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Bishop Malooly’s statement regarding Biden officiating at same-sex marriage


Bishop Malooly sent the following statement to priests of the Diocese of Wilmington, Aug. 5, after Vice President Joe Biden officiated at a same-sex marriage at the Vice President’s residence in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 1.

“I share with you this link to a statement that was released [Aug. 5] from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the recent and disappointing public celebration of a same-sex union.

“I have spoken to and consulted with the leaders of our conference and completely concur with this statement. We join together in clarifying our Catholic teaching and upholding our beliefs.”

Here is the link to the full text of the U.S. bishops’ “Faithful Witness to Marriage” statement:


A groom and bride hold hands on their wedding day. Bishop Malooly has issued a statement on the "disappointing" celebration of a same-sex marriage where Vice President Joe Biden officiated. (CNS file photo/Jon L. Hendricks)

A groom and bride hold hands on their wedding day. Bishop Malooly has issued a statement on the “disappointing” celebration of a same-sex marriage where Vice President Joe Biden officiated. (CNS file photo/Jon L. Hendricks)

The Catholic News Service story on the statement from the U.S. bishops’ conference, is on The Dialog website’s National section at:





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Wrong count on same-sex: Anglicans in Canada correct result of marriage vote


TORONTO — In a turn of events, the Anglican Church of Canada said yes to a same-sex marriage proposal after a voting error was discovered.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, warns against bullying in Toronto before the vote on same-sex marriage July 11. (CNS photo/Francois Gloutnay, Presence)

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, warns against bullying in Toronto before the vote on same-sex marriage July 11. (CNS photo/Francois Gloutnay, Presence)

The announcement made July 12 came less than 24 hours after it was thought participants in the church’s General Synod rejected the motion.

The Anglican Church of Canada now has three years to think about the implications of this vote, as the proposition will need to pass a second reading at the next General Synod in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2019.

Anglicans in Canada had talked about the possibility of moving toward gay marriages instead of staying with a regime in which civil same-sex unions had the possibility to be blessed by an Anglican priest, but were in no way considered to be a sacred union. In the church’s 2013 General Synod, the delegates asked that a commission on the marriage canon develop a motion in favor of same-sex marriages for this July.

In order to pass, the motion needed the approval of two-thirds of all three chambers: the bishops, clergy and laity. When the results came out late July 11, the floor of the General Synod was quiet as the 234 delegates realized that the motion failed to pass by only one vote from a member of the clergy.

The Rev. Michael Thompson, synod general secretary, announced July 12: “We discovered that the electronic voting system we were using miscoded my electronic file. I was listed, and my vote was counted, as a layperson instead of a priest. This one vote changed the outcome of resolution A051-R2, the resolution to amend the marriage canon.”

The debate on same-sex unions for the Anglicans in Canada has been bitter at times. On July 11, knowing the pre-vote discussions would be emotional, the church’s primate, Archbishop Fred J. Hiltz, warned against bullying on both sides.

“This kind of behavior is not appropriate. It’s unacceptable,” he said. “We are all the body of Christ.”


Contributing to this story was Philippe Vaillancourt. He and Gloutnay are on the staff of Montreal-based Presence info.

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Viewpoint: Supreme Court does not decide what is or is not a sacrament


Catholic News Service

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010 added acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes.

President Barack Obama signed it into law on Oct. 28, 2009. It was the first major piece of federal legislation in support of the rights of homosexuals and, when passed, was compared with the passage of 1960s civil rights legislation that empowered countless African-Americans.

In the Catholic understanding, bride (female) and groom (male) confer that sacrament of matrimony on one another; the priest or deacon is simply the official witness. (CNS)

In the Catholic understanding, bride (female) and groom (male) confer that sacrament of matrimony on one another; the priest or deacon is simply the official witness. (CNS)

This law acknowledged the dignity of people regardless of their sexual orientation and, as such, was a development to be welcomed by anyone committed to the principles of justice and human dignity.

