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Catholics Support Marriage Rights and Responsibilities for Same-Gender Couples during the Meeting of the U.S. Bishops

Today, as the U.S. bishops begin their meeting in Baltimore, we express our dismay regarding the bishops' use of significant resources - including $200,000 toward Proposition 8 in California - to block same-gender couples from access to the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. We are opposed to ballot initiatives against same-gender marriage because this takes the dangerous path of putting the fundamental civil rights of a class of U.S. citizens up for a vote. As faithful Catholics, we support the broadening of the definition of civil marriage to be inclusive of same-gender couples.

We believe strongly that efforts to "protect marriage" must focus on expanding legislation and programs that protect all families and aid them in the areas where they most need it - education, child care, healthcare, and employment. To ignore the real challenges faced by all families, and to demonize families headed by same-gender couples, is offensive to all who follow the Catholic social justice tradition. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people want and will continue to form families - with and without children. To grant equal rights and responsibilities provided by civil marriage to these individuals will only serve to strengthen the very family and social ties that our bishops say they so passionately want to protect. To do less contradicts the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

We ask the bishops as they meet this week in Baltimore to address the issues that actually contribute to the breakdown in the family. We state our unequivocal support for marriage, which includes expanding the definition of civil marriage rights to be inclusive of same-gender couples. Supporting marriage equality is the right and just thing to do. It is the Catholic thing to do.

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church
Call To Action
Catholics For Choice
CORPUS, Linda Pinto
National Coalition of American Nuns
Southeastern Pennsylvania Women's Ordination Conference
New Ways Ministry
Pax Christi Maine
Women's Ordination Conference
WomenChurch Convergence

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