Monday, March 7, 2011

US Bishop Decries Injustice Against Marriage

Says President's Position Is Threat to Democracy

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York is decrying the "alarming and grave injustice" of U.S. President Barack Obama's instruction to the nation's justice department to cease its defense of marriage.

The president's instruction to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was announced on Feb. 23 by the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder.

Archbishop Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement in response to this announcement, and also sent a personal message to Obama regarding the administration's move.

"Marriage, the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, is a singular and irreplaceable institution," the archbishop affirmed.

He asserted, "Only a man and a woman have the ability to bring children into the world."

"Along with that ability comes responsibility," the prelate stated, "which society historically reinforces with laws that bind mothers and fathers to each other and their children."

He asserted that "contrary to the attorney general's statement, DOMA does not single out people based on sexual 'orientation' or inclination."

"Unjust discrimination against any person is always wrong," Archbishop Dolan acknowledged. "But DOMA is not 'unjust discrimination;' rather, it merely affirms and protects the time-tested and unalterable meaning of marriage." "The suggestion that this definition amounts to 'discrimination' is grossly false and represents an affront to millions of citizens in this country," he said.

Common sense

The archbishop continued: "The decision also does not stand the test of common sense.

"It is hardly 'discrimination' to say that a husband and a wife have a unique and singular relationship that two persons of the same sex -- or any unmarried persons -- simply do not and cannot have."

"It is not 'discrimination' to say that having both a mother and a father matters to and benefits a child," he added.

"Protecting the definition of marriage is not merely permissible, but actually necessary as a matter of justice," the prelate stated.
He stressed that "having laws that affirm the vital importance of mothers and fathers -- laws that reinforce, rather than undermine, the ideal that children should be raised by their own mother and father -- is essential for any just society."

"Those laws are now under relentless attack," Archbishop Dolan warned.
He asserted, "The administration's current position is not only a grave threat to marriage, but to religious liberty and the integrity of our democracy as well."
The archbishop continued: "Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as 'discrimination."On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express my deep disappointment over the administration's recent decision."

The prelate concluded, "I pray that [the president] and the Department of Justice may yet make the right choice to carry out their constitutional responsibility, defending the irreplaceable institution of marriage, and in so doing protect the future generations of our children."

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