During the first day of their summer assembly, the U.S. bishops focused on issues of religious liberty, same-sex marriage, and participation in the U.S. political sphere.
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Sulpician Fr. Gladstone H. "Bud" Stevens will become president and rector of St. Patrick's Seminary and University in June.
Four states have legalized same-sex marriage since the overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. More are poised to join them.
Virginia Catholic bishops said they are disappointed that Attorney General Mark Herring will not defend Virginia's constitutional amendment defining marriage as "the union of one man and one woman" in upcoming lawsuits at federal district courts.
The Virginia Catholic Conference, the bishops' public policy arm, has encouraged constituents to call Herring's office.
The U.S. House should pass a bipartisan bill that would require the federal government to respect state marriage laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, a U.S. archbishop said Friday.
Titled the State Marriage Defense Act, the bill "is a necessary piece of legislation that will prevent the federal government from unjustly disregarding, in certain instances, state marriage laws concerning the definition of marriage," said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
A federal judge Friday struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, arguing it violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.
A day earlier the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that barring same-sex couples from marrying violates the equal protection clause of that state's constitution.
The mid-November passage of same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois had supporters celebrating equality, while one of the state's Catholic prelates warned of devilish intervention.
The Supreme Court's ruling that rendered the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and the Senate's passage Nov. 7 of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act put the legal defense of marriage "at a critical point in this country," said the archbishop who heads the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
The Supreme Court's DOMA decision is now being used to judicially challenge marriage laws in more than a dozen states that still recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.