WASHINGTON (CNS) – Here is a sampling of reaction to the June 26 Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that same-sex marriage is constitutional nationwide:
“Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is a truth that predates courts and constitutions. This understanding transcends cultures, religions and all time – it is the foundation of civilization. … Men and women are not interchangeable. Marriage is not ours to define. History, nature and revelation all profess these truths. Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court changes none of this. The court deals with civil law not revealed truth or religious faith. The court’s opinion rightly affirms the freedom of religious organizations to continue to express and teach the truth of marriage. Nonetheless, the court’s ruling has the potential to create circumstances in which the Church’s teaching and practices may be perceived to conflict with civil law.” – Archdiocese of Washington
“Going forward, the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage will have a significant ripple effect upon the first amendment right to religious liberty. It sets the church’s teaching about marriage in opposition to the law and will create inestimable conflicts between the state and religious persons and institutions. As the impact of the decision plays out over the coming weeks and months the Catholic Church will continue to preach the truth about marriage and will promote, in the public square, if this truth as what is good for society and our world.” – Catholic bishops of Michigan
“In his majority opinion today in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice (Anthony) Kennedy affirmed that religious liberty and conscience rights must be a part of the implementation of this decision. It’s encouraging to see the majority emphasize religious liberty throughout the opinion. Indeed it appears to be religious liberty that forms common ground between the majority and the dissenters. If we are to maintain a pluralistic and vibrant society, people of faith must continue to be able to hold and express a multiplicity of views, and today’s opinion affirmed that fundamental American principle.” – Ashley McGuire, Catholic Association
“Today’s misguided Supreme Court decision cannot change what marriage is, any more than decreeing the world flat can make it so.
“Fortunately, the beauty and holiness of what marriage is will continue to shine in the intimate, life-long partnership of love and sacrificial self-giving between one man and one woman, fundamentally open toward the procreation and education of human persons. Sadly, five members of the Court follow a popular, but very narrow and deconstructive view of this rich, God-given gift.
“There is much more to conjugal love than two people – of whatever gender or sexual orientation – focused on each other, however passionately. It is from marriage of all relationships that human persons – God’s greatest joy and creation – come into being nat- urally and most fittingly. Its full meaning lies outside itself. Our faith will always proclaim and bear witness to this great and unique partnership of love, inviting all to embrace its truth and full potential.” – Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, Diocese of Albany
“Last week’s Supreme Court decision reflects rapidly shifting attitudes in our secular American society. However, it does not change the teachings of the Catholic Church or its understanding of sacramental marriage.
“More specifically, the Church clearly teaches that the sacrament of marriage is a covenant of love that can be entered into only by a man and a woman – a covenant that binds and seeks to deepen the union between spouses over their lifetime and opens them to the creative power of their love in the procreation of children. The Supreme Court’s decision does not change this fundamental Catholic teaching of faith.
“This change of civil law, despite the challenges and difficulties that it presents to our religious beliefs, must not stop our efforts to continue our mission to become a more welcoming Church, and to evangelize by witnessing to the beauty and truth of the Church’s teaching in our own lives, including our belief in the sacrament of marriage.
“Witnessing to the truth has become increasingly difficult in our contemporary age because truth is considered a relative matter by many of our neighbors and friends. Yet if we move forward in love and respect, then people of all ages will find safe harbor in the Church’s teaching and be drawn to loving and faith-filled communities we wish to create.” – Bishop Frank Caggiano, Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.
“We fear the court’s decisions redefining marriage and the rights of the states will have a long term corrosive effect on the institution of marriage which is the bedrock of our society. We pray that marriage between a man and a woman will remain a strong truth in our world. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage.” – Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
“The decision issued today by the Supreme Court to effectively change the legal definition of marriage in the United States does not alter the unassailable truth that marriage is, and always will be, the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman.” – Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis
“All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. However, our commitment to marriage is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator’s original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children. As bishops, we believe it is more vital than ever that we share the church’s consistent witness to the truth about marriage, and we call on Catholics and those concerned for the common good to continue to pray, live and speak out with charity about the true nature of marriage. The truth cannot be marginal- ized.” – Catholic bishops of Virginia
“We … recognize that while the conversation about same sex marriage has changed dramatically in recent years, there are many Americans who will disagree with the decision and among them many who are concerned about its impact on their sincerely held religious beliefs. We call for sensitivity and civility in this debate, understanding that the vast majority on all sides are people of good will. Adjusting to change is not always easy or swift. Our society and, no doubt, our courts will continue to be challenged with the implementation of this decision. We call on all sides to respect the decision of the Supreme Court and each other’s religious and personal beliefs.” – Jewish Council for Public Affairs
We respect the dignity of all persons, not wishing to undermine their pursuit of happiness but only to pre- serve and defend the gift of marriage as divinely revealed in Scripture and in natural law. Although we respectfully disagree with those who would define marriage otherwise, we firmly hold that all persons are loved by our compassionate God and deserve the respect and dignity that is inherently theirs as human beings. We acknowledge the right of our nation’s highest court to provide for a well ordered society by establishing laws that protect the common good and safeguard the civil and contractual rights and privileges of its citizens. At the same time, we urge our lawmakers and judges to respect those institutions that are beyond state and federal juris- diction, institutions such as sacramen- tal marriage that transcend civil law and whose origins precede the exis- tence of the state and go beyond its competence.” – Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah