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May 15, 2002


Earlier today, the Federal Marriage Amendment was introduced in the United States House of Representatives with extraordinary bi-partisan sponsorship. I commend the men and women of the United States Congress who have united across party lines to support the fundamental principle that marriage is uniquely the union of male and female.

At a time when the strong public consensus regarding the nature of marriage is facing an expanding array of legal challenges, the sponsors of the Federal Marriage Amendment are giving voice to the deeply held convictions of a vast majority of the American people. And by their united action today, these leaders are declaring that the future of marriage and the family in America is far more important than any matter of partisan politics.

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that marriage is a holy union of one man and one woman established by God. However, marriage is not an exclusively religious institution. Society, through our laws and customs, rightfully supports marriage as the commonly accepted natural state of a man and woman who want to commit themselves to each other in a communion of love and fidelity. Love and fidelity are indispensable virtues in any human relationship. Marriage, however, is defined as the exclusive relationship of one man and one woman. This definition is non-negotiable and irrevocable.

The proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, stating that "marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman," will give strong legal support to the institutions of marriage and the family, both of which are the foundations of our society and our culture.

Today, the institution of marriage is being questioned and even threatened by those who want to redefine it. It is unfortunate that even legislative bodies in some countries, including our own, are attempting to equate other styles of unions of persons with the traditional definition of marriage and the family. The Pontifical Council for the Family, in fact, has reminded legislators, especially those who are Catholic, that they "should not favor this type of legislation . . . because it is contrary to the common good and the truth about man and thus truly unjust."

I also commend the men and women of every color and creed who have committed themselves to promoting the sacred dignity and value of marriage through this amendment. It is primarily their leadership that must provide the wisdom and energy to establish marriage as a constitutionally protected institution of our society and nation.


Catherine L. Rossi
Director of Communications

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