July 12, 2004
WASHINGTON (July 12, 2004) -— Speaking at a press conference in the
nation's capitol, Msgr. William P. Fay said "the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops gives its full and unequivocal support to
the Federal Marriage Amendment that would amend the United States
Constitution to define marriage as consisting only of the union of a man
and a woman."
"Safeguarding the nature of marriage has always been one of the
Catholic Church's constant concerns," Msgr. Fay said. "The Church
believes and teaches that marriage is created by God. It is a faithful,
exclusive lifelong and loving union of a man and a woman who are the
foundation of the family unit, which itself is the bedrock of society
and culture. Marriage is not an arbitrary social arrangement that can be
altered by either the Church or the State. It is God's will for
humanity and the keystone of every human community."
Msgr. Fay, General Secretary of the USCCB, participated in a July 12
press conference conducted by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the
Alliance for Marriage, a diverse, non-partisan coalition advocating
passage of a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as the union
of a man and a woman. The Senate has begun debate on the Federal
Marriage Amendment and a vote is expected this week.
In his statement, Msgr. Fay said the Bishops of the United States
support the Federal Marriage Amendment "in view of the growing efforts
of a small but vocal minority - to redefine marriage as something that it
"The protection of marriage is essential to the health and well-being of
our nation, and the vast majority of Americans know this," Msgr. Fay
said. "In those states where the electorate was given the opportunity
to safeguard marriage as the union of a man and a woman, they did it
overwhelmingly. More than two-thirds of the state legislatures have
enacted measures to protect marriage, but marriage remains unprotected,"
he continued. "Because Americans want that protection, there is every
reason to believe that the amendment before the Senate today will be
well-received and ranked by them as important as were the amendments
introduced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to protect the
citizenship and voting rights of every man or woman born or naturalized
in the United States."
"Just as we know from natural reason that we cannot ignore or violate,
without grave consequences, the structure and integrity of the physical
world which is our environment, so too we cannot ignore or violate the
natural structure of our human relationships which has marriage as the
center and foundation of our human community," Msgr. Fay stated. "The
failure to protect marriage at this important moment in our history will
have devastating consequences for our society and our nation."
In his statement, Msgr. Fay recalled that Bishop Wilton D. Gregory,
President of the USCCB, wrote to the Senate on July 6 saying "Recent
actions in various state courts have placed the institution of marriage
under serious attack and in grave danger." Bishop Gregory urged the
Senate to vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment after turning
back any attempt to prevent consideration of the measure. On June 24,
the USCCB President wrote to all Catholic Bishops asking them to
personally urge their Senators to support the Amendment, as well as to
generate additional support through pastors from throughout the Catholic
In addition to Msgr. Fay, other participants in the July 12 press
conference included Matt Daniels, President, Alliance for Marriage; Roy
Innis, Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality, and Walter Fauntroy,
former D.C. delegate to Congress.
Full Text of Msgr. Fay's Statement.