News of the passage of that legislation in 2009 triggered expressions of hope from gay-rights activists that same-sex marriage would, sooner rather than later, be legally permissible anywhere in the United States. That day arrived with a decision of the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015.

Legal recognition of same-sex unions, and calling those unions “marriage,” was promoted as an anti-discrimination issue, but it consistently drew opposition from the Catholic community that sees not discrimination but defense of marriage — a sacramental union between a man and a woman — as the issue.

In the Catholic understanding, bride (female) and groom (male) confer that sacrament on one another; the priest or deacon is simply the official witness. There is no room for a same-sex union in the Catholic understanding of marriage. Defending this position is now, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, an enormous challenge for the church.

Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage will be more persuasive to the extent that it is explained by spokespeople who are unambiguous in their support of protection by the state of the rights of homosexuals in the matter of hate crimes, workplace discrimination, military service and similar situations.

The Catholic commitment to justice should also support partners in a same-sex union having, as a spouse would have and as the Supreme Court has now mandated, inheritance rights and access to a partner’s hospital bedside in times of illness.

Permitting partners in a same-sex union to have adoption rights is another matter. Here, Catholic opposition should be grounded in sound theory and solid data, evidence that the arrangement would not be good for children. It should rest on discretionary, not discriminatory, grounds and in no way impugn the dignity of any homosexual person.

The church has the ongoing challenge of defending its distinction between homosexual orientation (morally neutral) and homosexual behavior (morally impermissible). Pastoral explanation of this distinction remains a challenge for the church, which is not to say that it cannot be met.

Marriage, in the eyes of the church, is a sacrament. If the separation of church and state means anything, it certainly means that the state is not free to decide what is and what is not a sacrament, even though the state and other civic jurisdictions do, without objection from the church, issue what are called marriage licenses.

Now that the state has decided to approve and protect same-sex unions, the church can insist that the state has no right to call these unions “marriage,” but it is more difficult now than ever to make that case.

The long-standing acceptance of marriage licenses issued by the state poses a difficulty for the church in making that argument.

Without yielding any moral ground, however, the church could, if necessary, accept a two-tier system, common in other countries, of having Catholics appear before a civil authority in a civil ceremony to be followed by a church ceremony where the sacrament is conferred.

Other religions may, if they wish, welcome partners in a civilly recognized same-sex union to a subsequent religious ceremony of commitment.

Some denominations will surely do that. The Catholic Church will not. Its refusal to do so must be respected as an expression of commitment to sacramental marriage, not a condemnation of those with other views.

Jesuit Father Byron is university professor of business and society at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Email: wbyron@sju.edu.

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Court rules same-sex marriage legal nationwide

June 26th, 2015 Posted in Featured Tags: ,


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a landmark ruling, a divided Supreme Court June 26 said same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide.

“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-4 majority. “This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.” Read more »

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Church needs ‘reality check’ after Irish vote for same-sex marriage, says Dublin archbishop


Catholic News Service

DUBLIN — Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said the church needs a “reality check” after Irish voters overwhelmingly supported same-sex marriage.

People in Dublin react as Ireland voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage May 23. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the church needs a "reality check" after Irish voters overwhelmingly supported same-sex marriage. (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

People in Dublin react as Ireland voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage May 23. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the church needs a “reality check” after Irish voters overwhelmingly supported same-sex marriage. (CNS photo/Cathal McNaughton, Reuters)

Ireland was the first country in the world to put same-sex marriage to a popular vote and the May 22 poll was backed by 62 percent of the population. Same-sex marriage is now a constitutional right in Ireland.

“I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people?’” he told state broadcaster RTE as the result became clear.

He said the referendum result was “an overwhelming vote in one direction,” and he appreciated how gay men and lesbians felt after the endorsement of same-sex marriage, “that they feel this is something which is enriching the way they live,” he said.

The archbishop described the result as a “social revolution.”

“It’s a social revolution that didn’t begin today,” he said. “It’s a social revolution that’s been going on, and perhaps in the church people have not been as clear in understanding what that involved.

“It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general.”

