San Francisco Roman Catholic archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has written a denunciation of the new Rhode Island marriage equality law on the conference’s website.
“The meaning of marriage cannot be redefined, because its meaning lies in our very nature,” he wrote in a Friday post. “Therefore, regardless of what law is enacted, marriage remains the union of one man and one woman — by the very design of nature, it cannot be otherwise.” He also called marriage equality “a serious injustice” and said the acceptance of anything other than heterosexual marriage endangers children, “the most vulnerable among us.” Society must preserve “in the law the principle that every child deserves a mother and father united in marriage.”
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the Rhode Island marriage equality bill into law Thursday, making the state the 10th, plus the District of Columbia, with equal marriage rights for both gay and straight couples. There was criticism of the measure from Catholic leaders within Rhode Island too, with Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin publishing an open letter on his diocese’s website Thursday advising Catholics not to attend same-sex weddings.
Because ‘same-sex marriages’ are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others,” Tobin wrote.