Today, the United States Supreme Court decided not to hear cases from several states seeking to uphold their amendments that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The lower court decisions that have struck down amendments will thus go into effect, affecting 11 states. The number of states thus permitting same-sex "marriage" is at 30, plus the District of Columbia.
The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, and the chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, expressed serious disappointment at the decision.
“Millions of Americans had looked to the Court with hope that these unjust judicial decisions might be reversed,” Bishop Malone and Archbishop Cordileone said. “The Supreme Court’s action fails to resolve immediately the injustice of marriage redefinition, and therefore should be of grave concern to our entire nation.”
One of the states that is affected is Colorado.
A statement from the state's bishops said the Supreme Court decision "is disappointing and advances a misunderstanding of the institution of marriage."
Bishop Malone and Archbishop Cordileone’s full statement follows:
Upholding the inviolable dignity of every human person is a duty for all, and this duty entails the defense of the unique meaning of marriage as between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take up any of the cases striking down state laws reflecting the authentic meaning of marriage in five states is extremely disappointing and surprising. All of these state laws were democratically enacted, including most by the direct vote of large majorities within just the last decade. Millions of Americans had looked to the Court with hope that these unjust judicial decisions might be reversed. Instead, as a result of the Supreme Court’s action today, those decisions are allowed to take effect. Furthermore, marriage laws in six other states are now in jeopardy.
Marriage is and can only be between a man and a woman—a unique relationship in which the state has a vested interest. It is the only institution that unites a wife and a husband together for life and unites them to any children that come from their union. This truth presumes and supports the equal dignity of all people, especially of children whose right to a mother and a father deserves the utmost legal protection. The Supreme Court’s action fails to resolve immediately the injustice of marriage redefinition, and therefore should be of grave concern to our entire nation.
Globally, we are at a time of recognizing the decisive importance of marriage and the family when it comes to addressing challenges of poverty and serving the good of all. This is a time when marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined. Our young people need encouragement to embrace the gift and responsibility of marriage as it truly is—a permanent, faithful, and fruitful gift of self between a man and a woman. May all of us continue to work to strengthen and protect marriage and stand for justice for all, especially children, who are the most vulnerable.
The rest of the statement from the Colorado bishops follows:
"As the Catholic bishops of Colorado, we reiterate that marriage and the family are cornerstones of every culture. Marriage has long been recognized as the faithful, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman that allows for the procreation of children; this is consistent with human biology and natural law. Upholding the truth about marriage advances the dignity of all people, and it promotes a culture that acknowledges, values, and respects the unique and complementary gifts of both a mother and a father in the lives of children.The decision today by the United States Supreme Court not to act will have a lasting and profound effect on the family structure. Nonetheless, marriage does not come from the state. It comes from God. Our desire is for people of good will to continue to grow in the truth and joy of marriage, so that when society begins to see the bad fruits of this decision, our families and the Church will be there as joyful witnesses of the truth about the family and human sexuality.More than ever, this decision by the Supreme Court shows the importance of faithful Catholics being involved in political life and bearing witness to the truth about human sexuality, marriage and the human person."