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US Bishops Critical of Ruling on Defense of Marriage Act

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Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has called the Obama Administration’s decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) an "alarming and grave injustice." In a statement issued on behalf of the nation’s bishops, Archbishop Dolan expressed his deep disappointment over the Administration’s decision and said he has expressed his concerns to the President in separate correspondence.

The Archbishop challenged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s contention that DOMA amounts to "unjust discrimination." The Archbishop wrote that "unjust discrimination against any person is always wrong," adding that the Act "merely affirms and protects the time-tested and unalterable meaning of marriage. The suggestion that this definition amounts to 'discrimination,'" the Archbishop added, "is grossly false and represents an affront to millions of citizens." Archbishop Dolan pointed out that, "Only a man and a woman are capable of the 'two-in-one-flesh' union of husband and wife, and only a man and woman have the ability to bring children into the world."

Archbishop Dolan said he is praying that the President and the Department of Justice may yet make the right choice in carrying out their constitutional responsibility of "defending the irreplaceable institution of marriage, and in so doing protect the future generations of our children."

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge called the Obama Administration’s decision "sad and disheartening." Bishop Burbidge said the Administration’s decision to no longer defend a law of this country is a grave error, one that is in direct opposition to voters, who, in more than 30 states, rejected efforts to re-write the definition of marriage.

"More than ever," Bishop Burbidge said, "our society must celebrate marriage as God intended, as the permanent union of one man and one woman. I thank the married couples throughout our Diocese for the beautiful example they are in reflecting the love Jesus has for His Bride, the Church."