Bishops Join With Jews, Protestants to Defend Marriage

Massachusetts Prelates File Amicus Brief

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BOSTON, FEB. 1, 2011 ( The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts are joining with Jewish and Protestant groups to defend a federal law that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference (MCC) has joined with seventeen other major Catholic, Jewish and Protestant groups in filing an amicus brief Jan. 27 in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

DOMA became law in 1996 and defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman. 

The federal case is now before the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The brief is urging the federal court to overturn a decision last July that struck down DOMA on federal constitutional grounds, as applied to Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is recognized by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. 

Inaccurate and unfair 

The groups affirmed to the court that despite theological differences, they are united in their view of the social and legal importance of thus defining marriage. 

The brief faulted the trial judge for characterizing DOMA as a product of bigotry. 

It affirmed that the groups are «united in condemning hatred and mistreatment of homosexuals» and that «God calls us to love homosexual persons.» 

But it also asserted that «we steadfastly defend our belief that traditional marriage is both divinely ordained and experientially best for families and society.» 

«This considered judgment is informed by our moral reasoning, our religious convictions, and our long experience counseling and ministering to adults and children,» the groups affirmed. 

They protested the district court’s ruling that Congress «could only have been motivated by bigotry against homosexuals — and, hence, by implication, that our own support for DOMA and traditional marriage is so motivated,» calling this «inaccurate and unfair.» 

The challenge to DOMA could go to the U.S. Supreme Court, especially if the lower court ruling is affirmed.

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