Skip to main content

Archbishop O'Malley on Same-Sex Marriage Proposals

"Legislators Must Protect the Unique Benefit to Society" of the Marital Bond

BOSTON, Massachusetts, MARCH 12, 2004 (Zenit) - Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston issued this statement today regarding proposals before Thursday's joint session of the Massachusetts legislature. The proposals would link the reaffirmation of marriage as the union between one man and one woman with a mandate to create same-sex civil unions equal to marriage.

* * *

As the legislature prepares to re-convene the constitutional convention tomorrow, I renew my call to the Catholic faithful to pray and to work together on behalf of the proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We must do so with courage and with charity.

Our stand for the defense of marriage is motivated by a deep conviction concerning the common good of all citizens. We uphold marriage as a unique bond between a wife and a husband, a bond which is the bedrock and foundation of our families and society. Marriage is given special protections and benefits in law because it is the institution which best provides for the procreation and the raising of children. Our legislators must protect the unique benefit to society that the marital bond creates and the good that this bond produces for children.

We support the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment as it has been presented, without the introduction of civil unions language. The amendment seeks to protect a social institution that is essential to our society. A debate about social benefits given to other individuals in our law is a separate issue.

We are concerned with proposals to give same-sex couples identical benefits and protections to those given to husbands and wives that pose a grave threat to religious liberty and the freedom of conscience. Whether the name used is same-sex marriage or civil unions, an equal treatment requirement in the constitution may be used to coerce private and public entities to adopt practices that would violate their values and understanding of the family and social justice.

Adding language to create a constitutional exemption based on conscience will not solve the problem. The threat to the common good will remain.

The amendment reaffirming marriage as the union between one man and one woman must be approved on its own merits. Joining this amendment to the issue of civil unions deprives the people an opportunity to express their views on marriage. Citizens have that right. Linking the two coerces people in a way that is unfair. Voting on them separately respects the will of the public.


Archdiocese of Boston  MA, US
Archbishop Sean O'Malley - Archbishop of Boston, 617 782-2544



Marriage, Homosexual, Gay, Catholic, Life, Family, Same Sex

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 4:1-11
This made Jonah very indignant; he fell into a rage. He prayed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
take pity on me, Lord, for to you I cry all the day. Fill your ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:1-4
Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 7 Saint of the Day

St. Artaldus
October 7: Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of ... Read More