While the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings Wednesday struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and reinstated legal same-sex marriage in California, some Catholic leaders are asking parishioners to consider the judgment of a higher power, not the nation's highest court. Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron issued a statement criticizing SCOTUS' decision, saying that attempts to redefine marriage "hurt us all."
The well-being of our society, our nation, and our families is intimately linked to the institution of marriage. These decisions by the United States Supreme Court will make significantly more difficult our work of upholding the truth that marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman. Such decisions, made by any civic authority, do not serve the common good.
Catholics and millions of our fellow citizens will continue to make the case, respectfully yet vigorously, that marriage cannot be redefined, and that attempts to do so hurt us all.
Vigneron's concerns were reiterated by other Catholic leaders.
According to HuffPost reporter Jaweed Kaleem, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which supported DOMA, says it will continue working to stop any further legalization of same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala. also called the expanding of gay rights a "serious concern."
“The truth is that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Rodi wrote in an email, as reported by AL.com. “Court decisions may change, but the truth does not.”
Vigneron has previously insisted that gay marriage has no place in the Catholic church, even sympathies toward it. In April, he said receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist while supporting gay marriage was contradictory. "This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one's integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury," he said.
Gay marriage is not legal in Michigan, though a case challenging the law as unconstitutional is currently awaiting decision. Additionally, Senate and House Democrats have proposed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.
Last month, a group of protesters gathered at the Archdiocese of Detroit to protest Vigneron's statements. Organizers Linda Karle-Nelson, 72, and husband Tom Nelson, 83 are members of the national organization Fortunate Families, which represents Catholics with LGBT children. Each has a gay son, and they maintain Catholic faith while taking issue with the church's stance on gay marriage.
"There have been many instances in the history of the church where they have made statements [that they withdrew]," Nelson told The Huffington Post earlier, citing child labor laws, women's suffrage and democracy.
"But guess what? They changed," he said. "They will change on this too, but it will take a long time."