Religious Leaders Voice Shared Commitment to Protect Marriage

December 7, 2010

WASHINGTON (MetroCatholic) — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have come together to express their commitment toward the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In an open letter released today, entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States affirmed the importance of preserving marriage’s unique meaning.
           
“The broad consensus reflected in this letter—across great religious divides—is clear: The law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and one of the letter’s signers. “People of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”
           
The release of this letter comes the same morning that oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case are set to begin. In August, Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, based in part on the claim that defining marriage as between a man and a woman lacked any rational basis at all, and instead reflected nothing but religion-based hostility to homosexual persons. This ruling has been appealed and its hearing is scheduled for today, December 6.
           
“Today is the moment to stand for marriage and its unchangeable meaning. We hope this letter will encourage just that,” Archbishop Dolan said. “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared
                                                                                                                       
Commitment” is being circulated nationwide. Downloadable PDF versions of the letter can be found at www.usccb.org/defenseofmarriage/shared-commitment. A backgrounder on the statement can be found at http://www.usccb.org/comm/backgrounders/shared-commitment.shtml

Full text of the letter and signers follows:

 

The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment

Dear Friends,

Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.

As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.

Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sincerely yours,

Leith Anderson
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Dr. Thomas E. Armiger
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Dr. Jerry G. Pence
The Board of General Superintendents
The Wesleyan Church

Dr. Gary M. Benedict
President
The Christian and Missionary Alliance

Glenn C. Burris Jr.
President
The Foursquare Church

Bishop H. David Burton
Presiding Bishop
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
International Pentecostal Holiness Church Ministries

Nathan Diament
Director, Institute for Public Affairs
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh

Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner
Executive Pastor
Christian Union

Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Gammon
Conference Minister
Conservative Congregational Conference

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

John Hopler
Director
Great Commission Churches

Dr. Clyde M. Hughes
Bishop
International Pentecostal Church of Christ

Ken Hunn
Executive Director
The Brethren Church

Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches

The Most Blessed Jonah
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church in America

Dr. Richard Land
President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Rev. Frederick J. Moury Jr.
National Conference Chair
Evangelical Congregational Church

Dr. James Murray
Interim Executive Director
General Association of General Baptists

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Manmohan Singh
Secretary General
World Sikh Council – America Region

The Rev. Paull E. Spring
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

Dr. Joseph Tkach
President
Grace Communion International

Rev. Phil Whipple
Bishop
Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA

Dr. George O. Wood
General Superintendent
Assemblies of God

Comments

One Response to “Religious Leaders Voice Shared Commitment to Protect Marriage”

  1. Chuck Anziulewicz on December 8th, 2010 11:02 am

    The Supreme Court of the United States will eventually HAVE to issue a ruling on whether Gay and Straight couples should be treated equally for the purposes of marriage. WHY? Because most of the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage come from the federal government, not the states. Those benefits number 1,138 according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), and they have to do with tax law, Social Security, inheritance, child support, and a vast array of other issues.

    There’s also that pesky “Full Faith & Credit” clause of the Constitution, under which any Straight couple can fly off to Las Vegas for a drunken weekend, get married by an Elvis impersonator, and that marriage is automatically honored in all 50 states … at least until the couple decides to call it quits. Gay couples, however, are held to a different (and hence unconstitutional) legal standard. If a Gay couple gets legally married in Iowa, for example, they automatically become “un-married” once they decide to move south to Missouri.

    The only way marriage can be a “States Rights” issue is for the federal government to get out of the marriage business completely, and do away with the 1,138 benefits it grants to married couples. Tell me how thrilled most married couples would be with THAT.

    And I don’t think the Supreme Court will be able to delay addressing this issue forever. At the federal level there is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), under which Gay couples that are legally married in Iowa or Massachusetts, for example, are unrecognized as such by the federal government.

    Here’s an example: According to a statement I recently received in the mail from the Social Security Administration, my married spouse would be eligible for over $1400 per month (after retirement) in the event of my death. I think anyone would agree that $1400 per month is a pretty hefty chunk of change. However, it is money that my significant other would not be eligible for, because we would not be allowed to get married. I would like to provide for the financial well-being of my spouse, just as I’m sure any heterosexual would, but in essence I’m throwing away money on a fund that my partner cannot take advantage to in the event of my death, even if we were legally married. And this is one of the effects of DOMA.

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