US Supreme Court: DOMA unconstitutional, Prop 8 appeal dismissed

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings Wednesday morning regarding same-sex marriage, first finding that the Defense of Marriage Act’s marriage definition is unconstitutional and later dismissing the appeal ruling regarding California’s Proposition 8 for lack of standing.

While the decisions represented for same-sex marriage supporters a reason for “prayers of thanksgiving,” U.S. Catholic bishops described it as “a tragic day for marriage and our nation.”

The bishops had made upholding traditional marriage a focal point of their second Fortnight for Freedom, which began Friday and continues through July 4. In the last eight months, six states have adopted legislation permitting same-sex marriages, bringing the total numbers of states that allow it to 12. Same-sex marriage is also permitted in Washington, D.C.

“The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These [Supreme Court] decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance,” they said.

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic gay ministry organizations, saw the day as reason to “celebrate and offer ​prayers of thanksgiving.”

“And tomorrow we invite our fellow Catholics to join us in working to bring marriage equality to the states in which it has not yet been written into law,” the coalition said in a press release, also noting that Kennedy, who wrote the DOMA opinion, is Catholic, as is Sotomayor, who supported the decision.

In a separate statement, New Ways Ministry executive director Francis DeBernardo quoted the prophet Amos, describing the decisions as feeling “like justice rolling down the river.”

“Our Catholic social justice tradition motivates us to work for strong families and expansive social protections, and these can only be achieved when all families are treated fairly and equally under the law,” he said.

National Catholic Register, June 26, 2013

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