WASHINGTON (March 3, 2004) -— The Chairman of the bishops Marriage and Family Life Committee today commended the chairman of a Senate subcommittee for calling a hearing on the national implications of the Massachusetts judicial decision requiring same-sex unions.
Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah included two statements on the issue from the U.S. bishops and asked that they be included in the record of today's hearing. The first, Promote, Preserve, and Protect Marriage, he said "expresses general support for a federal marriage amendment." The second, Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, expresses "the core of Catholic teaching about marriage."
The full text of Bishop Boland's letter follows:
March 3, 2004
The Honorable John Cornyn
Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
United States Senate
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed itself twice on the question of marriage and same-sex unions. Each of these statements, to a greater or lesser degree, relates to the current proposal of a federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Both statements are enclosed.
The first statement, Promote, Preserve, Protect Marriage, commits the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to a policy position that involves education and advocacy, at local and federal levels, on behalf of marriage understood as the union of a man and a woman. In this regard, it expresses general support for a federal marriage amendment as one strategy in the overall effort to protect marriage. We commend you for scheduling hearings in the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution on this vitally important issue.
The second statement, Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, is an educational document intended primarily for the Catholic community. In it the bishops express the core of Catholic teaching about marriage and they apply this teaching to the question about redefining marriage to grant same-sex unions the equivalent legal status of marriage. This statement is broader in scope than the first one. It sketches a context or framework within which the first statement's policy position can be situated and understood.
I hope both documents of the Conference will be useful to your committee as it undertakes its work on this important matter. We are submitting this information for the record of the March 3, 2004, hearing on the national implications of the Massachusetts Goodridge decision.
Most Reverend J. Kevin Boland
Bishop of Savannah
Chairman, Committee on Marriage and Family Life