Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Divorce, Failed marriages, Gays and lesbians, Marriage Protection Amendment, Marriage redefined, Proposed Federal Marriage Protection Amendment of 2014, Same-sex marriages, State Marriage Defense Act of 2014, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Battle for Same-Sex Marriage in the USA – February 2014
Photo Credit: CBC News (Steve Helber/The Associated Press)
Since migrating to the United States, I have witnessed the redefinition of marriage from the union of one man and one woman to include same-sex couples. It was a victory for my gay brothers and lesbian sisters. But the battle is far from over. Of the fifty states of our Republic, only seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages. (Learn more at the National Conference of State Legislatures website.)
In his letter of 19 February 2014, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, expressed support for the federal Marriage Protection Amendment introduced by Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas in the House of Representatives. “The amendment would secure in law throughout the country the basic truth known to reason that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” wrote the Archbishop.
The Archbishop, in his letter of 28 February 2014, further endorsed the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 introduced in the Senate by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. The Archbishop noted: “Marriage needs to be preserved and strengthened, not redefined. Every just effort to stand for the unique meaning of marriage is worthy of support.”
The institution of marriage has evolved over the ages in keeping with the progress of humanity. In the early years of my parents’ marriage, the 1950s and 1960s, divorce was not an option. Marriage is a contract unbreakable only in death of a spouse. For over twenty years, until my siblings and I were old enough to take care of ourselves, my mother endured the verbal abuse and violence. By then, divorce had lost its social stigma.
The women’s liberation movement in the 1970s brought relief from subjugation. Women gained equal status with their marital partners. A senior high school student at the time, I decided not to marry and have children. I was not going to bring children into this world to suffer domestic abuse as I did as a child.
When the time came to reconsider marriage, I determined that I would not repeat my parents’ mistakes. My marriage would be based on love and mutual respect. Ten years later when my marriage crumbled in Brazil, I had to confront the specter of divorce. Laws designed to define and protect our rights under the marital contract turned me into a loser and a sinner. Reconciliation with my God took years.
Same-sex marriages did not destroy my parents’ marriage or my marriage. Long before same-sex couples clamored for equal rights under the law, the institution of marriage has failed to meet our needs as couples and parents. A Pew Research in 2010 revealed that 72 percent of all adults in the United States were married in 1960. This number fell to 52 percent in 2008.
Who am I to judge if my gay brothers and lesbian sisters are worthy to be joined in same-sex marriages? My marriage ended in divorce. Was I worthy of marriage?