Archbishop Martin said it was important that the church must not move into denial of the realities.

“We won’t begin again with a sense of renewal by simply denying,” he said.

Referring to the high turnout of younger voters, the archbishop said “most of these young people who voted ‘yes’ are products of our Catholic schools for 12 years … there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church. … We need to sit down and say ‘Are we reaching out at all to young people?’… We’re becoming a church of the like-minded, and a sort of a safe space for the like-minded,” he warned.

However, he insisted, “that doesn’t mean that we renounce our teaching on fundamental values on marriage and the family. Nor does it mean that we dig into the trenches.

“We need to find … a new language which is fundamentally ours, that speaks to, is understood and becomes appreciated by others,” the archbishop said.

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, who had been a leading voice in the “no” campaign, described the outcome as “clear and decisive.”

“While I am personally disappointed by the result, I very much welcome the fact that so many people voted,” Bishop Doran said.

“It seems that many people voted ‘yes’ as a way of showing their acceptance and their love for friends and family members who are gay. Large numbers obviously believed that they could vote ‘yes’ without in any way undermining marriage. While I do not share their belief, I understand their reason for celebrating, and I do respect their spirit of solidarity,” Bishop Doran said.

He also paid tribute to the “no” campaign.

“I want to acknowledge the generosity of so many people who worked so hard to ensure that the minority point of view was heard,” he said. “They have every reason to be proud of what they achieved with such limited resources.”

David Quinn, who as director of the pro-marriage think-tank the Iona Institute was the de facto leader of the “no” campaign, pointed to the fact that one in three citizens decided to vote “no” despite the fact that all political parties were calling for a “yes” vote.

Turnout was significantly higher than previous referendums, and most commentators highlight the large number of young voters as a key reason why the referendum passed.

The government plans to have legislation prepared by this summer, with the first same-sex marriages expected to take place in September.


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Supreme Court considers same-sex marriage in states that bar it


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — The questions raised by Supreme Court justices as they considered April 28 whether they should rule that same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide covered a gamut of rights concerns — religious, equal protection, states’ ability to enact their own laws.

A man holds a sign supporting traditional marriage near Capitol Hill in Washington during the third annual March for Marriage April 25. The Supreme Court heard cases April 28 for states to honor the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

A man holds a sign supporting traditional marriage near Capitol Hill in Washington during the third annual March for Marriage April 25. The Supreme Court heard cases April 28 for states to honor the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

In two and a half hours of oral arguments, the line of questions and the answers by attorneys representing both sides made clear that all concerned recognize the potential for the court’s ruling to be history-making.

Even the justices who sounded inclined to allow states to continue to ban same-sex marriage and refuse to recognize such marriages from other states seemed to recognize that it is no longer a question of if but when and who decides that same-sex marriages are allowed.

“The issue is not whether there should be same-sex marriage, but who should decide,” said Justice Antonin Scalia in an exchange with Mary Bonauto, attorney for James Obergefell and other petitioners seeking the right to have same-sex marriage allowed or recognized in their states.

“And you’re asking us to decide it for this society when no other society until 2001 ever had it,” Scalia added.

Chief Justice John Roberts observed that the country has moved quickly from firm opposition to such marriages and a nationwide prohibition on them to the current status of broad acceptance and a majority of states allowing same sex marriage. Numerous legal observers have drawn a connection between the marriage cases and the speed with which the nation had to accept the legality of abortion when the court ruled in 1973 that it is constitutionally protected. They suggest that a constitutional finding in favor of same-sex marriage would similarly preempt voters’ rights to decide such a complex moral issue.

“If you prevail,” he told Bonauto, the nationwide legal debate about the issue will be over, but the people who are still making up their minds how they feel about same sex marriage will be deprived of the chance to weigh in about how their states act.

“People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts,” Roberts said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often is a swing vote in cases that divide along liberal/conservative lines, and Justice Samuel Alito also raised several questions about the speed with which same-sex marriage has become accepted and whether the court should be wading in to find a constitutional right at this time.

