NEW YORK, July 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - American Christians may one day find themselves facing legal penalties simply for believing marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, a fate already suffered by believers in other countries, said the leader of America’s most influential Catholic pulpit this week.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York reflected on his blog Thursday on the recent legalization of gay “marriage” in New York, and what repercussions true marriage supporters can expect in the future.

He called it “haunting” that the marriage bill became law on the day Catholics celebrate the feast of the Birth of John the Baptist, “whom King Herod would behead because the saint dared to defend the God-given truth about marriage.”

“If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world,” wrote the archbishop.

Christians in the UK, Canada, and elsewhere have lost their jobs, been dragged through lengthy “human rights” proceedings, and faced steep fines for questioning the dangerous homosexual lifestyle, declining to facilitate gay “marriages,” or even failing to acknowledge “gay pride” events.

Dolan pointed out that editorials nationwide have been calling for an end to the Catholic Church’s religious liberties as a growing percentage of Americans consider defending true marriage a form of discrimination against homosexuals. The archbishop insisted the Church’s position was “never anti-gay.”

“As I replied recently to a reporter who asked if I had any message to the gay community, ‘Yes:  I love you.  Each morning I pray with and for you and your true happiness and well-being,’” he recalled.

Meanwhile, he says, the true aggressors have proven to be the gay “marriage” lobby.

“As one respected columnist has observed, the problem is not homophobia but theophobia — a hatred by some of God, faith, religion, and the Church,” he said.

Although Dolan said his brother bishops in New York were “particularly prophetic” in acknowledging an uphill battle on the marriage issue, Dolan said Christians would not back down on the truth.

“Like St. Thomas More, we’re willing to take the heat and even lose our head from following a conscience properly formed by God’s revelation and the teaching of His Church, even if it is politically incorrect, and clashes with the King’s demands to re-define marriage,” he said.

Read Archbishop Dolan’s full post here.