Wednesday, June 26, 2013


June 26, 2013


I am disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision today that redefines marriage as something other than a vowed relationship between a man and a woman. The tradition of the Church continues to maintain that marriage is the sacred union between a man and a woman whose love for one another is open to the blessing of children. A marriage between a man and a woman and the blessing of children strengthens our society through family life.

The Church maintains that man and woman were made for each other - that God created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal persons and complementary as masculine and feminine.

In marriage God unites a man and a woman in such a way that, by forming "one flesh", they can transmit human life. "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." (Genesis 1:28) By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator's work.

I regret that the Supreme Court has failed to recognize their responsibility to uphold significant truths that strengthen and promote the moral fiber of our society.

Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Savannah

And from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the USCCB:

(Vatican Radio) Below is a statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' on the US Supreme Court's ruling on Wednesday striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court decisions June 26 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and refusing to rule on the merits of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 mark a “tragic day for marriage and our nation,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The statement follows.

“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.

“Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
“Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.

“When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.

“Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.”

Speaking to Vatican Radio following the Supreme Court's decision, Kim Daniels spokeperson for the President of USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, ""We feel that this is a real injustice and a sad day"
She also points to the fact that religious liberty "is going to be a growing concern", following this ruling.

You can listen to Vatican Radio by PRESSING HERE!


RandomThoughts said...

Respectfully, the Bishop misreads the Court's opinion. For now, the Court has only struck down a portion of DOMA. Meaning if two homosexuals are married in a state that recognizes such marriages, they are entitled to equal treatment under federal law as a married heterosexual couple in the same state. It did NOT redefine marriage, for now. The case which posed that question, the Court held it lacked jurisdiction to decide.

I stress "for now", because it seems from reading the opinion that there is a majority of the Court which believes that any state laws that forbid homosexual marriage are unconstitutional. However, the Court had the opportunity to do just that today in the Hollingsworth case, but chose not to with a very strange divide amongst the Court.

So perhaps there is not a consensus among the Court that state laws banning homosexual marriage are unconstitutional. We shall have to wait and see. But for now state laws restricting homosexual marriage are still constitutional and valid.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you RT, but we are on the slippery slope and cascading toward it and the threat to our religious liberty is very real although certainly not present yet. The future is unclear and courage to stand up to what may be shoved down our throats with penalties if we spit it back will test our fidelity to our Lord and His Church.

Marc said...

I hope Anonymous 5 will grace us with his thoughts as a Constitutional Law scholar, once he's had a chance to digest the opinion.

Having not read it, it seems to me that whatever is left to the particular states is meaningless if they must honor the laws of the other states. For example, if my state of Alabama doesn't recognize such "marriages" or allow them to take place in its borders, it must still recognize those that take place in the states allowing for them. Right?

So, the particular state's rights mean nothing. Where have this refrain led us in the past?

RandomThoughts said...


Nothing in the opinion requires states to enforce the gay marriage laws of other states. Rather, the opinion found unconstitutional how different citizens within a state were treated different under federal law.

For example, in NY both straight and gay couples could marry. But under DOMA only straight couples could receive federal benefits. The court held that this effect of DOMA was unconstitutional when examined within the context of a state that allowed gay marriage.

Where the rubber hits the road, is the situation you mentioned. Many southern states have passed laws and constitutional amendments recently outlawing gay marriage and saying these marriages violate the public policy of the state. However the full faith and credit clause of the US Constitution requires states to give full faith and credit to the laws and judgments of other states. One day a gay couple legally married in NY will move to AL and apply for benefits from the state - perhaps one is employed by the state and seeks to put their partner on the health insurance - and will be denied. When that happens the situation you discuss will have to be decided. However for now state laws outlawing gay marriage are still valid, but obviously they are on life support.

Marc said...

I see. Thank you for that analysis, RT. I hope to have a chance to read the opinion tomorrow, but I'm even more eager to read the dissent.

Lovel said...

1 of 2
Interesting piece from Hadley Arkes:
(From National Review Online)
These decisions, handed down by the Court today, affect to be limited in their reach, but they are even worse than they appear, and they cannot be cabined. They lay down the predicates for litigation that will clearly unfold now, and with short steps sure to come, virtually all of the barriers to same-sex marriage in this country can be swept away. Even constitutional amendments, passed by so many of the states, can be overridden now. The engine put in place to power this drive is supplied by Justice Kennedy’s “hate speech,” offering itself as the opinion of the Court in U.S. v. Windsor. Kennedy wrote for the Court in striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the part of the act that recognized as “marriage,” in federal law, only the union of a man and woman. In Kennedy’s translation, the Defense of Marriage Act showed its animus in its very title: The defense of marriage was simply another way of disparaging and “denigrating” gays and lesbians, and denying dignity to their “relationships.” As Justice Scalia noted so tellingly in his dissent, Kennedy could characterize then as bigots the 85 senators who voted for the Act, along with the president (Clinton) who signed it. Every plausible account of marriage as a relation of a man and woman can then be swept away, as so much cover for malice and blind hatred.

