Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Local Catholic Reaction To Supreme Court DOMA Decision

Published July 4, 2013

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

Today’s unfortunate decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act is extremely disappointing. The Catholic Church promotes and defends marriage by teaching about marriage’s authentic meaning as a lifelong, exclusive, and fruitful communion of one man and one woman. Today’s decision is part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.

For the time being, the U.S. Supreme Court left standing Georgia’s constitutional amendment protecting marriage as a union between one man and one woman, so there will be no change here.

Catholic teaching protects the dignity of every human person, all deserving love and respect, including those who experience same-sex attraction. This is a reality that calls for compassion, sensitivity, and pastoral care.  But no one—especially a child, is served by marriage redefinition.

I ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified. The Catholic Church will continue to stand for the truth of marriage and the good of children.

Savannah Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.

I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision today that redefines marriage as something other than a vowed relationship between a man and a woman. The tradition of the Church continues to maintain that marriage is the sacred union between a man and a woman whose love for one another is open to the blessing of children. A marriage between a man and a woman and the blessing of children strengthens our society through family life.

The Church maintains that man and woman were made for each other—that God created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal persons and complementary as masculine and feminine.

In marriage God unites a man and a woman in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”, they can transmit human life. “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work.

I regret that the Supreme Court has failed to recognize their responsibility to uphold significant truths that strengthen and promote the moral fiber of our society.

Frank J. Mulcahy, executive director of the Georgia Catholic Conference

We will not know for some time all the legal and political implications of the Supreme Court’s two recent decisions related to same sex marriage. The decisions do not directly affect Georgia law since, like 28 other states, we have a provision of the State constitution which prohibits entering a marriage except between one man and one woman and since the State is prohibited from giving legal recognition to same sex marriages performed in another state. It is unclear how same sex partners will be treated in Georgia for the purpose of federal law, benefits and obligations, however, since the federal government must now treat equally all persons who have been legally married, whether the parties are of the opposite sex or the same sex.