Different faiths come together to fight for marriage and religious liberty

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, as President of the USCCB, issued a joint letter today with religious leaders of other faith traditions to fight for marriage and religious liberty.

Signatories included leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States. Dolan was one of the four signing Catholic bishops. ‎“Marriage and religious liberty are at a crisis point in the United States,” said Archbishop Dolan.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have often claimed that religious communities try to alleviate concerns over religious liberty by stating that churches and ministers will not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies.

Dolan and the other signatories actually agree on this point, citing the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty. But that’s not the major threat to religious liberty that comes as a consequence of the states redefining marriage in law, they said. From their letter today:

[W]e believe the most urgent peril is this: forcing or pressuring both individuals and religious organizations—throughout their operations, well beyond religious ceremonies—to treat same-sex sexual conduct as the moral equivalent of marital sexual conduct. There is no doubt that the many people and groups whose moral and religious convictions forbid same-sex sexual conduct will resist the compulsion of the law, and church-state conflicts will result.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York

These conflicts bear serious consequences. They will arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of “marriage” does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once. [Emphasis mine.] By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status—such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation—will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries—including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.

So, for example, religious adoption services that place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with persons of the same sex who are civilly “married.” [Emphasis mine.] Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex “married” relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex “spouses.” Religious employers would also face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action—no matter how modest—against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil “marriage” with a member of the same sex. This is not idle speculation, as these sorts of situations have already come to pass.

You can read the rest of the letter at the USCCB website.



  • Terry

    What did then Arch Dolan do in NY for traditional marriage before that state okayed it in June 2011? I heard Dolan relied on Catholics in the state house that it was “nothing to be concerned about.” What?! If this is true or not, the Archbishop forfeited a great opportunity to boldly proclaim and work for the Truth on marriage in NY state! He is human, and in my eyes dropped the ball. Sad.

  • tz1

    What is wrong with this picture:

    1. The State (caesar) has complete authority over marriage – in effect to define the sacrament.
    2. The Church doesn’t like the state’s definition.


    So what?

    If the States have the right to define marriage, they have the right to redefine it.

    If it is only the church that has the authority, then the letter is stupid as they aren’t asserting a usurpation. On what basis do they claim a veto?

  • Patty

    So it’s clear it’s not really about marriage. Dolan doesn’t want to have to treat gay people like other people. He thinks that a person’s sexual orientation is a valid reason for a business to refuse to serve them and a good reason for someone to fire them. He basically wants to be able to continue to discriminate against them. I think it’s a sad day when our church leaders are joining in the angry mob instead of fighting for the victims of this unjust discrimination and animosity.

    • Logike

      Give me a break. You have no basis for saying Dolan “doesn’t want to treat gay people like other people.” Being gay in and of itself is not a reason to hire or fire someone (exept for the priesthood whose temptations often prove to be taxing on them because they have to share an all-male living situation. If I were a priest, I would not want to be in a convent for the same reason).

      My abstinent and faithful Catholic friend is gay, and he would agree with me when I say that if the effects of someone’s orientation interfered with his or her job performance, then there would be perfectly legitimate grounds for firing him or her. Stop making someone’s orientation (a condition) the issue, when the REAL issue is the Gay Lifestyle (a behavior).

    • Dan

      Recommended reading: “What is Marriage”


    • Joe M

      Patty. How was the message not clearly the opposite of what you suggest? It refers to straight marriages vs. same-sex marriages. A gay relationship is not a person.

    • CAR

      If you are Catholic, then you should know what the Catholic Church teaches on Homosexuality. Clearly you do not. The truth is that the Church stands against the homosexual ACTIONS, NOT the person. We say that the actions are intrinsically disordered, meaning the nature of the actions of homosexuality are outside God’s plan for sexuality and therefore sinful. Persons with a homosexual orientation are called to live a life of chastity. This call to chastity is a call to self-mastery – a call to knowing your thought process. What tempts you and how you react in certain situations. Very simply, it is the call to live for God in all areas of our lives. Our role as Christians is to accept and love those persons struggling with their sexuality orientation. The call to love and compassion does not mean that we must approve and condone sinful action. We are called to love our brothers and sisters enough to speak the truth to them. It is possible to stand in the light of the Gospel truth on homosexuality and love someone without accepting their behaviors and lifestyle. Educate yourself and read the Catechism Of The Catholic Church, 1601, 2333, 2337-2349, 2357-2359, Scriptures,Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18, 19:1-9, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-1,1 Timothy 1:9-10, John 8:31-32, Matthew 5:7,9:13, instead of blasting Timothy Dolan and talking ignorant.

  • Patty

    It’s actually not religious liberty. If I as a Catholic, work for a protestant organization, they can fire me now. That’s sad.



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