Today’s federal district court decision striking down Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act is a mistake with long-term, negative consequences. Like many other Pennsylvanians, I hope that an appeal will be made promptly. Laws that defend the traditional definition of marriage were enacted for sound reasons-namely to defend the rights of children and contribute to the well-being of the larger community.
Marriage is more than a private arrangement between two people. It’s a public commitment of love and fidelity, and it’s ordered not just to companionship but to creating and rearing new life. This is why every child deserves a mother and a father in a loving marriage, and the child is the fruit of that love.
All men and women are formed in the image of God and deserve our respect. But attempts to redefine the nature of marriage, no matter how well intentioned, damage a cornerstone of our human interaction and ultimately work against human dignity itself.
I also fully support and endorse the statement issued earlier today by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference on this issue. You can read the full text of that document here http://www.pacatholic.org/statement-todays-marriage-ruling/.
You knew this was coming. It was just a matter of who spoke out first.
“Today’s decision by one federal judge speaks to the confusion and misunderstanding among many today about the fundamental building block of society: the family. Every child has a basic right to a mother and a father united in marriage as a family. Today’s decision does not change that,” conference officials issued in a written statement.
In the statement, Amy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Conference, wrote that while marriage was a personal relationship, it was not merely a private affair, but one that carried great public significance and impacted the family and society.
“By God’s design, every child has a mother and a father,” Hill wrote. “Circumstances may prevent a child from being raised by his or her own mother and father, so we stand in solidarity with single mothers and fathers who work responsibly each day to raise their children. However, marriage is the way society provides for children’s needs. The redefinition of marriage enshrines in law a denial of the rights of children to a mother and a father united in marriage.”
“No one should face unjust discrimination,” she wrote. “But human experience, considerable social data, as well as our religious convictions, lead us to see clearly that children thrive best in a stable family grounded on the marital union of one man and one woman. Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage is not a statement about the worth of human beings who experience same-sex attraction, but a statement about the nature of marriage itself.”