The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte, joined with other religious leaders, members of the NC4Marriage Coalition, and a large contingent of state lawmakers, February 24, to call on the North Carolina General Assembly to support the Defense of Marriage Act introduced in the State Senate (SB 272) and soon to be introduced in the State House.
The proposal calls for an amendment to be added to our state constitution that would define marriage as the union only between a man and a woman. It would prohibit other types of unions that imitate marriage, such as Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships. It would also prohibit legal recognition of same-sex marriages that are performed in other states.
The Defense of Marriage Act was discussed at a news conference coordinated by the Coalition. Among those present were the House and Senate sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill. Bishop Jugis read a statement on behalf of both Dioceses in support of the proposed amendment. The statement addressed “the theological basis for upholding the traditional understanding of marriage in North Carolina.”
“Throughout the entirety of Sacred Scripture, marriage is always and only recognized as a union between a man and a woman,” Bishop Jugis said. “We believe this understanding of marriage is the only one that should constitutionally exist in our state.”
The Bishops’ statement also addressed the issue of homosexual attraction. “We wish to affirm our Church’s belief that men and women with a homosexual attraction are children of God possessed of human dignity because they too are created in God’s image. Protecting the traditional understanding of marriage is not intended to disparage our brothers and sisters with a homosexual attraction,” the Bishops said. “Rather, it is intended to affirm a divinely ordered reality that cannot be changed because it comes from God.”
According to the North Carolina Constitution, the Legislature must first authorize a proposed amendment before it is placed before the citizens of North Carolina for a vote. Since 2004, legislation on this issue has been introduced annually to our General Assembly for its authorization. To date, the proposed legislation has been prevented from ever reaching the floor of either chamber of the Legislature for a vote, despite the fact that over 50% of the House members and 19 of 50 Senators signed on as sponsors of a proposed amendment bill in 2008.
Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Jugis are calling on the Catholic faithful in North Carolina, and all people of good will who embrace traditional marriage, to join in support of the proposed amendment by contacting their legislators and asking them to help bring it to a vote.
Above: Bishop Peter Jugis reading joint statement from Diocese of Raleigh and Diocese of Charlotte in support of proposed Marriage Amendment to NC Constitution.