Rhode Island Civil Unions Bill ‘Fails Justice,’ ‘Further Erodes Marriage’s Unique Status,’ Says Bishop Cordileone

July 1, 2011 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON— Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, has denounced the passage of a civil unions bill in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island legislature enacted a statute this week creating a new legal status deemed to be parallel to marriage, thus allowing two persons of the same sex to obtain all of the rights of spouses by forming what the new law designates to be a civil union. In response, Bishop Cordileone reiterated that “marriage, the communion of husband and wife, is a unique reality that has no true parallel. The exclusive and permanent bond of a man and woman joined in marriage offers to the couple and to society a preeminent value that should not be eclipsed by governmental attempts to redesign fundamental realities by legal dictate.”

Bishop Cordileone stated that elevating same-sex relationships to marital status with all of the rights of marriage, even if the new status is not called marriage, “fails justice because now the government is treating as similar two different realities that cannot be considered as analogous or equivalent in any way.” Bishop Cordileone reaffirmed the remarks of Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, who after the civil union vote indicated that “a civil union can never be accepted as a legitimate alternative to holy matrimony” because it promotes an unacceptable lifestyle, undermines marriage, and causes confusion and scandal. “As pointed out by Bishop Tobin,” Bishop Cordileone said, “the legalization of civil unions in Rhode Island further erodes marriage’s unique status and meaning and promotes the crossing of moral boundaries. In no way can civil union measures be considered a permissible compromise or a step in advancing the common good; instead, they directly violate principles of justice and accelerate the push to redefine marriage itself.”

Bishop Tobin’s statement is available at http://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/?id=14"&uudis=229
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Keywords: civil unions, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, Catholic bishops, Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence