Definition of marriage gets renewed attention across country

| From staff and wire reports | May 22, 2012 | 0 Comments

The public debate over the definition of marriage received renewed attention this month as voters in North Carolina became the 31st state to approve a constitutional amendment upholding traditional marriage — an action followed a day later by President Barack Obama’s declaration during a nationally televised interview that he supports same-sex marriage.

North Carolina voters approved the constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman on May 8 by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.

Bishop Peter Jugis of Charlotte and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh had both championed the amendment, which they said would prevent any arbitrary redefinition of marriage.

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, praised North Carolina voters, saying the amendment’s passage “demonstrates people’s awareness of the essential role that marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, plays for the common good.”

The vote came as Minnesotans continue their own public debate over the definition of marriage in preparation for a Nov. 6 vote on a similar ballot measure.

Last week, local church officials responded to a group of former Minnesota Catholic priests and three retired priests who voiced public opposition to the proposed amendment. Both the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis issued statements May 17 restating the church’s support for traditional marriage.

Jason Adkins, executive director of the MCC, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, said the North Carolina vote demonstrates that “the American people still strongly support marriage.”

On the other hand, he added, “it’s terribly saddening when the president of the United States does not understand what marriage is and how it serves the common good.”

Among critics of the president’s May 9 announcement was the Archdiocese of Washington, which said in a statement that it “opposes the redefinition of marriage based on the clear understanding that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the meaning of marriage. The word ‘marriage’ describes the exclusive and lifelong union of one man and one woman open to generating and nurturing children. Other unions exist, but they are not marriage.”

In its statement, the Washington archdiocese said it would “continue to strongly advocate for the federal government’s existing definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” adding it supports efforts undertaken by those who uphold the traditional meaning of marriage.

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Category: Marriage