The U. S. Supreme Court granted a request Friday to review the November 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholding the constitutionality of marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The decision regarding same-sex marriage is expected in June or July.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded to the Court’s action, saying, “A decision by the Supreme Court on whether a state may define marriage as the union of one man and one woman may be the most significant Court decision since the Court’s tragic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision making abortion a constitutional right.”
The anniversary of that decision is next week, Jan. 22, and will be marked by the annual March for Life in D.C., as well as the West Coast Walk for Life.
Pope Francis just today spoke against a redefinition of marriage. At a meeting with families in Manila, he said: “While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality. This is the ideological colonization. The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.”
Archbishop Cordileone also noted, “It’s hard to imagine how the essential meaning of marriage as between the two sexes, understood in our nation for over 200 years, and consistent with every society throughout all of human history, could be declared illegal. To those arguing for a constitutional redefinition of marriage, one must ask: when did the Constitution suddenly mandate a novel and unfounded definition of marriage? To ask such a question is not a judgment on anyone. It is a matter of justice and truth. The central issue at stake is: what is marriage? The answer is: a bond which unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children who come from their union. Only a man and a woman can unite their bodies in a way that creates a new human being. Marriage is thus a unique and beautiful reality which a society respects to its benefit or ignores to its peril.”
Archbishop Cordileone added, “Let us pray that the Supreme Court will be guided by right reason and render a true and just decision upholding the constitutionality of states to respect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the coming months.