Michigan Bishops Respond to Ruling on Marriage Amendment

Michigan Bishops Respond to Ruling on Marriage Amendment March 23, 2014

Late in the day on Friday, March 21, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman overturned the 2004 voter-approved Michigan Marriage Amendment.  In his ruling, the judge said that Michigan’s prohibition on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, and he ordered the state to stop enforcing the ban.

Judge Friedman wrote:

“Today’s decision … affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.”

The court order was halted at least temporarily on Saturday, but not before hundreds of couples had obtained licenses at Secretary of State offices which took the unusual step of opening on Saturday.

CNN reports that

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican whose term expires later this year, announced on Friday evening he’d filed an emergency request for U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman’s order to be stayed and appealed.

“In 2004, the citizens of Michigan recognized that diversity in parenting is best for kids and families because moms and dads are not interchangeable,” Schuette said. “Michigan voters enshrined that decision in our state constitution, and their will should stand and be respected.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an order Saturday to temporarily stay through at least Wednesday the decision by Friedman. In its brief order, the court explained that it did so “to allow a more reasoned consideration of the motion to stay.”

On Saturday morning, same-sex couples throughout the state rushed to obtain marriage licenses–some 142 couples in my own county.

The Catholic Church is clear in its opposition to so-called “same-sex marriage.”  The seven Catholic bishops in the Archdiocese of Detroit and other dioceses in the State of Michigan released the following statement, under the name of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in the state:

Marriage is and can only ever be a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or future electoral vote. Nature itself, not society, religion or government, created marriage. Nature, the very essence of humanity as understood through historical experience and reason, is the arbiter of marriage, and we uphold this truth for the sake of the common good. The biological realities of male and female and the complementarity they each bring to marriage uniquely allows for the procreation of children.
Every child has the right to both a mother and a father and, indeed, every child does have lineage to both. We recognize not every child has the opportunity to grow in this environment, and we pray for those single mothers and fathers who labor each day to care for their children at times amid great challenges and difficulties. They deserve our constant support and encouragement.
Today’s decision from federal district court Judge Bernard Friedman to redefine the institution of marriage by declaring Michigan’s Marriage Amendment unconstitutional strikes at the very essence of family, community and human nature. In effect, this decision advances a misunderstanding of marriage, and mistakenly proposes that marriage is an emotional arrangement that can simply be redefined to accommodate the dictates of culture and the wants of adults. Judge Friedman’s ruling that also finds unconstitutional the state’s adoption law is equally of grave concern.
As this case will likely move forward through the courts, it is necessary to state clearly that persons with same-sex attraction should not be judged, but rather accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. We rejoice with those brothers and sisters in Christ living with same sex attraction who have found great freedom through Jesus’ call to chastity communicated through the Church. We equally encourage those who are struggling in good conscience to live in harmony with the Church’s teaching about sexuality, along with their families, to continue praying and to continue seeking the Lord with the help and guidance of the Church.
Going forward, we, the Catholic bishops of this state, working through the Michigan Catholic Conference, will collaborate with those who are upholding Michigan’s Marriage Amendment and adoption statute and will assist to the greatest extent possible efforts to appeal Judge Friedman’s most regrettable ruling.
Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron 
Archbishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Earl A. Boyea 
Bishop of Lansing
Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley 
Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone 
Bishop of Saginaw
Most Reverend John F. Doerfler 
Bishop of Marquette
Msgr. Francis J. Murphy
Diocesan Administrator, Gaylord
Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak
Bishop of Grand Rapids
"I'll follow you over Kathy. I was probably in more sympathy with your point of ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"If you're at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"Thank you, Mrs. Harris! Christmas blessings to you. I hope to see you over at ..."

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow…. My ..."
"Let's defer to the experts (namely, the tract writers (tractors?) at Catholic Answers) for a ..."

Heaven Is For Real: Secrets Colton ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ahermit

    Disgraceful .When will these bigots stop trying to impose their narrow minded religious beliefs on those who don’t share them?

    • oregon nurse

      Sure. Silence every citizen whose conscience is formed by their religion. You have no qualms imposing your beliefs on me though do you?

      • ahermit

        Who said anything about silencing you? Preach on all you want; I wouldn’t ask for the law to be changed to keep you from expressing your opinion, no matter how bigoted.

        But why should same sex couples be denied all of the legal rights and benefits extended to heterosexual couples? Why should they be forced to conform to your religious beliefs?

        There are churches which are happy to solemnize same sex marriages; why should their beliefs be marginalized while your church’s doctrine is given the force of law?

        • “Who said anything about silencing you?”

          This is interesting to compare to the above:

          “You and your Church should eave them alone Theodore; let them live their lives let them love one another let them be treated equally under the law. Stop trying to ram your religion down other people’s throats.”

          Yep, that’s you silencing us.

          • ahermit

            No Theodore, you can preach all you want. What you can’t do is use the law to force others to follow your religion.

          • Maybe I misunderstood what “eave them alone” meant- especially in light of the utter rejection, vandalization and attack nationwide of parishes that supported civil unions- by gays.

            Your words are meant to shame us into silence, but we cannot be silent. Dictatorships of relativism and further violence cannot be tolerated any longer.

          • Then you don’t believe what you wrote about “leave them alone”? Which is it?

          • ahermit

            What part of this are you having a hard time understanding? Preach all you want, talk all you want, believe whatever you want, practice your own religion all you want.

            Just don’t expect to be able to use the power of the State to impose your religious beliefs on others.

    • I don’t know, when will you? From my point of view, the real bigots are people like you, trying to enforce YOUR narrow minded religious belief that somehow homosexuality is superior on everybody else.

      • ahermit

        You’re confused. No one is saying that homosexuality is “superior.” I’m just asking that my gay friends and relatives be treated with respect and dignity and given the same rights as anyone else.

        You and your Church are the ones trying to impose your beliefs on the rest of us. Please stop it.

        • Except of course, for the millionaires and billionaires who have paid to force this on America, as a part of their attempt to exterminate the poor. Homosexuality, contraception, and abortion, all go together for the malthusian eugenicists.

          If they want respect and dignity, they should have to do the same thing I had to do as an autistic- choose to conform. Respect can’t be forced by law, and nothing in homosexuality is dignified.

          • ahermit

            That’s one of the most ridiculous, paranoid conspiracy theories I’ve seen in a long time…

            Look, I don’t demand that anyone conform to my beliefs before being granted equal treatment under the law; why should your Church make that demand of anyone else?

          • You do it all the time, you just don’t realize it.

            Neurotypicals are all alike, you’re all asleep and don’t even realize when you are sinning against other people.

            The need to conform was beaten into me as a teenager. Over and over again. We ask people to conform before granted equal treatment under the law all the time- there is a reason why the prisons exist. The existence of a law and a government is all about CONFORMITY. Has nothing to do with the church, has to do with being human.

            And you’re asking me to conform to your beliefs every time you bring up this marriage equality garbage. I am not fooled by your politically correct attempt to eliminate right and wrong, sin and virtue, from the world. I’ve lived with your type of neurotypicals my whole life, attacking me for who I am- and now you’re attacking the one place in society I feel comfortable. Here I stand, I can move no more- you’ll have to kill me to get your way.

          • ahermit

            Don’t be absurd Theodore. You’re not being attacked; Your Church is being asked to stop attacking others. Live and let live, you live your life and let others live theirs. You don’t feel comfortable with gay weddings don’t have one or go to one, but don’t presume to tell others they can’t.

          • “You’re not being attacked; Your Church is being asked to stop attacking others. ”

            I don’t believe that for a second. The sexual revolution has been about destruction since the earliest days, this is just another round, another battle, another way to destroy civilization entirely.

            There is nothing socially redeeming in homosexuality, nothing dignified about it. Gay weddings make the situation worse, not better.

  • Just goes to prove that removing judges from the democratic process is a very bad idea.

    • ahermit

      Can you find fault with the Judge’s reasoning? He addresses the Archdiocese’s argument pretty effectively I think…


      “Even assuming that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than children raised by heterosexual married couples, the state defendants fail to explain why Michigan law does not similarly exclude certain classes of heterosexual couples from marrying whose children persistently have had “sub-optimal” developmental outcomes. According to Rosenfeld’s study, children raised by suburban residents academically outperformed those children raised by rural and urban residents. Likewise, “middle class and poor families are ‘sub-optimal’ compared to well-off families, and couples with less formal education are “sub-optimal” compared to couples with more formal education.” A child’s racial background is another predictive indicator of future success, as the study showed that “the probability of making good progress through school is greater in the U.S. for children of Asian descent than for children of all other racial groups.” Taking the state defendants’ position to its logical conclusion, the empirical evidence at hand should require that only rich, educated, suburban-dwelling, married Asians may marry, to the exclusion of all other heterosexual couples. Obviously the state has not adopted this policy and with good reason. The absurdity of such a requirement is self-evident. Optimal academic outcomes for children cannot logically dictate which groups may marry.”

