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Bishops Statements on Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage

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June 29, 2015

Bishop Jaime Soto – Diocese of Sacramento

All Americans deserve respect for their human dignity. The Catholic Church has stalwartly stood by that fundamental belief while also recognizing marriage as the unique relationship between a man and a woman. 

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court today in attempting to do the former distorted the latter.   The decision of the Supreme Court has attempted to address the issue of respect in the wrong way and has pushed the Country further down a libertarian understanding of freedom and equality.  While many will demean a public place for religious belief in the wake of this decision, it is religious faith that will continue to be the primary force of charity and self-sacrifice in the United States. 

The Catholic Community will continue to address the more stubborn and cruel forms of inequity in our country:  enduring forms of racism such as witnessed last week in Charleston, a broken immigration system that helps no one and widening economic disparity that robs people of hope.  None of these deep inequities are touched by today's decision; we still have much work to do.

Bishop Robert W. McElroy- Diocese of San Diego

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that the historic definition of marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.

The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that the nature of marriage and the family cannot be redefined by society, as God is the author of marriage and its corresponding gift of co-creating human life.  The legal recognition of marriage is not only about personal commitment but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of their children. It is for this reason that it is important for government to give a unique status to marriage between one man and one woman both in law and in public policy.

The Catholic community of San Diego and Imperial counties will continue to honor and embody the uniqueness of marriage between one man and one woman as a gift from God--in our teaching, our sacramental life and our witness to the world.  We will do so in a manner which profoundly respects at every moment the loving and familial relationships which enrich the lives of so many gay men and women who are our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, and ultimately our fellow pilgrims on this earthly journey of life.  And commanded by the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will continue to reach out to families of every kind who are encountering poverty, addictions, violence, emotional stress or the threat of deportation, and to attempt to bring them faith and care, service and solidarity.

Bishop Gerald R. Barnes- Diocese of San Bernardino

I am disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today because it represents further departure from the way our country’s legal system defines the institution of marriage. This new definition does not reflect Catholic thought and belief about marriage.

At the same time, we recognize the dignity of those who are homosexual.  As they are loved by God and created in his image, we count them as our brothers and sisters.

We may feel disappointed by this ruling but we must remember that it has no jurisdiction over how we, as Roman Catholics, celebrate and practice the Sacrament of Matrimony. Let us take this moment to look again at what our faith teaches us about marriage, an expression of love and commitment between man and woman, a sign of Christ’s love for us, and a source of new life in God’s plan for humanity. The best way for us to voice our opinion about the definition of marriage today is to understand and live the Sacrament as a sign of our faith and a gift from God.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa- Diocese of Santa Rosa

Released the following statements in reference to the Supreme Court of the United States’ Obergefell v. Hodges decision:

  • Years ago, in the Dred Scott decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not persons. This was despite the fact that each justice presumably believed all of mankind is created in God’s image (cf. Genesis 1:26). Similarly, today’s Justices have erred with the Obergefell case just like their predecessors did with Dred Scott, by making an egregious error in moral judgment.
  • While five Justices may have changed marriage’s legal definition, they can never change its moral definition. As such the true definition, the moral definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman—that is ordered not only toward the couple but the procreation and education of children—remains unchanged.
  • Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the abortion question nearly two generations ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the marriage question today.
  • The Court was wrong in 1973 with Roe. It is wrong again in 2015 with Obergefell.

Bishop Armando Ochoa- Diocese of Fresno

Disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage, Bishop Armando Ochoa stated, “We do not have to like; we do not have to embrace it; however we do have to live with it and respond as people of faith.”

The Church will continue to recognize the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony as the consecrated union of a man and woman and to support families in every way possible, that they may grow in loving relationship which directly impacts all of society. Redefining marriage in the law is gravely unjust and affects everyone; especially, the children.

The Church does not see its protection of Matrimony as discrimination against those who have a same sex attraction. As Christians, we recognize the dignity of all and embrace our responsibility to love others as Christ has loved us.

Bishop Ochoa calls the faithful to prayer and a deeper commitment to supporting family life in their parish communities; especially those families who are struggling.