As Scalia suggested, that opinion can now become the predicate for challenges to the laws on marriage in all of the States. A couple of the same sex need merely go into a federal court and invoke Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the DOMA case (U.S. v. Windsor): The Supreme Court has declared now that a law that refuses to recognize same-sex marriage is animated by a passion to demean and denigrate. Any such law cannot find a rational ground of justification. As Kennedy had famously said in Romer v. Evans, those kinds of laws can be explained only in terms of an irrational “animus.”

That may be enough to have the laws and the constitutional provision overruled. But it gets even better if the state has a Democratic governor: For he may declare now that he will not enforce the constitutional amendment, for he thinks it runs counter to the federal Constitution. And by the holding today in the case on Proposition 8 in California (Hollingsworth v. Perry), the backers of the constitutional amendment will have no standing in court to contest the judgment. Constitutional amendments are meant to secure provisions that will not be undone by the shift in season from one election to another. But with the combination of these two cases today, any liberal governor can virtually undo a constitutional amendment on marriage in his state.

Justice Kennedy sought to pretend, and Chief Justice Roberts pretended to believe him, that his judgment applied only to Section 3 of DOMA, in which the Congress declared that, in federal law, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Section 2 of DOMA sought to support the authority of a state to refuse to credit a same-sex marriage brought in from another state. It sought to prevent one state from indirectly nationalizing homosexual marriage, with the aid of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution. Justice Kennedy insists that the decision on Section 3 does not touch Section 2: It does not compel any State to recognize same-sex marriage. But as Justice Scalia quipped in dissent, that claim falls into the list of “bald, unreasoned disclaimer[s].” Kennedy’s opinion will be hauled out in the cases to come to argue that the State has no justified ground for refusing to accept same-sex marriage in its own laws, or crediting the same marriages coming in from other states.

Lovel said...

2 of 2

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court refused to recognize the standing of the backers of Proposition 8 to defend that constitutional amendment in the courts. Once the governor of the state refused to defend the amendment, the backers of the amendment could claim no personal injury at stake in the litigation. When a federal district court struck down Proposition 8, the backers of the amendment had no standing to take the case into a higher, appellate court, and that court, in any event, turned out simply to confirm the holding of the district court. In denying standing, the Supreme Court now swept away the holding of the appellate court. All that is left is the holding of the District Court, which covers only the litigants in the case. And the holding has no precedential standing in any other court. And so, would the case cover no one but the litigants, and would Proposition 8 still be on the books? But more “bald, unreasoned disclaimer.” The legislature will take Justice Kennedy’s language in the DOMA case to call into question the standing of Proposition 8 as a constitutional amendment in California. And they may proceed then to legislate again to establish and promote same-sex marriage.

Our friends in the National Organization of Marriage could well be put out of business by the work that the Court today has completed. They may have to think anew on a strategic path once considered and long ago discarded: They may have to ponder again the use of Article V of the Constitution to amend the constitution on the appeal of two-thirds of the states. If we add the number of states that have constitutional amendments now to protect marriage, along with States that have resisted same-sex marriage in their laws, they would be more than enough to call for a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution on this subject.

Present at the Court today were families of the justices, as the Court reached the end of its work for the term. But as we passed out of the courtroom this morning, all quite amiable and civil, the culture war had taken a decisive, real turn.

Jgr said...

The Prop 8 case was remanded to the appellate court because the plintiffs did not have legal standing. (The original plaintiffs withdrew). So that will have to be re-visited. It has been the policy of state and local governments to grant benefits and tax privileges to married couples over those who are single. Does the state have a compelling interest to encourage
marriage? Or traditional marriage over gay marriage? To me yes but
not to this court. Has anyone here
read studies on the children of
civil union couples or the temporal
ephemerality of such unions vis-avis
traditional marriages? I'm not sure there is any evidence -no matter how compelling -which will matter to this court.
Haven't read the opinions of the justices which should prove interesting.

Duncan Hines said...

It was nice to see Bishop Hartmayer speak out against this decision, but unfortunately, his words and the words of probably every other Catholic bishop will only be noticed as more "evidence" of how the Catholic Church must be corrected.

I don't wish to be negative, but most of our bishops have completely blown the debate about homosexuality:

1) They've tried to win the debate on the cheap, refusing to use canon law to bring errant high-profile "Catholics" back into line.

2) A number of them have been silent or given grudging lip-service to the Church's position because of their own homosexuality, which they are terrified might be revealed.

3) The only argument we've heard is the "man and a woman" argument, which is correct, but only part of the rationale for opposing state-recognized sodomy.

The swing vote was Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy is supposedly Catholic. His bishop, Loverde of Arlington, has already shown a decided preference for protecting and sympathizing with all causes homosexual. If Bishop Loverde is a true son of the Church, he will take Kennedy to task for the tremendous damage he has done. My money says he will do nothing. And that, my friends, is just one of the reasons we are losing this debate.

