As the Supreme Court will rule on same-sex marriage before the month’s end, over 50,000 Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Jewish leaders have united to stand up for marriage as between one man and one woman. “There are clear, distinctive doctrines and differences between us,” observed the pledge’s co-author, Deacon Keith Fournier of the Diocese of Richmond. “But we all stand together on the truth about marriage as between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life, informative of family.” The pledge champions marriage between a man and a woman and asks the Supreme Court not to redefine marriage. It was crafted in advance of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court is deciding whether the constitution allows states to prohibit same-sex marriage, and whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. “Will it have an effect on the Court? I don’t know,” Deacon Fournier reflected. “But along with it, we’re all praying our hearts out and people are fasting and asking that the Lord would in fact move in the hearts of these justices to see the implications of what they’re doing. Which would be to basically unravel the social order.” If the Court recognizes a right to marriage for same-sex couples, signers of the pledge say they will not agree with the decision. “Make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross,” the pledge concludes. The pledge has a “natural law analysis” that has largely been absent in Christian communities, Deacon Fournier pointed out, but signers of all backgrounds approved of it. Marriage between a man and a woman, he said, “is not just our religious position, but it is written on the human heart, it is revealed in the natural moral law which is accessible by reason.” He reflected on the significance of having both Catholic and Protestant signatories, saying that “We who are Catholics have a beautiful, developed understanding of the Christian family as the domestic church. And we have much to contribute. Our Evangelical Protestant friends have a dynamic dimension to their faith, and they contribute that … what holds us together is the highest common denominator, Jesus Christ. He’s the highest common denominator.” “We affirm that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of Creation,” the pledge states. “Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family.” For the Court to decide that same-sex unions are marriages would send a confusing message about what marriage is, the pledge continued. “As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children.” If the court decides in favor of same-sex marriage, what follows could be a coercive effort to ensure persons and organizations recognize it, Deacon Fournier said. “It will be coercive, because the police power of the state always follows actions such as what the Supreme Court will do. And we will have to stand with other Christians.” The pledge notes that the state may, and “has long regulated marriage for the true common good. Examples, such as the age of consent, demonstrate such a proper regulation to ensure the free and voluntary basis of the marriage bond.” “Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage.”
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