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Bishops Ask Faithful to Stop the (Dis)Respect for Marriage Act

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling upon the faithful to take action to prevent the passage of the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening to bring to a vote in the near future. Even though the vote must meet the 60 vote threshold, several Republicans have already promised to vote for the bill.

On July 19, 47 Republicans joined Democrats in the U.S. House of Representative in passing the Respect for Marriage Act which is being promoted as a bill that will codify same-sex marriage into law. The bill was introduced after the passage of Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade. Even though the Supreme Court explicitly stated that the Dobbs decision had no bearing on the same-sex marriage decision made in 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges, liberal lawmakers are insisting that same-sex marriage must be protected in the event that the decision is revisited, and possibly overturned, by the Court in coming years.

The problem is that the Respect for Marriage Act does a lot more than just codify same-sex marriage.

“The ‘Respect for Marriage Act,’ would do the opposite of what its name implies, codifying a demand for states and the federal government to honor whatever may be deemed ‘marriage’ by any other state,” the bishops wrote in this July 19 letter to Congress. “In the case of the latter, in section 4 of the bill, there is a question whether it would even be limited to two persons. We therefore must ask you to vote no on this measure as well.”

As the bishops explain, the Church condemns any form of discrimination against people with same-sex attraction, but it’s not discriminatory to maintain that an inherent aspect of the definition of marriage itself is the complementarity between the two sexes.

“Marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman, and open to new life, is not just a religious ideal – it is, on the whole, what is best for society in a concrete sense, especially for children. The health and socioeconomic benefits of stable family life with a mother and a father are well-established, as are the positive outcomes for children raised in such a home.”

The Church believes all children have the right to be raised, where possible, by his her or her married mother and father in a stable home. “Same-sex civil marriage has further diminished the fulfillment of that right, both directly and indirectly…In addition, since marriage redefinition, governments continue to threaten the conscience and religious freedom of individuals such as wedding vendors, and entities such as foster care providers, who seek to serve their communities without being punished for their long-standing and well-founded beliefs.”

Unfortunately, their plea fell on deaf ears and 47 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to vote “yes” on the bill. This set up a Senate vote where many believed the bill would be unable to meet the 60 vote threshold; however, several Republican Senators have already said they will vote for the bill.

“To no one’s surprise, liberal Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) are on board, as well as outgoing Senator Rob Portman (Ohio),” writes Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “But the real bombshells started dropping the following day, when more conservatives seemed to be testing the waters on a radical issue that seven years ago they vehemently opposed. Names like Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) started popping up in news stories as possible ‘yes’es. Then Ron Johnson (Wisc.) announced his support for the bill.”

Perkins is encouraging Republicans not to abandon their principles. “Maybe these senators think that linking arms with the Left makes them seem more compassionate or contemporary. But real leaders don’t vote out of fear or political calculus. They don’t take their cues from the courts or public opinion. They do what’s right, no matter what it costs them. That’s what voters respect. And that’s what voters, who have stood by this party’s values, deserve.”

The bishops are asking the faithful to “tell your U.S. senators to vote ‘No’. on the poorly-named Respect for Marriage Act.

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