On Friday, January 16, the U. S. Supreme Court agreed to consider whether marriage between two individuals of the same sex should be legal in all fifty states. The Justices will review a November 2014 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld the constitutionality of marriage laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
That same day, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, responded on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “A decision by the Supreme Court,” Archbishop Cordileone said,
“…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.”
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 two hundred 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 called faithful Christians to pray, saying,
“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.”
June is the month when the Supreme Court typically announces its decisions regarding cases they’ve agreed to review. In the interim, the Court will hear oral arguments in the case.