Catholic leaders and writers across the country are reacting to the Supreme Court’s decisions on Wednesday that affect same-sex marriage. The high court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and the federal government must recognize “gay marriages” that are accepted by individual states.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), referred to Wednesday’s decisions as “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.” Blasting the Supreme Court for dealing “a profound injustice to the American people,” Dolan flatly asserted, “The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage.”
Dolan said, “Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.”
In the Washington Post, Timothy Broglio, archbishop for the Military Services, USA, wrote:
I remain confident that people of this great country, no matter the consequences, will continue to promote and defend the good and the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife for life. Marriage remains what it has always been, regardless of what any government might say.
I likewise remain confident that the First Amendment constitutional guarantee of the “free exercise of religion” will forever ensure that no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of the Catholic faith will be placed on any Catholic priest or deacon in the armed forces. Furthermore, the Constitution guarantees that no endorsed minister will ever be compelled to perform a religious ceremony contrary to the dictates of his/her faith nor will today’s decision have any effect on the role and teaching ability of a priest or deacon in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks or in the office.
This archdiocese remains resolved in the belief that no Catholic priest will ever be compelled to condone – even silently – same-sex “marriages.”
Michelle Bauman, assistant editor for Catholic News Agency and EWTN News, wrote Wednesday that while the Supreme Court did not claim “to have discovered a fundamental ‘right’ to marry,” or a point-blank “redefinition of marriage” that would be imposed on the entire country, overturning DOMA “will affect more than 1,000 regulations and legal provisions, and could have a sweeping impact on both the legal and cultural understanding of what marriage is.”
“In addition,” wrote Bauman, “since the federal government must acknowledge all state-recognized marriages, there will be increased pressure on the states to redefine marriage.”
Bauman described the majority’s opinion as “ugly,” as explained by Justice Scalia in his scathing dissent, that those who support DOMA are motivated to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” gay individuals.
Supporters of marriage as it has been understood by virtually every society throughout human history need to be prepared for social persecution, since even the nation’s high court now assumes that defending marriage is based on hatred and bigotry rather than a natural understanding of the sacred purpose of human sexuality. Defenders of marriage may find that their rights to voice their beliefs and live according to them are quickly eroding after this court decision.
Viewing the high court’s decisions today as another in a long line of attacks against religious liberty in the country, Pat Archbold at National Catholic Register wrote:
With the universal legal recognition of same-sex marriage a fait accompli, the next fight will on the Church doorstep. The next battle will be to force Churches, most particularly the Catholic Church, to recognize and conduct same-sex marriage. The refusal to do so will result in a series of escalating legal and financial ramifications.
Eventually, because of its refusal to recognize immoral unions as marriage, the state will refuse to recognize Church marriages. As a result, more and more people will bypass Church marriage altogether, further marginalizing faith in this country. This effort is and has always been a war against religion and in particular a war against the Catholic Church. Right now, it is a war we are losing and after today, perhaps it is fair to say that we lost.