Archbishop Coakley on Supreme Court rulings: “No court decision can change the truth about marriage”

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 26, 2013) – In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman,  to be unconstitutional. The decision implies the federal government must now treat same-sex couples who have been granted marriage licenses at the state level as validly married couples for purposes of federal law, from Social Security benefits to taxation.

The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said he is deeply troubled by the Court’s decision to overturn DOMA.

“By declaring the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court signaled its unwillingness to uphold the truth about marriage,” Archbishop Coakley said. “Yet, the common good depends upon the willingness of societal leaders to uphold basic truths about our humanity, including the truth that we are not merely embodied, but engendered.

Men and women are different, and the difference between men and women matters. It matters, in general, but it especially matters for marriage and parenthood. Only the union between a man and a woman brings forth children, and every child has a father and a mother, even though tragic circumstances sometimes prevent a child from knowing and relating to one or both of his parents personally.

Furthermore, every child deserves to know the truth that he has a father and a mother, to be able to discern his place in ‘the succession of generations’ and to recognize that he is part of a great continuity. Genderless marriage and parenthood is a costly illusion that deliberately deprives children of the knowledge of that truth.

At this time, we as Catholics reaffirm that no court decision can recreate reality or change the truth about marriage, and we mourn for what will likely be lost for many as a result of this decision – the conviction that marriage is between one man and one woman and the freedom that comes from living in that conviction. We will continue to pray for a renewed respect for the complementarity of the sexes and the authentic goods of marriage.”

In another split decision, but with different judges on either side of the equation, the Court also sent back to lower courts a challenge to Proposition 8, a state-level, voter-approved initiative to ban same-sex marriage in California, a decision the U.S. bishops have said they also found dejecting.

“We are disappointed that the Court missed an opportunity to uphold the voices of millions of Californians who voted to protect the unique meaning of marriage,” Archbishop Coakley said. “Given that this decision essentially leaves the legal definition of marriage up to the states, we hope and pray that Oklahomans continue to affirm the truth about marriage.”


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