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 Archdiocese of Cincinnati

The archbishop of Cincinnati is asking for prayers tomorrow as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals hears challenges from four states to recent rulings overturning their state marriage amendments.

At 1:00 p.m. local time, the court is hearing six challenges to same-sex “marriage” bans and other regulations from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Leading up to the hearing, as well as during it, the Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr is asking Catholics and all people of good will to pray for God’s intervention.

In an e-mail to the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in his archdiocese, Schnurr asked his flock to pray for the judges at tomorrow’s hearing: Judges Jeffrey S. Sutton and Deborah L. Cook and Senior Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey.

“Traditional marriage, the union of one man and one woman for life, is the cradle of the family, which is the basic building block of society,” Schnurr said. He recommended the faithful pray the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Prayer in Defense of Marriage.

The Ohio-based pro-family advocacy group Citizens for Community Values is also holding a prayer rally at the courthouse tomorrow from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. local time.

Several rallies by homosexual advocates are also expected.

In Ohio, homosexual activists have led a great deal of pushback against the 2004 approval of a state amendment backing marriage. Like other states, Ohio's ban on same-sex “marriage” is being considered in light of the Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision, which declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Since Windsor, courts have overturned voter-approved amendments in states across the country. Those defending marriage hope Ohio and the other states can earn a win for marriage to rival these recent losses. Some believe that hope is emboldened by the fact that two of the panel judges are George W. Bush appointees.

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All four states argue that their laws should stand on the merits of federalism, especially given that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed to support federalism in Windsor.

Kent Ostrander of the Family Foundation of Kentucky said, “Kennedy affirmed several times in writing … that the regulation of marriage should be left up to the individual sovereign states, so I would be surprised if the 6th Circuit attempted to change that Supreme Court ruling.”

Three-quarters of Kentucky voters supported the state amendment in 2004. A recent poll showed that while support for the amendment has slipped, it would still garner at least a plurality of support.

The USCCB’s Prayer in Defense of Marriage:

God our Father, we give you thanks
for the gift of marriage: the bond of life and love,
and the font of the family.

The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,
fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church.

The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the
request of the Blessed Mother. May your Son,
through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us
a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.

May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers
in the lives of their children.

Father, we ask that our prayers
be joined to those of the Virgin Mary,
that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.