Supreme Court Strikes Down Marriage Laws in States Across the Nation

In a narrow 5 to 4 decision the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down marriage laws in states across the nation that declared marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The Court ruled that laws banning same sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment of the federal Constitution.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, said: “The decision issued today by the Supreme Court to effectively change the legal definition of marriage in the United States does not alter the unassailable truth that marriage is, and always will be, the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman.”
The Most Reverend John R. Gaydos, Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, echoed the words of Archbishop Carlson and vowed: “We will continue to uphold the truth in our Catholic teaching.” The Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, warned that “[b]y redefining marriage, the Supreme Court has ensured that there will be church-state conflict for generations to come.”

The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky,  also issued a statement declaring that the court’s ruling was a “tragic error that harms the common good and the most vulnerable among us.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, along with Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

In his dissent Chief Justice Roberts said that “[f]ive lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.” The Chief Justice goes on to declare that “[t]he majority’s decision is an act of will, not of legal judgment.”

To read the majority decision and all the dissents, click Obergefell v Hodges.

Look for more commentary as well as reactions from Catholic Bishops and leaders in upcoming Updates and on MCC social media platforms.

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