Statement of the Archdiocese of Washington on the Decision of the Supreme Court of the United States Regarding Same-Sex Marriage
June 26, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that in effect redefines the civil definition of marriage nationwide. The law of the land affirms that “marriage” in civil law may now include two persons of the same sex. While this is not the Church’s understanding of marriage, it is a definition confirmed by the Court.
Our Catholic faith teaches that every person, regardless of race, creed, color, age, gender or sexual orientation, has dignity and is loved by God. The Church’s teachings on human sexuality and life reflect this truth.
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. More than just a bond between people who love and are committed to each other, marriage is also about creating and nurturing the next generation – something that requires both a man and a woman with their distinctive and complementary gifts. This is the reason that civil governments have given marriage special recognition throughout all of human history. 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. As such situations arise, the local Church will have to undertake a moral evaluation to determine, on a case-by-case basis, the manner in which it will respond to this conflict.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi