Today the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that the U.S. constitution equally protects the right of same-sex couples to enter into a civil marriage in all 50 states. This ruling regrettably trumps both the express will emanating from the deliberations of voters and legislatures across the country, and millennia of understanding across cultures as to what marriage is.
At the same time, the opinion of the Court also recognizes that “the First Amendment affirms that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and their faiths and to their own deep aspiration to continue the family structure they have long revered.”
For our part, our Catholic faith teaches, as it always has, that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. Man and woman complement each other; they then become united as one in marriage and together are unique in their ability to create new life based on sexual and reproductive differences. Our teaching in that regard will not change.
We will also continue to teach that every human person deserves respect and compassion. The experience of same-sex attraction is a reality that calls for attention, sensitivity, and pastoral care. Each of us is called to love and each of us deserves to be loved. Here too, we will continue to witness this value.
As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and human dignity. We will invite our fellow citizens to share in our values and commitment to them.