Bishops’ Panel Reaffirms Support for Marriage Amendment

Reiterates Opposition to Marital Status for Same-Sex Unions

WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 15, 2006 ( The U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee has voted to reaffirm its previous statement supporting efforts for a federal marriage amendment.

Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville, Tennessee, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family Life, applauded the reaffirmation Tuesday.

“Today’s action of the Administrative Committee renews the urgent task of bishops to support marriage and its protection,” Bishop Kurtz said. “One important initiative is our support of the Marriage Protection Amendment and efforts to ratify such an amendment.”

He added that the Marriage and Family Committee was pleased that Bishop William Skylstad, president of the episcopate, will communicate the Administrative Committee’s endorsement to every diocesan bishop in the country.

The statement that was reaffirmed says in part: “The Catholic Church believes and teaches that marriage is a faithful, exclusive, and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love.”

“Marriage exists so that the spouses might grow in mutual love and, by the generosity of their love, bring children into the world and serve life fully,” it continues.

Prime focus

“Our defense of marriage must focus primarily on the importance of marriage, not on homosexuality or other matters,” the statement adds. “The Church’s teaching about the dignity of homosexual persons is clear. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.…

“Equally clear is the Church’s teaching about the meaning of sexual relations and their place only within married life. What are called ‘homosexual unions,’ because they do not express full human complementarity and because they are inherently non-procreative, cannot be given the status of marriage.”

The bishops’ statement concludes: “We offer general support for a Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as we continue to work to protect marriage in state legislatures, the courts, the Congress and other appropriate forums.

“Thus, we strongly oppose any legislative and judicial attempts, both at state and federal levels, to grant same-sex unions the equivalent status and rights of marriage — by naming them marriage, civil unions or by other means.”

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