Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court changes none of this. The Court deals with civil law not revealed truth or religious faith.
The Court’s opinion rightly affirms the freedom of religious organizations to continue to express and teach the truth of marriage. Nonetheless, the Court’s ruling has the potential to create circumstances in which the Church’s teaching and practices may be perceived to conflict with civil law. As such situations arise, the local Church will have to undertake a moral evaluation to determine, on a case-by-case basis, the manner in which it will respond to this
• Archbishop Jose Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
"…It is hard to understand how the Court can feel so assured that it has the power to discard and rewrite the definition of marriage that has existed since the beginning of history — as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
This decision reflects a deep confusion about the meaning of marriage, the family and the human person; about individual liberty; and about the role of the courts and legislatures in our democratic system of self-government.
By their nature, court decisions cannot really resolve social questions that are rooted in deeply held values, history, and tradition. So the public conversation and debate about marriage will continue."
* Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archdiocese of Atlanta
“Each U.S. Supreme Court decision that has ever been rendered has resulted in deep disappointment for some people and vindication for others. If we all agreed on the outcomes of these divisive cases, there would simply be no reason for the Court to convene. This most recent decision is no different.
By the same token, every court decision is limited in what it can achieve; again, this one is no exception. It does not change the biological differences between male and female human beings or the requirements for the generation of human life, which still demands the participation of both. It does not change the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony, which beautifully joins a man and woman in a loving union that is permanent in commitment and open to God’s blessing of precious new life.
This judgment, however, does not absolve either those who may approve or disapprove of this decision from the obligations of civility toward one another. Neither is it a license for more venomous language or vile behavior against those whose opinions continue to differ from our own. It is a decision that confers a civil entitlement to some people who could not claim it before. It does not resolve the moral debate that preceded it and will most certainly continue in its wake.
This moral debate must also include the way that we treat one another – especially those with whom we may disagree. In many respects, the moral question is at least as consequential and weighty as the granting of this civil entitlement.
• Bishop Robert McElroy, Archdiocese of San Diego:
"Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that the historic definition of marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman is unconstitutional.
The Catholic Church, along with other faith traditions, teaches that the nature of marriage and the family cannot be redefined by society, as God is the author of marriage and its corresponding gift of co-creating human life. The legal recognition of marriage is not only about personal commitment but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of their children. It is for this reason that it is important for government to give a unique status to marriage between one man and one woman both in law and in public policy.