Kennedy said the 10-year period over which U.S. states have begun to allow same-sex marriage is a short amount of time on which to base a ruling to change that.

“This definition has been with us for millennia,” he said. “And it’s very difficult for the court to say, oh, well, we know better.”

Alito observed that, “until the end of the 20th century, there never was a nation or culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex. Now, can we infer from that that those nations and those cultures all thought that there was some rational, practical purpose for defining marriage in that way, or is it your argument that they were all operating independently, based solely on irrational stereotypes and prejudice?”

Bonauto said in response that “times can blind.” For example, discrimination on the basis of sex was assumed to be constitutionally protected, she said, and it took more than 100 years for the court to find otherwise.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out that the cases seeking reversal of rulings that upheld state bans on same-sex marriage wouldn’t be up for the court’s consideration “if marriage was what it was a millennium ago.” She gave the example of another change in how marriage is understood, citing times when a woman’s role in a marriage was subservient to the man’s decisions. “There was a change in marriage to make it egalitarian when it wasn’t egalitarian.”

Bonauto expanded on that, saying that for centuries the U.S. and Europe had a system “where a woman’s legal identity was absorbed into that of her husband and men and women had different prescribed legal roles. And again, because of equality and changing social circumstances all of those gender differences in the rights and responsibilities of the married pair have been eliminated. And that, of course, is a system in which committed same-sex couples fit quite well.”

Scalia also raised questions about whether clergy would be required to participate in same-sex marriages that violate their religious beliefs. “You could have ministers who conduct real marriages that are civilly enforceable at the National Cathedral (run by the Episcopal Church) but not at St. Matthew’s (Catholic) downtown because that minister refuses to marry two men and therefore cannot be given the state power to make a real state marriage. I don’t see any answer to that. I really don’t.”

No ministers in states with same-sex marriage have been forced to preside at marriages they don’t wish to perform, Bonauto said. But Scalia persisted, saying that if such marriages are constitutionally protected, they will have to do so.

Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer stepped into the issue.

“There are many rabbis that will not conduct marriages between Jews and non-Jews, notwithstanding that we have a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination,” she said. “And those rabbis get all the powers and privileges of the state.”

Breyer quoted the First Amendment: “It’s called Congress shall make no law respecting the freedom of religion.”

The attorney representing the states that want to keep their bans on same-sex marriage, Michigan’s special assistant attorney general John J. Bursch, argued that if the court finds a constitutional right to such marriages, it would lead to fewer marriages between heterosexual couples and therefore fewer children being raised in two-parent households.

“There’s harm if you change the definition because, in people’s minds, if marriage and creating children don’t have anything to do with each other, then what do you expect? You expect more children outside of marriage.” That’s why, he said, the state must follow through with its obligation to protect children by keeping marriage defined in the way that lends itself to parents raising their own biological children.

“We’re talking about something that’s going to change the meaning of the institution over generations,” Bursch said. “You have things like no-fault divorce where we tweaked what marriage means and it had consequences over the long term that some people didn’t expect.”

In the second question the court took up, whether states that don’t permit same-sex marriages are obligated to recognize such unions performed in other states, attorney Douglas Hallward-Driemeier repeatedly referred to his clients’ marriages being dissolved by the states where they live.

“These petitioners have built their lives around their marriages, including bringing children into their families, just as opposite-sex couples have done,” Hallward-Driemeier said. “But the non-recognition laws undermine the stability of these families.”

He and attorney Joseph F. Whalen, associate solicitor general of Tennessee, who was defending several states’ rights to not recognize same-sex marriages, both agreed that if the court rules in the first question that there is a constitutional right to such unions, their cases become moot.

That portion of the argument batted around questions of when a state may decide a marriage recognized in one state can be ignored in another.

Whalen said before the question of same-sex marriages came up the last time Tennessee had refused to recognize another state’s marriage was in 1970, in a case involving a marriage of a stepfather and stepdaughter.

The court was weighing four cases from Tennessee, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio.

