United States Vice President Joe Biden officiated Monday the same-sex marriage of two White House employees at his official residence in Washington, D.C. In a tweet on his official account, Biden posted a picture of himself performing the wedding between Brian Mosteller and Joseph Mahshie. Mosteller is a special assistant to President Barack Obama and director of Oval Office operations, and has been referred to as “anticipator in chief” by the Washington Post. Mahshie, on the other hand, is a trip coordinator for first lady Michelle Obama. BuzzFeed News reported that the wedding took place Monday at 4 p.m. This was the vice president’s first time performing a wedding and he obtained a temporary certification from the District of Columbia for the ceremony, according to his office. The ceremony was attended by family members of the couple.
Biden, of course, is Catholic—and the Church has been clear in its oppositionto homosexual unions:
Those who would move from tolerance to the legitimization of specific rights for cohabiting homosexual persons need to be reminded that the approval or legalization of evil is something far different from the toleration of evil…
…In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favor of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications.
When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.
When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.
Last year, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions, the USCCB issued a statement:
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children.