WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration's decision to no longer support the federal Defense of Marriage Act is an "alarming and grave injustice," said New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Our nation and government have the duty to recognize and protect marriage, not tamper with and redefine it, nor to caricature the deeply held beliefs of so many citizens as 'discrimination,'" he said in a March 3 statement.
The archbishop's comments were in response to a Feb. 23 announcement that President Barack Obama had instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the federal law passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.
The Defense of Marriage Act says the federal government defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and that no state must recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.
A day after Archbishop Dolan's statement, other Catholic bishops joined Protestant and Sikh religious leaders in urging the U.S. House of Representatives to fight for the federal marriage law.