In April, Governor David Paterson announced his support of same-sex marriage legislation.  At that time the New York State Catholic Conference (NYSCC) called on the legislature to defeat this proposal, for which there is no compelling state interest and which will weaken rather than strengthen the institution of marriage.

Quoting from the 2008 statement of the New York State Bishops, the statement reaffirmed that "marriage always has been, is now and always will be a union of one man and one woman in an enduring bond.  This is consistent with natural law, and should be obvious to all, no matter what their religion, or even if they have no religion at all.  Common sense and empirical evidence tell us that children's welfare is best served in most cases by their being reared in a stable home with their mother and father.  Encouraging marriage between a man and a woman, therefore, serves the state's interests.  On the other hand, there is no compelling state interest in granting legal recognition to same-sex relationships.  The simple fact that two people have a committed relationship is not a reason for the state to confer upon it the status of marriage.  Our Church teaches, and we affirm, that we must treat our homosexual sisters and brothers with dignity and love, as we would all God's children.  Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns that any form of prejudice and hatred - 'every sign of unjust discrimination' – against homosexual people should be avoided."

Following the vote of the Assembly this week in favor of this legislation, the NYSCC stated that "the vote in the state Assembly to redefine marriage is not surprising but it is nevertheless disappointing.  Marriage is the fundamental building block of our society.  The state has always had a compelling interest in recognizing marriage for reasons of elementary biology, as was recognized by Judge Robert Smith in the 2006 NYS Court of Appeals decision, Hernandez v. Robles.  Marriage is not simply a mechanism with which to provide people with benefits.  By creating same-sex 'marriages,' the state is endorsing the notion that procreation is completely disconnected from marriage and that a nontraditional family structure serves a child as well as a traditional one.  We firmly believe that this is terribly misguided."

The Conference statement called on the state Senate "in the strongest terms to reject this radical social experiment and continue to recognize marriage for what it has always been and always will be - the union of one man and one woman."

Catholics can and should express their opposition to this legislation through the NYSCC.  By logging on to its Web site, www.nyscatholic.org and clicking on Take Action Now, they will find a convenient and effective way of reaching our public officials in Albany with their message of opposition.


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