WASHINGTON (July 13, 2004) -— Msgr. William Fay joined other religious leaders at a press conference in the nation's capitol, saying "the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops gives its full and unequivocal support to the Federal Marriage Amendment that would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as consisting only of the union of a man and a woman."
"Safeguarding the nature of marriage has always been one of the Catholic Church's constant concerns," Msgr. Fay said. "The Church believes and teaches that marriage is created by God. It is a faithful, exclusive lifelong and loving union of a man and a woman who are the foundation of the family unit, which itself is the bedrock of society and culture. Marriage is not an arbitrary social arrangement that can be altered by either the Church or the State. It is God's will for humanity and the keystone of every human community."
Msgr. Fay, General Secretary of the USCCB, participated in a July 13 press conference conducted by Senator Sam Brownback, and some half-dozen religious leaders. The Senate has begun debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment and a vote is expected this week.
In his statement, Msgr. Fay said the Bishops of the United States support the Federal Marriage Amendment "in view of the growing efforts of a small but vocal minority…to redefine marriage as something that it is not."
"The protection of marriage is essential to the health and well-being of our nation, and the vast majority of Americans know this," Msgr. Fay said. "In those states where the electorate was given the opportunity to safeguard marriage as the union of a man and a woman, they did it overwhelmingly. More than two-thirds of the state legislatures have enacted measures to protect marriage, but marriage remains unprotected," he continued. "Because Americans want that protection, there is every reason to believe that the amendment before the Senate today will be well-received and ranked by them as important as were the amendments introduced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to protect the citizenship and voting rights of every man or woman born or naturalized in the United States."
"Just as we know from natural reason that we cannot ignore or violate, without grave consequences, the structure and integrity of the physical world which is our environment, so too we cannot ignore or violate the natural structure of our human relationships which has marriage as the center and foundation of our human community," Msgr. Fay stated. "The failure to protect marriage at this important moment in our history will have devastating consequences for our society and our nation."
In his statement, Msgr. Fay recalled that Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the USCCB, wrote to the Senate on July 6 saying "Recent actions in various state courts have placed the institution of marriage under serious attack and in grave danger." Bishop Gregory urged the Senate to vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment after turning back any attempt to prevent consideration of the measure. On June 24, the USCCB President wrote to all Catholic Bishops asking them to personally urge their Senators to support the Amendment, as well as to generate additional support through pastors from throughout the Catholic community.