Oakland Bishop: New York Same-Sex 'Marriage' Undermines Common Good

U.S. bishops’ point man on the defense of marriage comments on recent legislation, praising the efforts of Catholics: 'Those courageous legislators and active citizens in New York who defended marriage should be applauded for their inspiring witness.'

(photo: Diocese of Oakland)

WASHINGTON (EWTN News/CNA)— The New York Legislature’s recognition of same-sex “marriages” undermines the common good and will place officials in a position to “retaliate” against those who uphold basic truths about marriage, the U.S. bishops’ point man on the defense of marriage said.

“Making marriage law indifferent to the absence of either sex creates an institutional and cultural crisis with generational ramifications yet to be seen,” Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., said on June 28.

“To eliminate marriage’s very essence — its essence as the union of husband and wife — from its legal definition is to ignore not only basic anthropology and biology, but also the purpose of law generally.”

Law is meant to uphold the common good, not undermine it, stated Bishop Cordileone, who heads the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

He pointed to children as one group that will suffer the consequences of the vote, since their “basic right” to be raised by their mother and father is ignored by the state.

“Also, as demonstrated in other states where marriage redefinition has occurred, officials there will be in a position to retaliate against those who continue to uphold these basic truths. This is a mark of a profoundly unjust law,” he said.

After a strong push by Catholic Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, homosexual activists and several wealthy Republican backers, the legislation passed the New York Senate by a margin of 33 to 29 votes. All but one Democratic senator voted for the bill, and all but four Republican senators voted against the bill.

Senate Republicans declined to use their control of the Senate to stop the legislation from coming to a vote.

Bishop Cordileone thanked those involved in the grassroots effort to oppose the bill.

“Those courageous legislators and active citizens in New York who defended marriage should be applauded for their inspiring witness,” he said.

While the bill contains some last-minute protections for religious organizations, the Oakland bishop said marriage is “a fundamental good that must be protected in every circumstance. Exemptions of any kind never justify redefining marriage.”

The Catholic bishops of New York reacted to the bill’s passage in a June 24 statement.

They said the Legislature undermines marriage and the family and also warned of attempts to enact “government sanctions” against churches and religious organizations that preach the truth about marriage.

Similar state senate legislation had failed in a 2009 vote of 38-24.

Efforts to recognize same-sex “marriage” in law have continued since the Massachusetts Supreme Court ordered the state to recognize such unions in a November 2003 ruling. State legislatures in New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut have passed same-sex “marriage” bills, as has the District of Columbia’s city council.

The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously imposed same-sex “marriage” on the state in 2009. Opponents have since voted to recall three state Supreme Court justices and are working to pass a marriage amendment there.

Forty-one U.S. states have laws or constitutional amendments defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman, The Associated Press reports. A marriage amendment will be on the Minnesota ballot in 2012.

Legislative efforts to redefine marriage in 2011 have failed in Maryland and Rhode Island.