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ARCHBISHOP O'MALLEY ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PROPOSALS
Legislators Must Protect the Unique Benefit to Society" of
the Marital Bond
BOSTON, Massachusetts, MARCH 11, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Sean O'Malley of
Boston issued this statement Wednesday regarding proposals before Thursday's joint
session of the Massachusetts legislature. The proposals would link the
reaffirmation of marriage as the union between one man and one woman with a
mandate to create same-sex civil unions equal to marriage.
* * *
As the legislature prepares to re-convene the constitutional convention
tomorrow, I renew my call to the Catholic faithful to pray and to work together
on behalf of the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the
union of one man and one woman. We must do so with courage and with charity.
Our stand for the defense of marriage is motivated by a deep conviction
concerning the common good of all citizens. We uphold marriage as a unique bond
between a wife and a husband, a bond which is the bedrock and foundation of our
families and society. Marriage is given special protections and benefits in law
because it is the institution which best provides for the procreation and the
raising of children. Our legislators must protect the unique benefit to society
that the marital bond creates and the good that this bond produces for children.
We support the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment as it has been
presented, without the introduction of civil unions language. The amendment
seeks to protect a social institution that is essential to our society. A debate
about social benefits given to other individuals in our law is a separate issue.
We are concerned with proposals to give same-sex couples identical benefits and
protections to those given to husbands and wives that pose a grave threat to
religious liberty and the freedom of conscience. Whether the name used is
same-sex marriage or civil unions, an equal treatment requirement in the
constitution may be used to coerce private and public entities to adopt
practices that would violate their values and understanding of the family and
Adding language to create a constitutional exemption based on conscience will
not solve the problem. The threat to the common good will remain.
The amendment reaffirming marriage as the union between one man and one woman
must be approved on its own merits. Joining this amendment to the issue of civil
unions deprives the people an opportunity to express their views on marriage.
Citizens have that right. Linking the two coerces people in a way that is
unfair. Voting on them separately respects the will of the public.
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