Cardinal Newman Society Statement Opposing Honors and Platforms for Proponents of Legal Redefinition of Marriage
Contact: Justin Petrisek, The Cardinal Newman Society, 703-367-0333, ext 121
MANASSAS, Va., March 11, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- On March 5, 2015, 379 corporations and business groups submitted an amicus brief in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare "marriage rights" for same-sex persons. Such a ruling would be contrary to constitutional, civil, natural and divine law and conflicts directly with Catholic teaching and the position of the U.S. Catholic bishops.
The Cardinal Newman Society therefore urges Catholic schools, colleges and universities to refrain from all honors—including public recognition, honorary speaking platforms, and honored positions on boards and committees—for board members and senior leaders of these 379 corporations and business groups.
The Cardinal Newman Society promotes and defends faithful Catholic education. For more than two decades, the Newman Society has raised concerns about lecturers, commencement speakers and other honorees at Catholic colleges and universities whose public statements and actions oppose Catholic moral teaching and practice. We will publicly warn Catholic families and their bishops and pastors about any school, college or university that chooses to honor any board member or senior leader of the 379 corporations and business groups that joined in the March 5th brief. Any such honor does harm to the Catholic Church and undermines our bishops, who have clearly explained why Catholics must defend marriage without compromise.
In 2004, the U.S. bishops declared:
"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholics in Political Life, 2004)
Pope Francis has explained clearly that the definition of marriage as uniting one man and one woman is "an anthropological fact… We cannot qualify it based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history." Attempts to redefine marriage violate the rights of children, who "have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's development and emotional maturity," Pope Francis said.
The U.S. bishops have consistently reminded Catholics of their obligation to defend marriage:
"There is to be no separation between one's faith and life in either public or private realms. All Catholics should act on their beliefs with a well-formed conscience based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition. …This is particularly urgent in light of the need to defend marriage and to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions as marriages." (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions, 2003)
"The family is the basic cell of human society. The role, responsibilities, and needs of families should be central national priorities. Marriage must be defined, recognized, and protected as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and as the source of the next generation and the protective haven for children." (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2007)
The 379 corporations and business groups that filed the amicus brief argue that national recognition of same-sex marriage is necessary to avoid the "economic burden" of a "fractured legal landscape" across states. That is a shortsighted and materialistic position that rejects the primacy of the family in American economy and society as well as the principles of American federalism. Whether or not same-sex unions are legally permitted, they are intrinsically immoral and contrary to human nature. Hoping to relieve their own perceived "economic burden," the amici ignore the plight of businesses and religious organizations that operate according to Catholic beliefs; these should be exempted from recognizing same-sex unions in employment and health care decisions. To ignore religious freedom is to disregard a fundamental principle upon which this nation was founded, thereby endangering Catholic education and other religious services and activities.
The 379 corporations and business groups also contend that "more than seventy percent of Americans live in a state that celebrates and recognizes same-sex marriages," apparently hoping to convince the Supreme Court of America's overwhelming support for legalizing same-sex unions. But citizens in only three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington—have voted for laws permitting same-sex marriage. Another 10 states have laws approved by state legislatures. But in 24 states—two-thirds of the states with same-sex marriage—the practice has been imposed by activist courts claiming a right that appears nowhere in the law or in the U.S. Constitution. The fact of court-imposed laws is no basis upon which the Supreme Court or these corporations should deny the nature of marriage and the rights of American citizens to determine state laws.