Skip to comments.Iowa bishops' statement on marriage decision
Posted on 04/07/2009 5:02:54 AM PDT by iowamark
We, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Iowa, strongly disagree with the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court which strikes down Iowas law defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. This decision rejects the wisdom of thousands of years of human history. It implements a novel understanding of marriage, which will grievously harm families and children.
This unwarranted social engineering attacks the good that marriage offers to society, especially the good of children, and weakens the critical relationship between marriage and parenting. We will resolutely continue to protect and promote marriage as a union between a man and a woman because of its unique and historical contribution to the common good.
We uphold the right of all people to be treated with respect and live in peace. This right, like the right to enter into a permanent, monogamous marriage of one man and one woman, derives directly from the intrinsic dignity of the human person. These are rights which the state has the duty to recognize and protect. They are not something that the state creates or may redefine. The citizens of every state who have been given the opportunity have voted to preserve civil marriage as it has been recognized and defined since the beginning of recorded history.
Therefore, we exhort Catholics and other citizens of Iowa to recognize the clear need for a constitutional amendment on marriage. We affirm that supporting the ideal of marriage as the stable union of one man and one woman is necessary to defend marriage, families, children, and the common good.
Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, OSB, Archbishop of Dubuque Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City Most Rev. Martin Amos, Bishop of Davenport Most Rev. Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines
April 3, 2009
For a fuller explanation of our position, click on "Statements" and "Marriage Amendment 2009" at left.
Iowa Conference of Catholic Bishops
Statement on an Iowa Constitutional Amendment regarding Marriage
Updated April 2009
Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.
Marriage, whose nature and purposes are established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law. In a manner unlike any other relationship, marriage makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good of society, especially through the procreation and education of children.”
The union of husband and wife becomes, over a lifetime, a great good for themselves, their family, communities, and society. Marriage is a gift to be cherished and protected.
(Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers About Marriage and Same-sex Unions, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003)
In August 2007, a Polk County District Court judge struck down Chapter 595.2 of the Iowa Code, which said that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in the
State of Iowa. At the heart of the judges ruling was a finding that marriage is a fundamental right. Consequently, the State of Iowa had the burden of proving that it had
a compelling interest in withholding marriage from members of the same sex.
On April 3, 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Polk County District Court. According to its own summary, the Supreme Court directed that the
remaining statutory language be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage.
Because of this decision, we affirm that it is important to work towards the passage of an amendment to Iowas Constitution which would define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Amending Iowas Constitution requires that two successive General Assemblies pass the legislation, which would then put the amendment to a vote
of the people of Iowa.
We are convinced that the passage of this amendment is important for the following reasons.
First, the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman goes back to the beginning of recorded human history. Marriage between a man and a woman is a
good from the perspectives of both natural law and our Catholic faith. Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, is a creation of the State (or, just of its judiciary) and will
likely open the door to redefining as marriage additional relationships, such as polygamy. A constitutional amendment is the best available legal means to protect the traditional understanding of marriage from a redefinition by the judiciary.
Secondly, we affirm that marriage is a gift from God which is essential to the stability of family and society. Society has chosen to protect and promote marriage because of its unique contribution to the common good. For example, marriage between a man and a woman supports responsible behavior in the care of children. Children who are raised by
a married father and mother have more positive outcomes, including behavioral and educational accomplishments.
Thirdly, unfortunately, in recent decades, cohabitation and divorce laws have already contributed to a weakening of marriage. This has tended to harm women and children in
particular. Usually, children do better physically, emotionally and financially if they are in a stable family relationship of father/mother (husband/wife).
Fourthly, social engineering by judges or legislatures adds to the confusion about the good that marriage offers to society, and weakens the critical relationship between
marriage and parenting.
Therefore, we call on Catholics and other citizens of Iowa to reflect carefully on the real social cost of this judicial imposition, and to support the need for a constitutional amendment. We affirm that this is the best way for Iowans to support the ideal of marriage as the stable union of one man and one woman.
Most Rev. Jerome Hanus, OSB, Archbishop of Dubuque
Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City
Most Rev. Martin Amos, Bishop of Davenport
Most Rev. Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines
And when any of these pro-death would-be murderers show up at the rail for communion?...
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