All four cases under review are all from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in November that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are constitutional. That 2-1 ruling came in the case of a lesbian couple in Michigan who sought to jointly adopt the special needs children they are raising together. The state will not allow adoption by couples that are not married and it prohibits same-sex marriage.

The opinion said that although it is inevitable that same-sex marriage will be allowed nationwide, it is better to make that change through a political process, rather than a court ruling. The 6th Circuit was the first federal appeals court to find in favor of such bans. Four other federal appellate courts have found same-sex marriage prohibitions to be unconstitutional.

The court bundled the appeals under the title of the Ohio case, Obergefell v. Hodges. That case arose after the October 2013 death of John Arthur of Cincinnati. He and his longtime partner, Obergefell, had married earlier that year in Maryland. When the local Ohio registrar agreed to list Obergefell as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate, which is key to a range of survivor’s benefits, the state attorney general challenged the status because Ohio law bars same-sex marriages.

The other cases under consideration include: Tanco v. Haslam, the Tennessee case, and Bourke v. Beshear, the Kentucky case, which similarly challenge those states’ refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, and DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan adoption case.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was among Catholic organizations that filed “amicus” or friend-of-the-court briefs urging the justices to maintain the definition of marriage as applying just to one man and one woman.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is only a union of one man and one woman. The church teaches that homosexual attraction itself is not sinful, but homosexual actions are. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is considered sinful.

As of late April, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, most due to federal and state court rulings.

The court’s ruling is expected before it adjourns for the term in late June.


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Cardinal Burke urges pope to take hot-button issues off table for next synod


Catholic News Service

LIMERICK, Ireland — A recently reassigned Vatican official has urged Pope Francis to take the issues of Communion for the divorced and remarried, cohabitation and same-sex marriage “off the table” for next year’s Synod of Bishops.

Addressing more than 300 delegates at the family and marriage conference in Limerick Nov. 15, U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said these issues had distracted the work of the synod in its first session in October.

Warning that Satan was sewing confusion and error about matrimony, the cardinal patron of the Knights of Malta said, “Even within the church there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy.”

The 66-year-old former archbishop of St Louis instead recommended that next year’s synod devote itself to promoting the church’s teaching on marriage.

Cardinal Burke also ruled out any easing of the restriction on Communion for those divorced and remarried without an annulment of their original marriage.

“I fail to be able to comprehend how, if marriage is indissoluble and someone is living in a state contradicting this indissolubility of marriage, the person can be admitted to holy Communion,” he said.

He urged the Catholic faithful to write to Pope Francis and Vatican and Irish church officials to make their views known.

Lashing out at the “so-called contraceptive mentality,” he warned it was “anti-life” and blamed it for “the devastation that is daily wrought in our world by the multi-million dollar industry of pornography” and the “incredibly aggressive homosexual agenda,” which he claimed could only result in “the profound unhappiness and even despair of those affected by it.”

Cardinal Burke said he was reduced to tears by attempts to introduce “so-called gender theory” into schools.

He warned that such theory was “iniquitous” and that exposing children to such “corrupt thinking” could not be permitted.

He said “society has gone even further in its affront to God and his law by claiming the name of marriage for liaisons between persons of the same sex.”

To applause, the cardinal said he refused to use the term traditional marriage for the marriage of a man and a woman.

“My response is, is there any other kind of marriage? I fear that by using that terminology that we give the impression that we think that there are other kinds of marriage; well, we don’t.”

Speaking ahead of the conference to RTE News, Cardinal Burke said he would refuse Communion to a Catholic politician who voted for same-sex marriage.

In his opening address to the conference, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said the family needs to be rediscovered as the essential agent of evangelization.

However, he referred to the final message of October’s synod, to remind conference delegates that “people need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life.”


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U.S. bishops urged not to ‘shy away’ from supporting traditional marriage


Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — The U.S. bishops gathered in Baltimore for their annual fall general assembly were urged not to “shy away” from the Catholic Church’s support of traditional marriage even as laws across the country are legalizing same-sex marriage.

