Skip to main content


Same-Sex Marriage Proposal for San Francisco ~ Statement by Archbishop William J. Levada

2/18/2004 - 12:00 AM PST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY
Catholic PRWire

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Maurice Healy 415-614-5636

STATEMENT BY SAN FRANCISCO ARCHBISHOP WILLIAM J. LEVADA

The action taken by Mayor Gavin Newsom regarding same-sex marriages in San Francisco is counter to long-established California law, which was reaffirmed overwhelmingly by California voters just four years ago. In addition, his action is counter to the will of the majority of citizens at the state and national levels as evidenced by the fact that 38 states and the federal government have approved laws or amendments barring the recognition of same-sex marriages.

In the current national discussion of same-sex marriage, some voices define marriage only in terms of "personal choice," as if marriage were merely a design of two persons - with nothing to do with family or society. Marriage is a relationship defined by nature, a reality which takes its origin in creation itself. Society does not create marriages, even though it sets parameters protecting it - such as the ban on polygamy and an age requirement to protect a mature decision to enter marriage.

Society grants benefits to marriage for the purpose of fostering families, which in turn nurtures the future. Benefits are not primarily given to individuals who are married, but rather they are provided to establish a nurturing environment for children. Any discussion about same-sex marriage that misses this point becomes mired in confusion, for it is impossible to justify special benefits to married couples if these benefits are seen first as benefits to the spouses themselves. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the bedrock of the family, and the family unit lies at the heart of every society. To extend the meaning of marriage beyond a union of a man and a woman, their procreative capacity, and their establishment of family represents a misguided understanding of marriage itself.

It is not discriminatory to limit "marriage" to heterosexual couples, as same-sex couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. Other remedies can be found to protect the valid rights of persons in non-marital unions, for example civil rights given to individuals such as bereavement leave and inheritance rights, as well as benefits and protection for any children involved. Changing the definition of marriage to achieve benefit goals is ill-advised and harmful to society.

Some may call this age-old stance discrimination against gay and lesbian persons. Such an interpretation is false, and offensive to people whose goodwill is clear. The Catholic Church has often spoken of the respect, compassion and sensitivity demanded in our interactions with and attitudes toward homosexual people. Withholding support for same-sex marriage should never be equated with hostility toward homosexual people.

While the Catholic Church affirms that God created marriage as a union of a man and a woman, giving them a co-responsibility to establish a family by bringing children into the world, this tenet is not solely a Catholic one. Rather, it is the result of natural reason mirrored in every culture throughout humankind's history.

We need God's wisdom as part of the current conversation on this subject. We need local, state and national debate conducted with respect, knowledge and understanding. Rushing to grant same-sex partners the right to "marriage" for the sake of status or benefits could not help but undermine human society's foundational institutions of marriage and family.

Here in San Francisco, the recent election of Mayor Newsom brought with it an expectation that he would invite the participation of the entire community in seeking solutions to issues such as the homeless crisis, affordable housing, budget difficulties and other important matters.

For many of us, Mayor Newsom's abrupt action on the issue of same-sex marriage - about which our society is so divided -- raises concern and causes disappointment. We hope the mayor's action on behalf of one segment of the community does not signal an abandonment of his commitment to respect the views of all groups in the community - and to use his leadership to draw our city together to address the pressing issues identified in the mayoral campaign .

Contact

Archdiocese of San Francisco
http://www.sfarchdiocese.org/  CA,  US
William Levada - Archbishop, 415 614-5500

Keywords

marriage, gay, same-sex

Category

OTHER

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

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, Hebrews 5:7-9
During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20
turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a rock-fastness, a ... Read More

Gospel, John 19:25-27
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's ... Read More

Saint of the Day

September 15 Saint of the Day

St. Valerian
September 15: The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. ... Read More