      “There are thousands of same-sex couples currently raising thousands of children in Michigan, and these numbers have steadily increased over the past 20 years. Prohibiting gays and lesbians from marrying does not stop them from forming families and raising children. Nor does prohibiting same-sex marriage increase the number of heterosexual marriages or the number of children raised by heterosexual parents. There is, in short, no logical connection between banning same-sex marriage and providing children with an “optimal environment” or achieving “optimal outcomes.” pages 24-24 (emphasis added)

      • The entire concept of homosexuality is false reasoning. It’s just more sexual revolution garbage designed to destroy civilization.

        Those who aren’t civil and are violent to begin with, don’t get to ask for civility.

        Gays had their chance with civil unions, could have expanded those to even cover heterosexual marriages. They destroyed that because that would not have been sufficient to attack the church.

        Gays who form families, should be prosecuted for child abuse.

        • ahermit

          It’s just people who love each other Theodore. Why would you think that hurts anyone in any way?

          • Because it isn’t love.

            Love wants what is best for the OTHER person, not for oneself. What is best for the other person is heterosexuality.

            If it was love, then giving up homosexuality would be a part of it.

          • ahermit

            Who are you to judge the love that others have for one another? Why should your biased opinion be given the force of law and used to exercise control over the loving relationships of people you don’t even know?

            I’ve been married for thirty years; I think I know a little bit about what a loving relationship looks like and I see the same love in the relationships of gay friends and relatives.

            You and your Church should eave them alone Theodore; let them live their lives let them love one another let them be treated equally under the law. Stop trying to ram your religion down other people’s throats.

          • “Who are you to judge the love that others have for one another?”

            I’m not. I’m judging the meaning of the word “love” in and of itself.

            “Why should your biased opinion be given the force of law and used to exercise control over the loving relationships of people you don’t even know?”

            It shouldn’t. But then again, neither should the law be used to force me to support relationships of hatred, which is all I see in homosexuality- including the post I am responding to right now.

            “I’ve been married for thirty years; I think I know a little bit about what a loving relationship looks like and I see the same love in the relationships of gay friends and relatives.”

            I don’t- because those relationships are not procreative. I also don’t see love in contracepting heterosexual couples, BTW, only abuse.

            “You and your Church should eave them alone Theodore; let them live their lives let them love one another let them be treated equally under the law. Stop trying to ram your religion down other people’s throats.”

            And there’s the hatred, violence, and anger again- EXACTLY what scares me about you totalitarians.

          • ahermit

            So, my grandfather’s second marriage, undertaken after his first wife dies and lomg after his second wife was of childbearing age, was in your opinion an abusive relationship? More abusive than her first marriage to a man who beat her regularly?

            I don’t think you know the meaning of words like “love” and “abuse” Theodore…

            And please explain how asking you not to use the force of law to impose your religion on others is “totalitarian?”

          • Your side isn’t just “asking you to not use the force of law”, you’re trying to use rhetoric to silence debate.

            I don’t know how to take marriage in the elderly, other than to note that the Social Security administration seems to be against it. But I do know this- the sexual revolution was the worst event in the history of the world, and has already caused a genocide greater than any in human history, and I for one will not be idle while it continues to go on- no matter what your side ends up doing with us (my guess is that, from your rhetoric alone, if the RFRA is overturned in court today the next step will be concentration camps- the one thing the gay lobby can’t stand is somebody who sticks up for traditional marriage).

  • I don’t see how a judge can overturn the state consititution. The supreme court ruling from last year did not over turn all state laws. All SCOTUS decided was that where SSM was in place, states could not deny marital benefits to homosexuals. It said nothing about states that had laws against gay marriage in the first place, especially states that enshrined it in their state constitution. If this country was truly a democracy, this ruling would not hold. But is this country really a democracy any more? Constitutions and the will of the people don’t mean anything any more.