This week, two historic cases will be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court that will determine the course of the “gay marriage” debate. San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chair of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Protection of Marriage, recently took part in an interview with USA Today, where he laid out the case for traditional marriage. Below are some excerpts of his interview:
Q: What is the greatest threat posed by allowing gays and lesbians to marry?
A: The better question is: What is the great good in protecting the public understanding that to make a marriage you need a husband and a wife? … A society that is careless about getting fathers and mothers together to raise their children in one loving family is causing enormous heartache.
To legalize marriage between two people of the same sex would enshrine in the law the principle that mothers and fathers are interchangeable or irrelevant, and that marriage is essentially an institution about adults, not children; marriage would mean nothing more than giving adults recognition and benefits in their most significant relationship.
Q: How would the allegation that opponents are bigoted lead to their rights being abridged?
A. The larger picture that’s becoming increasingly clear is that this is not just a debate about what two people do in their private life, it’s a debate about a new public norm: Either you support redefining marriage to include two people of the same sex or you stand accused by law and culture of bigotry and discrimination. …
When people say that opposition to gay marriage is discriminatory, like opposition to interracial marriage, they cannot also say their views won’t hurt anybody else. They seek to create and enforce a new moral and legal norm that stigmatizes those who view marriage as the union of husband and wife. … It’s not kind, and it doesn’t seem to lead to a “live and let live” pluralism.
Q: Has it become more difficult to oppose gay marriage over the years? Does it seem the tide is turning against you?
A: There is a problem here – an injustice, really – in the way that some people are so often identified by what they are against. Opposition to same-sex marriage is a natural consequence of what we are for, i.e., preserving the traditional, natural understanding of marriage in the culture and in the law.
But of course people who are for the redefinition of marriage to include two men or two women are also against something: They are against protecting the social and legal understanding that marriage is the union of a husband and wife who can give children a mother and father.
So there are really two different ideas of marriage being debated in our society right now, and they cannot coexist: Marriage is either a conjugal union of a man and a woman designed to unite husband and wife to each other and to any children who may come from their union, or it is a relationship for the mutual benefit of adults which the state recognizes and to which it grants certain benefits. Whoever is for one, is opposed to the other. …
Read the full interview with USA Today.