“Marriage Is and Always Will Be the Union Between One Man and One Woman”

Leader of Bishops Speaks of ‘Perennial Institution’ as Supreme Court Considers Redefinition

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of states defining and recognizing marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Commenting on the oral arguments before the Court, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “Today is a moment of great consequence. Marriage is a perennial institution, with deep roots in who we are and in our nation’s culture and laws. Marriage is and always will be the union between one man and one woman. This truth is inseparable from the duty to honor the God-given dignity of every human person.

“We pray that the justices will uphold the responsibility of states to protect the beautiful truth of marriage, which concerns the essential well-being of the nation, especially children. Children have a basic right, wherever possible, to know and be loved by their mother and father together. The Church will always defend this right and looks to people of good will to continue this debate with charity and civility.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June. 

Observers of the oral arguments said it was hard to predict which way the court would decide. Justice Kennedy, widely held to be the swing vote, has a record of favoring same-sex “marriage,” but on Tuesday, he spoke about the definition of marriage recognized for millennia. 

Meanwhile, Pope Francis today continued his catechesis series on marriage and family. He said, 

“When God finishes the work of creation and makes his masterpiece, the masterpiece is man and woman. And here, in fact, with this masterpiece is where Jesus begins his miracles, in a marriage, in a wedding feast: a man and a woman. Thus Jesus teaches us that the masterpiece of society is the family: man and woman who love one another! This is the masterpiece!”

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