According to the Catholic News Agency/EWTN News, the march was led by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. It took place on the National Mall and in front of the Supreme Court where justices were hearing oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases.
“Marriage matters because family matters to our society and because marriage matters for families,” the Archbishop told CNA. “Society needs an institution that connects mothers and fathers to their children.”
Pointing to studies showing the difficulties children face who are raised in single-parent homes, he added: “We’ve known for 20 years or more now the problem of fatherlessness – children who grow up without a father. The solution isn’t to give them two fathers and no mother.”
Even though children can grow up happy and be successful in alternative living arrangements, “if a child grows up without a father or a mother, it’s always a deprivation,” he added.
As for same-sex marriage being a matter of "civil rights", Eric Teetsel, executive director of the pro-marriage Manhattan Declaration, dismissed the notion.
"I’m all for rights and the equal dignity of every human being,” he said. “The fact is that we can give rights for a variety of non-marital relationships, but none of those relationships are marriage.”
Marriage, he stressed, is “not arbitrary: it’s the first institution of society.”
Rev. Gene Rivers, pastor of Azusa Christian Community, also disputed the notion that same-sex marriage is a "civil rights" issue. Marriage is not a civil rights issue, he said, but is an institution focused on the well-being of the next generation.
“We are out here today to tell the Supreme Court that we must defend the definition of marriage as between one and one woman to ensure the development of children,” he emphasized. “To deprive a child of a mother and a father destabilizes the community, particularly the Black community.”
Cathy Ruse, Esq., Family Research Council (FRC) Senior Fellow for Legal Studies echoed his concerns when she addressed the crowd.
"I am a lawyer and I work in public policy, but today I speak to you as a mom. Let me ask you: Can you imagine what your life would have been like without your mom? It's almost impossible to imagine. What if someone could turn back the clock, and without asking your permission, take away your mother. How unjust that would be. How cruel. What a violation of your rights."
But if marriage is redefined by the Court, it will mean mothers and fathers don't really matter anymore, she said. Is this how the children feel?
"The same-sex marriage debate is always framed in terms of the 'rights' of the adults, and never of the children. The children have no voice in this debate. They don't even seem to count."
She added: "Today the Justice Department is arguing before the Court that same-sex couples 'divide childcare ... evenly' and are 'satisfied' with their childcare arrangements. Well what about the children, are they satisfied?"
As a mother, she finds the administration's indifference to the importance of mothers "offensive" and says this stance is an injustice to children everywhere.
"All people are capable of loving children, but all the love in the world can't turn a mother into a father or a father into a mother."
She concluded: "If the Supreme Court re-defines marriage, it will commit a permanent and virtually irreversible injustice against the children, who have no voice in the matter, but who matter the most."
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