Bishops Back Senate Bill on Defense of Marriage

'Every just effort to stand for the unique meaning of marriage is worthy of support'

Washington, D.C., (Zenit.org) | 600 hits

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, strongly endorsed the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (S. 2024) introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz.

A companion bill (H.R. 3829) was previously introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber.

In a letter of support to Senator Cruz dated Friday, Archbishop Cordileone noted that the Department of Justice is the most recent federal agency “to use a ‘place of celebration’ rule rather than a ‘place of domicile’ rule when determining the validity of a marriage for purposes of federal rights, benefits, and privileges.”  

“By employing a ‘place of celebration’ rule, these agencies have chosen to ignore the law of the state in which people reside in determining whether they are married. The effect, if not the intent, of this choice is to circumvent state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

He noted that these federal agencies are acting contrary to the Supreme Court decision on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“The Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor, however, requires the federal government to defer to state marriage law, not disregard it.” He concluded the bill is necessary because it “would remedy this problem by requiring the federal government, consistent with Windsor, to defer to the marriage law of the state in which people actually reside when determining whether they are married for purposes of federal law.”

Archbishop Cordileone urged the U.S. Senate to pass the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 and encouraged members to join as cosponsors of the bill, stating, “Marriage needs to be preserved and strengthened, not redefined. Every just effort to stand for the unique meaning of marriage is worthy of support.”

The letter can be found online: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Ltr-to-Cruz-re-SMDA-3.pdf