WASHINGTON — A leader of the U.S. bishops on defense and support of marriage issues has decried a new Delaware law redefining marriage as “unjust” for children and society.
“The claim of this bill to redefine marriage is in vain; marriage cannot be redefined because its unique meaning lies in our very nature,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
“It is also a serious injustice to the most vulnerable among us: children.”
The archbishop, who serves as the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, offered his comments one day after Delaware became the 11th state to redefine marriage to include homosexual couples.
On May 7, the Delaware state Senate voted 12-9 to approve same-sex “marriage.” The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell later that day. The state House had approved the bill two weeks earlier in a 23-18 vote.
Delaware already allows civil unions. Under the new law, same-sex civil unions will stop being issued, and such unions currently in existence will be converted into same-sex ‘marriages,' which will not carry any additional benefits or privileges.
The U.S. bishops’ conference released a statement warning that the new law also “includes further implications of marriage redefinition in the law,” allowing two members of the same sex to be recognized on a birth certificate as two mothers or two fathers.
Archbishop Cordileone cautioned that the redefinition of marriage has disastrous results for children.
“Marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any child conceived of their union,” he said.
“Our society either preserves laws that respect the fundamental right of children to be raised by their moms and dads together in marriage or it does not.”
The archbishop’s comments echo statements made earlier this year by Bishop Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del., who said that “we live in a society that has increasingly embraced the notion that marriage is about adult lifestyle choices.”
“Many have forgotten that children are its most precious fruit and an essential part of its meaning,” the bishop stressed in a pastoral letter as the proposed legislation was making headlines in the state.
He challenged the idea that marriage is a purely private affair, explaining that it affects all of society. He also noted that marriage is not defined merely by romantic feelings, but is instead “constituted by vows that couples take and sexual activity appropriate for the generation of children.”