Marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. It is a permanent, faithful, and fruitful partnership between members of the opposite sex, established by their free mutual consent. It has two purposes: the good of the spouses, known as the unitive purpose, as well as the procreation and education of children. It is the only institution that entirely unites a man and a woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Couples in cohabitating relationships or in same-sex relationships may experience certain benefits, but they cannot experience the fullness and completeness of what marriage offers. Yet it is also important to recognize that marriage is a natural institution that predates government. Every human society has acknowledged that the sexual union of man and woman is important, especially since it creates the next generation. The future of society depends on healthy marriages.
As of June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that states must recognize same-sex unions as if they were marriages. This is a tragic decision that denies the truth of the human person and usurps the authority of the people and the states to define the law regarding marriage.
THE CATHOLIC PERSPECTIVE
Marriage is an original gift from God to humanity. Although sin entered the world damaging the marital relationship, this gift was not lost, but redeemed by Christ and raised to a sacrament. Sacred Scripture proclaims that God created humanity in “His image” as “male and female” (Gen. 1:27). So unique is this relationship that the marital union makes of the husband and wife “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Procreation, Scripture teaches, is a gift from God. When spouses conceive new life, they participate in God's creative power.
While Christ elevates Christian marriage to a sacrament, the complementarity of the sexes and the natural meaning of marriage can be known through reason without appealing to Scripture. Sexual difference, male and female, is a biological reality. It is also essential for marriage and children. Our bodies, as male and female, have complementary significance, and this is the basis by which marriage is unable to be redefined.
In his official statement with regards to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on “same-sex” marriage, Archbishop Kurtz explains:
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the ‘integral ecology’ that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home… I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Understand the Catholic view of marriage
The Catholic understanding of marriage is not about oppressing men and women or about restricting freedom. Instead, it is based on what is best for the human person. Marriage, although challenging, enables men and women to flourish, and lead happy and stable lives.
Overview from the USCCB – Catholic teaching on marriage
USCCB Marriage Initiative – Marriage: Unique for a Reason
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Marriage
Main themes on the Church’s position against the redefinition of marriage
Theological foundations – "Family, Marriage and De Facto Unions"
Witness to others
Men and women who are married couples are called to be witnesses to others. They are to demonstrate the realities, but also the beauty and satisfaction of being in the permanent, faithful, and fruitful partnership that is only available through marriage. This can be accomplished by mentoring couples preparing for marriage at parishes, teaching marriage preparation classes, and by simply serving as examples to family, friends, and community members. Contact the Family Life + Respect Life Office for more information on how to get involved.
Engage in political activism
There are several initiatives from the National Organization for Marriage
The defense of marriage must always be rooted in prayer. Here is a beautiful prayer for marriage from the USCCB.
God our Father,
we give you thanks for the gift of marriage:
the bond of life and love, and the font of the family.
The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,
fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church.
The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the request of the Blessed Mother.
May your Son, through the intercession of Mary,
pour out upon us a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.
May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers in the lives of their children.
Father, we ask that our prayers be joined to those of the Virgin Mary,
that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.