“The government cannot redefine marriage, regardless of what some court or some law says. With peaceful and joyful hearts we affirm that it is time to fight, not to despair. This has only just begun.”
Archbishop Coakley said the decision will have devastating consequences, especially for children today and for generations to come.
"No matter the court’s ruling, it cannot change what marriage really is," he said. "Marriage by its nature remains the union of one man and one woman. Marriage is a natural institution that predates and precedes governments and government regulation." The archbishop said that marriage is about "far more than love shared between adults. Society needs an institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, and marriage is the only institution that by its nature is able to accomplish this. Children have a basic right, wherever possible, to know and be loved by their mother and father together in a stable union."
He vowed that the Church will "steadfastly defend this right, and continue to affirm the sanctity of marriage as established by God, written into human nature, and recognized as such for millennia."
One organization identifying itself as Catholic, however, celebrated the decision. "For most Catholics, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, today’s Supreme Court decision affirms a basic promise society grants its citizens: equal rights under the law," said Call to Action, in a press release.
“For far too long committed LGBT partners and families have endured discrimination and marginalization. This has come from many places – but none more forceful than from some members within the Catholic hierarchy. This decision, however, reverberates God’s love of everyone and celebrates the dignity and holiness of all loving families,” said
Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action’s Executive Director.
The press release issued a call to "the Catholic hierarchy to reexamine and change Church teaching with regards to the LGBT community."
“The sacredness of all loving couples, together with their welcome and inclusion in all facets of faith communities, is a reality that must now be given pastoral priority” says Jim FitzGerald. “We cannot act as if the Spirit hasn’t moved us to be more loving and just.”
But Judie Brown, a Catholic who founded the American Life League, said the Obergefelldecision "strikes at the heart of our nation just as Roe v. Wade did decades ago."
"Now, by judicial fiat, we are called to honor the fictional union of two people of the same sex," she said. "A nation that has lost its values has lost its soul. Our nation has become like a dead body floating downstream, to what destination only the devil knows."
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called the decision "a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman."
"As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, ‘The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment,’" Mohler said.
"The majority’s argument, expressed by Justice Kennedy, is that the right of same-sex couples to marry is based in individual autonomy as related to sexuality, in marriage as a fundamental right, in marriage as a privileged context for raising children, and in upholding marriage as central to civilization," Mohler said. "But at every one of these points, the majority had to reinvent marriage in order to make its case. The Court has not merely ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry – it has fundamentally redefined marriage itself."
Noting that the precedents and arguments set forth in the decision cannot be limited to the right of same-sex couples to marry, Mohler said, "If individual autonomy and equal protection mean that same-sex couples cannot be denied what is now defined as a fundamental right of marriage, then others will arrive to make the same argument. This Court will find itself in a trap of its own making, and one that will bring great harm to this nation and its families."
Said Archbishop Chaput, "The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision."
Long-term, said the National Organization for Marriage’s Brown, Hodges can and must be overturned, either by enacting a marriage amendment to the US Constitution or by a recomposition of the Supreme Court.
"There may be two or three appointments [to the court] in the next term," he said.
"We’re going to be in the same position as the life movement working to overturn [Roe v. Wade], and it may take decades," Brown added.