WASHINGTON, April 5, 2006 ( – Bishop William S. Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has written to all Catholic Bishops asking that the bishops and the people in their dioceses become involved in the effort to support a federal constitutional marriage amendment.

In the letter, Bishop Skylstad also informed the Bishops that the Knights of Columbus have initiated a national postcard campaign with respect to public advocacy for the Protection of Marriage Amendment.

“Today there is a growing sense shared by many people, including a wide range of religious leaders, that a Marriage Protection Amendment is the only federal-level action that ultimately will protect and preserve the institution of marriage,” Bishop Skylstad said. “In particular, timely and focused efforts are needed to help the Catholic faithful form their consciences on such an important matter.”

Noting he was writing at the request of the USCCB Administrative Committee, Bishop Skylstad said: “In a matter of months we will have the opportunity once again to stand publicly in support of marriage as the God-given union of a man and a woman.”

He was referring to the likelihood that the Protection of Marriage Amendment (S. J. Res. 1) will be introduced in the Senate in June. The proposed text of the amendment reads as follows:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

“I am aware that the time is short for taking action so I urge you to do whatever you can, given the situation and the resources available to you,” Bishop Skylstad wrote. “I am also aware that in some states there are upcoming votes for either legislation or constitutional amendments defining marriage. We are challenged, therefore, to give attention to the interplay of state and federal level policy as well as to focus our efforts where they are most needed and can do the most good.”

“I reiterate the importance of leadership by the bishops individually and as a Conference for the support of marriage and for its protection in society,” Bishop Skylstad said.


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