Wednesday January 13, 2010

US Bishops: Defense of Marriage “One of the Premier Social Justice Issues of Our Time”

WASHINGTON, January 13, 2010 ( – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, recently praised a January 7 New Jersey State Senate vote to preserve the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

“On behalf of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee, I am grateful for the courage of those New Jersey senators who stood for the truth of marriage as a bulwark of the common good,” he said.

The New Jersey Senate voted 20-14 to reject a same-sex “marriage” bill, just as the New York State Senate did when it rejected a similar measure December 2 by a 38-24 margin.

“Preserving marriage between one man and one woman is a matter of justice; indeed it is one of the premier social justice issues of our time. It does not deny but rather supports basic human rights — especially the rights of children,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “The recent New York Senate vote and the vote in New Jersey witness to this fact.”

The votes in New York and New Jersey follow closely the November victory for marriage in Maine, where the “people’s veto” overturned the legislature’s spring 2009 decision to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

Archbishop Kurtz noticed the timing of the votes.

“The recent decisions in Maine, New York and New Jersey are signs of hope and sources of encouragement. We are in a pivotal moment in this country on the issue of marriage, as more and more people recognize that protecting the basic rights of persons need not and should not come at the expense of the unique truth and value of marriage.

“The good of the love between husband and wife, the vital responsibilities of mothers and fathers, and the rights of children all deserve unique protection under law — all of these are indispensable to a just society that serves the dignity of all people and the common good.”