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Boston's archbishop asks legal eagles to fight gay marriage

Boston's archbishop asks legal eagles to fight gay marriage

The leader of Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese has asked Catholic lawyers and judges to oppose gay marriage in order to help protect what he calls the beleaguered institutions of marriage and family. "The social cost of the breakdown of family life has already been enormous," Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley said Sunday at the annual Red Mass, which is dedicated to those in the legal system. Marriage and the family are "threatened as never before" in America, he added. O'Malley, who has led the Boston archdiocese since July 30, didn't specify what legal professionals should do to protect marriage and the family. But afterward he said in a brief interview, "We hope that they will use their profession and their understanding of the law to defend marriage. They're in a better position than any of us to understand what needs to be done to correct a very complicated situation that the court has put us in," he said. The activists who pushed for the landmark supreme judicial court ruling said they remain baffled by claims that their desire to make their partnerships legally binding is threatening marriage and the family. Hillary Goodridge, 47, a lead plaintiff with partner Julie Goodridge in the lawsuit that resulted in the recent ruling, said the issue at the core of the lawsuit is not morality but "licenses handed out by the government.... It's impossible for me to understand how Julie and I being married contributes to the breakdown of anything. It contributes to our economic and social well-being; it certainly contributes to the strength of our family and our enduring love for each other." Gay marriage has become a hot political issue in Massachusetts since the state's highest court ruled in November that denying marriage rights to gays and lesbians is unconstitutional. Gay rights activists and their supporters applauded the ruling as a civil rights milestone. The ruling has also had critics, including the Catholic Church. Some state lawmakers, who have until May to come up with legislation that complies with the court ruling, have been looking into whether the court would be satisfied by the passage of a civil union law like that passed in Vermont.

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