“The challenges to religious liberty with regard to the redefinition of marriage grow daily,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, in a Nov. 10 report to the bishops.

He said that for several years, the bishops’ subcommittee has “sought to defend marriage’s unique meaning, while also calling attention to the real negative consequences and anticipated threats that marriage redefinition poses to religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”

The archbishop urged his fellow bishops to continue their work on the issue, taking to heart the words and example of Pope Francis to advance a “culture of encounter, accompaniment and witness.”

He said the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding traditional marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee was a “significant win for marriage” and will likely bring the issue to the Supreme Court.

He also noted that two federal court rulings, now on appeal, in Louisiana and Puerto Rico, upheld traditional marriage laws.

But Archbishop Cordileone said the Supreme Court’s failure in October to review appeals of rulings striking down same-sex marriage bans and other recent circuit court decisions allowing for same-sex marriages brings “the number of states where marriage has effectively been redefined in the law” to 32.

He warned that society’s redefinition of marriage “brings complex challenges — pastoral, sacramental and legal” — and he also emphasized that the church’s “accompaniment of those who experience same-sex attraction is particularly important.”

The Catholic Church upholds marriage as between one man and one woman and teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. The church also teaches that homosexual attraction itself is not sinful and that homosexual people “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

The archbishop encouraged his fellow bishops to continue their support of traditional married couples and families and emphasized the importance of upcoming gatherings such as the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September and the world Synod of Bishops on the family next October.

“The church is being called to embrace a renewed catechesis on marriage and family” in preparation for these meetings, he said.


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Utah to appeal ruling on same-sex marriage ban to Supreme Court


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s attorney general said July 9 the state will go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a federal appellate court’s ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

On the same day in neighboring Colorado, a judge overturned that state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision by Colorado District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree “advances a misinterpretation of the institution of marriage in modern society, reducing marriage to a sheer emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the impulses of culture,” said a July 10 statement by Colorado’s Catholic bishops.

“As Catholics, we have a duty to protect and preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in our laws and policies. We are called to make this stand because redefining marriage will only further erode the family structure of our society,” the bishops added.

Colorado and Utah were two of six states affected by a 2-1 decision issued June 25 by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said states could not deprive people of the right to marry because they chose partners of the same sex. The other four states are Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

It marked the first time a federal appellate court had struck down state same-sex marriage bans. Crabtree’s ruling marked the 16th time a state judge had overturned its state’s same-sex marriage prohibition. In both cases, the judges put their rulings on hold pending probable appeals.

Despite the 10th Circuit’s stay on its own affecting six states, Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall in Colorado had been giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On July 10, a county judge said Hall could continue to give the licenses, with the understanding that the licenses could be declared invalid at some point in the future.

The judge, Andrew Hamilton, noted, though, that every state judge issuing a ruling in the past year had declared same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional, and that Colorado’s own ban was “hanging by a thread.”

Voters approved Utah’s same-sex marriage ban in 2004. Colorado voters had done the same in 2006.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes chose to bypass the full 10th Circuit in a bid to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear Utah’s case. The high court is under no obligation to hear the appeal. It often does not consider appeals unless there are conflicting judgments from other federal or state courts.

At the federal judicial level, a ruling is expected soon by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Virginia’s statewide ban; the case was heard in May. Federal courts are also due to hear arguments in August and September for cases out of Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert had said he hoped the state would appeal directly to the Supreme Court, his office said recently. He added the state already budgeted money needed to defend the law. It has already spent about $300,000 paying three outside attorneys to defend its same-sex marriage ban, and estimates paying another $300,000 to argue its case before the Supreme Court.


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Federal judge halts same-sex marriages in Wisconsin during appeal


MADISON, Wis. (CNS) — A federal judge halted same-sex marriages in Wisconsin while an appeal of her decision to strike down as unconstitutional the state’s ban on such marriages is pending.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb stopped same-sex marriages in the state a week after her initial ruling June 6. About 500 couples had wed during the period after she allowed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Her order did not address whether the marriages were valid. Read more »

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