Defending marriage is critical for society, Bishop Conley warns

Lincoln, Neb., Nov 5, 2013 / 02:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Warning that a “fierce debate on the future of marriage” is coming to Nebraska, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln emphasized that same-sex unions are not civil rights and urged the state to recognize the unique role of the natural family.

“Civil union proponents will work hard to shroud the question in the language of civil rights,” the bishop wrote in a Nov. 2 column for the Lincoln Journal Star. 

“But nearly every benefit sought by civil union legislation already is legally available to Nebraskans. Civil union legislation is not about civil rights. It is about denying the unique and special role that families play in civilizations.”

The legalization of civil unions is “an effort to redefine marriage itself” and to undermine the understanding that “stable, fruitful partnerships between men and women should be promoted and protected,” he continued.

Bishop Conley noted that the Nebraska legislature’s judiciary committee held a hearing Nov. 1 to discuss how Supreme Court rulings on same-sex “marriage” would affect Nebraska state policy.

He said the hearing was “the beginning of an effort to approve same-sex civil unions in our state.”

“The exclusive and permanent bond of a man and woman joined in marriage offers to couples and to society a preeminent value that cannot be redesigned by legal dictate,” the bishop said.

While emphasizing the need to treat everyone with dignity, he said marriage is a “fundamental relationship” across all societies.

“Marriage, between a man and a woman, begets families. Families beget communities. Communities beget cultures and societies and nations.”

“At the core of human communities is the family. And at the core of the family is marriage.”

He noted that Nebraska had already voted to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman in the state constitution, urging policymakers to respect that decision.

Marriage is also vital to the well-being of children, he said.

“Children deserve both a mother and a father; they learn from each and are formed by each, in different ways. Though some children are raised by only a mom, or only a dad, to suggest that mothers and fathers are not uniquely important in the lives of children defies our basic intuitions and our basic logic.”

The effort to preserve marriage “will be a fight for the future of our state, for our children and for our communities,” the bishop concluded, asking that it be undertaken with fairness and respect for all.

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