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The Debate about "Same-Sex Marriage"

Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate either from the church or the state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.

Marriage, whose nature and purposes were established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children.

The union of husband and wife becomes, over a lifetime, a great good for themselves, their family, communities, and society. Marriage is a gift to be treasured and protected.

Official Church Statements About Marriage and Same-Sex Unions:

  1. From the full U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (November 2003): Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions
  2. From the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (September 2003): Promote, Preserve, Protect Marriage
  3. From the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family and the Committee on Domestic Policy (July 1996): Statement on Same-Sex Marriage
  4. From the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (July 2003): Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons
  5. From the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family (July 2000): Family, Marriage and "De Facto" Unions

Additional Resources and Links:

  1. The Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts are leading a campaign in favor of an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Various statements and background documents are available through the Massachusetts Catholic Conference.
  2. The Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America (Washington DC) monitors the progress of state and federal legislation regarding marriage and same-sex unions. It provides updates and other resources.
  3. The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), working with the Canadian Catholic Bishops, has published a very helpful question/answer leaflet about same-sex marriage entitled Marriage Matters.
Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women & Youth
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000

May 25, 2004 Copyright by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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