Homosexual-Marriage Ruling Triggers Alarm

Theologian Calls Decision "Grave and Presumptuous"

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ROME, NOV. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A theologian who writes for L'Osservatore Romano criticized the decision by a Massachusetts court in favor of same-sex marriage, saying it sanctioned a "moral disorder against God's creative plan."



"This is a great wound to human dignity that can never be justified," Father Gino Concetti, an expert on Catholic moral theology, told Reuters today in the wake of the court decision in the United States. He called the ruling "grave and presumptuous."

The decision could pave the way for the state to become the first in America to legalize same-sex marriage. The Vatican has not officially reacted to the Tuesday ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

In Boston, Archbishop Sean O'Malley released a statement on the court decision.

"Since the inception of the Commonwealth and the writing of the Massachusetts Constitution, jurists, public officials, and common sense have interpreted marriage as meaning a lifetime covenant between a man and a woman," the archbishop wrote.

"It is alarming that the Supreme Judicial Court in this ruling has cast aside what has been not only that interpretation of the Massachusetts Constitution but the very definition of marriage held by peoples for thousands of years," he said. "My hope is that legislators will have the courage and common sense to redress this situation for the good of society."

Daniel Avila, associate director for policy and research for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, noted that the majority of the court in its opinion said: ""The Constitution cannot control such prejudices but neither can it tolerate them ... the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect."

"Those very words," Avila said in a statement, "signal the court's desire to change not only the marriage license policy, but also to change every other law that can be viewed as, in some way or fashion, giving effect to the traditional understanding of marriage."

"For instance, our state's anti-discrimination laws will now have to be applied to individual and institutional behavior that reflects that understanding. The majority specifically refers to the anti-discrimination laws. So this ruling goes far beyond any issue of performing religious ceremonies," Avila said.

He continued: "For example, this will mean that landlords will no longer be able to refuse to rent to same-sex couples whom the landlords deem to be living in an unmarried, and therefore immoral, sexual relationship. If the prospective renters have a marriage license, the refusal to rent will be actionable as discrimination.

"Also, religious institutions, such as hospitals, schools and charities, will have to change their employment policies to recognize same-sex couples with marriage licenses as spouses. The Catholic Church, as announced by the Vatican earlier this year, cannot do that. So our ability to abide by our beliefs in our institutional policies will be directly threatened."