Joe Biden’s Disrespect for Marriage
Yet another a step into complete rejection of what the Church teaches about the truth and meaning of marriage by the nation’s second Catholic president.
President Joe Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, signed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act into law on Tuesday — marking yet another a step in his political descent into complete rejection of what the Church teaches about the truth and meaning of marriage.
The new federal act, which recognizes same-sex marriage for the purpose of any federal law, rule or regulation in which marital status is a factor, states that if two persons are legally married in one state and live in another state, the marriage will continue to be recognized at the federal level and receive federal legal protections, even if their new location doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry. This is a reversal from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act signed by former President Bill Clinton that only recognized heterosexual marriages at the federal level.
Even though states already are required to offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples under the Supreme Court precedent set in Obergefell v. Hodges, the president signed the act to ensure these federal rules were in place if the precedent ever changes.
Although Biden is a self-professed practicing Catholic, his decision to redefine marriage clearly puts him at odds with Catholic teachings about homosexuality and marriage and has drawn repeated rebukes from U.S. Church leaders.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, those who have same-sex attraction are called to chastity. In Nos. 2357 and 2358 of the Catechism, Catholics are told to respect and be compassionate toward people with same-sex attraction, but that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, contrary to natural law, and should never be given approval.
Marriage, according to No. 1601 of the Catechism, is a union of a man and a woman ordered to the good of the spouses and toward the procreation and education of offspring.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has criticized the “Respect for Marriage Act” as being contrary to the common good.
“Decades of social and legal developments have torn sexuality, childbearing, and marriage from each other in the public consciousness,” the USCCB wrote in a Dec. 1 statement after the U.S. Senate passed the legislation. “Much of society has lost sight of the purpose of marriage and now equates it with adults’ companionship.”
Although a Senate amendment to the resolution claims to protect religious institutions from being forced to compromise their beliefs, the USCCB has warned that the protections are woefully inadequate and could risk religious freedom in the context of employment decisions, eligibility for grants or contracts, accreditation and tax exemptions.
“This bill fails to include clear, comprehensive, and affirmative conscience protections for religious organizations and individuals who uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage that are needed,” the USCCB said in its Dec. 1 statement. “We affirm our respect for the dignity of all engaged in this debate, and acknowledge differing perspectives in our civil society, but the impact of this bill will only contribute to the diminishment of the sacredness and integrity of marriage in our society.”
When EWTN White House Correspondent Owen Jensen last week asked the president to respond to the USCCB’s concern that religious freedom could be at risk, he simply responded: “I disagree” and walked away.
This is far from the first time Biden has put his political ambitions ahead of his Catholic faith when it comes to the marriage issue. While serving as vice president under former President Barack Obama, in May 2012, Biden unexpectedly expressed his support for same-sex marriage before Obama went public on the issue himself. Biden’s unilateral move pushed Obama into backtracking from his own campaign declaration in 2008, that marriage is an institution that exists only between one man and one woman.
Subsequently, in August 2016, Biden officiated a same-sex wedding at his vice-presidential residence in Washington. “When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” the USCCB commented in a statement released after Biden’s action. “What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.”
The statement also referenced Pope Francis’ comments, in his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, that same-sex relationships can’t be considered to be “in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
- President Joe Biden
- respect for marriage act
- church teaching on marriage and sexuality
- u.s. bishops
- tyler arnold