We Catholics are like a man whose house has been broken into by thieves. We are fully armed with "clubs, knives and guns"--truth, natural law and magisterial authority--and we are refusing to use our weapons. We're just sitting silently, letting the thieves ransack our house. May God forgive us for the world we are bequeathing to our children.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Marc, based on my reading of Windsor, RantomThoughts has a very good analysis. I tend to agree with Hadley Arkes, but for different reasons.

Windsor, while limited, doesn't so much set a precedent for future litigation as reveal the Court's activist bias. This is a new level of activisim in that the Court essentially ignored the "case or controversy" requirement in order to be able to strike down section 3 of DOMA. The petitioner--the _petitioner_--asked the Supreme Court to _affirm_ the decision below. We thus have, effectively, a collusion between petitioner and respondent to bring a non-case before the Court in order to nullify a law of Congress. Leaving aside that huge aberration, Kennedy's opinion is fairly straightforward. The problem wasn't in what he said but that the majority had to ignore "case or controversy" in order to let him be able to say it. (Hmmm . . . I wonder if a later, DOMA-friendly administration could claim that because it isn't a "case or controversy," the entire opinion is dictum?)

The Hollingsworth decison is on rather more solid ground, I think. There the Court actually tried to apply, instead of getting around, the "case or controversy" requirement by taking seriously the question of petitioners' standing. Unfortunately, the result is to leave intact the horribly reasoned district court opinion. The Court of Appeals opinion, which was vacated, made more sense; the district court opinion is completely circular/question-begging result-driven garbage, viz.:

Marriage is a fundamental right

States can't mess with fundamental rights

Therefore same-sex marriage can't be banned.

The fallacy, of course, being that the judge assumed as a premise that same-sex marriage meets the definition of marriage, rather than asking whether it meets that definition. Under his ruling, polygamy, polyandry, and incestuous marriages all must be allowed. (I have no problem with any of that. I think we should be logically consistent rather than hypocritical, and it would be the height of hypocrisy for that court to start saying at this point that certain things aren't marriages.)

In short, my view is that neither of these cases is the sort of earth-shattering breakthrough that both the pro- and anti- sides are claiming them to be. Their real import lies in a) how judges are willing to ignore law to effect a policy they agree with, b) the baby steps approach to getting us used to incremental pro-gay cases so we won't freak out when the big ones come along (e.g., equal protection prohibits all bans on same-sex marriage), and c) their role as portents for where the courts are inexorably going to take us in the next four or five years.

Anonymous said...

Duncan - Would you care to NAME the bishop who, in your estimation, have "...been silent or given grudging lip-service to the Church's position because of their own homosexuality..."?

Or are you just going to make baseless assertions to prove how self-righteous you are?

Templar said...

1) Does anyone seriously think the present administration, or the voting poulace at large gives a hoot what the USCCB or any individual Bishop has to say on this issue? They have the active support of 53% of the catholic voting block, they don't need Bishops. Perhaps if Bishops had done their jobs for the past 50 years and Catholics voted like Catholics they would care more, and appeal more, to what the USCCB and Bishops had to say.

2) The SCOTUS is majority Catholic, yet doesn't vote along Catholic lines. Why do you suppose that is? Most of them are malformed, poorly catechized Vatican II Catholics. If the SCOTUS had 5 or 6 catholics on it in 1950s you could be damned sure how they would have voted. But Catholic judges didn't get nominated in the 1950s becasue the WASP Politicos knew how they would vote. Now lots of catholics get nominated, and appointed, because they know the Catholic Church, and it's faith, is completely co-opted.

3) You reap what you sow.

Hammer of Fascists said...


A quibble regarding your point 2: I would rephrase to state that a majority of SCOTUS identify themselves as Catholic. Whether they're objectively Catholic is another matter.

Anonymous said...

Catholics on the Supreme Court:

Roger B Taney (1836-1864)

Edward D White (1894-1921, Chief Justice 1910-1921)

Joseph McKenna (1898-1925)

Pierce Butler (1922-1939)

Frank Murphy (1940-1949)

William Brennan (1956-1990)

Antonin Scalia (1986-)

Anthony Kennedy (1988-)

Clarence Thomas (1991-)

John Roberts (2005-)

Samuel Alito (2006-)

Sonia Sotomayor (2009-)

Duncan Hines said...

I don't think this forum is an appropriate place to "name names" of homosexual bishops.

If you're intelligent enough to do some internet research, you'll find a good deal of information that indicates the gravity of the problem.

I will point out, however, a few indicators that should give everyone pause:

1) There are a number of bishops in the last two decades who have resigned because of various gay scandals in which they were personally involved.

2) The pope himself has said that there is a gay underground in the Roman Curia.

3) One of the papal electors abstained from the last conclave and resigned because of his own gay scandal.

4) When the sex abuse crisis hit the media in 2002, Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, addressed his brother bishops suggesting that they deal with the problem of gays in the priesthood. He was met with icy silence.

There is much, much more and this has nothing to do with my self-righteousness or anyone else's. The problem is that the integrity of the Church's authority has been compromised and it looks like it is we, the laity, who have the burden of trying to restore it.

There are good bishops in the U.S.. The current Bishop of Savannah seems to be one of them. However, no one can deny that many other bishops have failed us.