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HARRISBURG (May 20, 2014) – Pennsylvania’s longstanding Defense of Marriage Act was passed by democratically-elected officials and recognizes marriage as between one man and one woman. 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.
Yes, marriage is a personal relationship, but it is not merely a private affair between two people. It is a relationship with great public significance and, since it is the foundation of the family, it affects the wider society. By God’s design, every child has a mother and a father. 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.
The Catholic Church teaches that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone has inherent dignity. No one should face unjust discrimination. 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.
Pope Francis recently said, “The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together. This is the image of God: love, God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful!” Marriage is beautiful indeed, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference does not support this judge’s redefinition of this fundamental human institution. The PCC will further study the judge’s decision and is hopeful that an appeal will promptly be made.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is the public affairs agency of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops, representing the ten Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. There are more than 3 million Catholics in Pennsylvania. More information about the PCC is available at www.pacatholic.org.
Amy B. Hill
Director of Communications