N.J. bishops repeat their opposition to same-sex marriage


TRENTON — The Catholic bishops of New Jersey have come out against Senate Bill S-1 which will approve same sex marriages in the state.

The measure was the only one under consideration on Jan. 24 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a prepared statement the bishops called marriage “a union of a man and a woman” which has “existed long before any nation, religion, or law was established. Marriage which unites mothers and fathers in the work of child rearing is the foundation of the family and the family is the basic unit of society.”

The bishops called for citizens to “protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” an ancient concept that is being challenged by the state Legislature which is attempting “to pass a law that would change the very definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”

The state is trying to create a new institution that is not marriage and “should not be treated as marriage.”

In their statement the bishops are asking “people of good will” to pray for all couples and all families, to reflect on the question, “How can I help my family and the families I touch to grow in hope, love, peace and joy,” and to reach out to neighbors, legislators, and the governor “with a simple message: ‘Preserve the definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.’”

The bishops also noted that marriage brings a man and a woman together regardless of whether or not they can conceive children. “A man and a woman united in marriage reinforce the importance of this ideal.”

However, if same-sex marriages are looked upon as “equal” to marriages of men and women, “the government will be teaching not only that mothers and fathers are no longer necessary for children, but also that uniting the sexes is no longer an important ideal,” according to the bishops.

And is same-sex marriage a civil right? “No,” said the bishops.

“A strong desire does not make a civil right,” they said in their statement. “Every man and every woman has a right to enter into marriage, but marriage as an institution can only be between a man and a woman. Governments do not have the power to define marriage otherwise, because it is a permanent human institution that does not owe its existence to governments.”