelson (D) from Florida justifies his position: The Defense of Marriage Act, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for the purpose of Federal law and also provides that one State is not required to recognize same-sex marriages from another State. I believe that the States, and not the Federal government, should regulate the institution of marriage. The Courts have ruled that a State's constitution to disallow same-sex marriage.

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