USCCB Responds To Supreme Court Decisions On Marriage: ‘Tragic Day For Marriage And Our Nation,’

[News Release]

Supreme Court Decisions On Marriage: ‘Tragic Day For Marriage And Our Nation,’ State U.S. Bishops

June 26, 2013

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The statement follows.


“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.

“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.

“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.

“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.

“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”


Editors: Background information can be found at

Keywords: marriage, Supreme Court, Proposition 8, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, U.S. Bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

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  1. What is tragic is that our Bishops do not make a blanket statement that denies communion for those catholics that deny the teaching of the faith like Pelosi, Biden, and many more. Bishops please do this. Today is the day you stand up for the faith and say enough is enough.

  2. Hmmm, I read one decision about federalism and another (rather boring one) on standing requirements and federal jurisdiction.

    Perhaps the Bishops should consult their legal teams before issuing statements on Court decisions?

    In our Constitutional system, marriage is a matter of state, not federal law. The Court got this absolutely right. If marriage is losing in the states, relying on the federal government is not the answer. It is, at best, a band-aid.

  3. I am whole-heartedly against gay marriage, civil or religious. I totally agree with everything in this article. However, the Supreme Court argues based on the Constitution, not on Christian teaching. The resounding question that Christians, non-Christians, gay marriage supporters and opponents all want to know is, how do you argue this WITHOUT Christian teaching and on the basis of the Constitution. From my understanding, you really cannot. It’s unfortunate and horrible, but honestly not that surprising since the Supreme Court really didn’t have any legal constitutional basis to support these acts. The SCOTUS are the top legal minds in the country, otherwise they wouldn’t be on it. If there was a way to uphold this based on constitutional law, they would’ve found it by now. Other than try to get these acts passed by the democratic system instead of the courts, I don’t see how we traditional marriage supporters can really do anything. Except pray and continue to teach our children right from wrong and God’s plan for marriage, which is my plan!

  4. There is a natural state of things just like plants,animals,hills,mountains and all sundry! However, only humans have this complex state of marriage, a union between male and female,man and woman or boy and girl, and why? Because we are such a complex creature, this union dates back thousands of years ago, and the reason, the main reason? Pro-creation, and the complex stability of human progression which we put up as a family. Gay marriage now comes in, demanding equal rights and treatment? Would the natural state of things progress the human evolution with gay marriage? Would adultery or adoption cure this defect of failure to procreate?Again, the answer lies if we are to defend the values of sticking to one person as a lifetime partner… If gay marriage exist, let us strike out the word, family from the dictionary and call it some other…

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