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Bishop Cordileone: Obama’s actions on same-sex marriage threaten democracy

March 16, 2011

The Obama administration’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court is “an egregious violation of the separation of powers” that “puts the future prospects of our democracy at stake,” according to Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland.

The bishop-- who leads the US bishops’ ad hoc committee for the defense of marriage-- wrote in a diocesan newspaper column that

it is a curious irony that in this moment of history, when people in a number of countries in the Middle East are agitating for change from dictatorship to democracy, here in our own country, the oldest democracy with a written constitution in the world, there is a movement of the ruling class toward taking more and more power into its own hands. The flashpoint for this movement? The hot-button issue of our day: marriage.

“When the City Council of Washington, DC, passed a local ordinance to allow same-sex ‘marriage,’ the citizens organized to put it to a vote so they could decide for themselves,” the bishop added. “The City Council obstructed them from doing so every step of the way. Bear in mind that the city of Washington has a very large African-American population. Thus … a small group of political elites (almost all of them white), in a claim to expand rights, deny one of the most fundamental rights in a constitutional democracy — the right to vote — to the masses of black citizens.”


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 18, 2011 12:27 AM ET USA

    Immigration laws, on the books, but don't enforce. Capital punishment: on the books, but don't enforce. DOMA: on the books, enforce. Could we just have a list now of all the laws, and which ones the bishops want enforced and which ones they don't?

  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - Mar. 17, 2011 12:32 AM ET USA

    It should disturb us to know that Barrack Obama, who swore to faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has publicly refused to enforce DOMA in court. Bishop Cordileone is correct in saying that powerful elites are undermining the democratic process by obstrucing the people's right to vote. What we have now is tyranny of the minority and not tyranny of the majority what Alexis de Tocqueville had warned us about.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Mar. 16, 2011 2:45 PM ET USA

    The reason Obama is not a threat to democracy is that in a couple of years we'll be able to vote him out.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Mar. 16, 2011 9:30 AM ET USA

    This strange new respect for individual liberty, personal responsibility, democracy, rule of law and subsidiarity/federalism comes after 30 years of bishops characterizing this political philosophy as being anti-poor, anti-immigrant, anti-social-justice, anti-integral-human-development.