Why Does Government Support Marriage?

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, February 7, 2012, that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage in California to one man and one woman, violated the equal protection rights of gays and lesbians. Now, a forthcoming appeal could pave the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.  The following was written by Archbishop Jose’ H. Gomez to bring some clarity to this issue.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Decision on Proposition 8

FEBRUARY 7, 2012

 

The court’s decision reflects a basic confusion about what marriage is and what marriage is for, and about why the government has an interest in promoting and strengthening marriage.

Marriage, in every culture and every age, has been recognized as the lifelong union of a man and woman for their own well-being and for the creation and nurturing of children.

Our government has a vital interest in promoting marriage for two reasons. First, because marriage is the foundation of society. Second, because government has a duty to promote the well-being of children, who have the right to be born and raised in a family with both their mother and their father.

This debate over marriage is not about equality or about the needs of individuals. It is much bigger than that. It is about the nature of the human person and the nature of society.

The government has no competence and no authority to “redefine” marriage or “expand” its definition to include other kinds of relationships. To do that is to say that marriage no longer exists. And this would have grave consequences for children and for the common good of our society.

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