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Ind. bishops: God is author of marriage, not within State’s power to redefine

Ind. bishops: God is author of marriage, not within State’s power to redefine

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s six Catholic bishops have issued a pastoral letter in response to a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, asserting that the well-being of children, the family, and society are at stake.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin
Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin

The letter says the church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage, an institution established by God as a permanent partnership between one man and one woman.

It is not within the power of either the Church or the State to redefine marriage since God is its author. Male-female complementarity is essential to marriage. Marriage is a “unique” communion of persons with the potential to bring forth human life.

With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we affirm the institution of marriage as the intimate communion of life and love between one man and one woman. Marriage is an intimate sharing of conjugal life and love. It involves the total gift of self in a partnership for the whole of life. Only by means of the complementarity between a man and a woman can this total gift of self be fully given and received.

We respect the equal dignity of all persons while upholding the uniqueness of the covenant of marriage as established by our Creator. The well-being of children, of the family, and of society is closely bound to the healthy state of marriage and respect for its true nature and purposes.

We urge the people of Indiana to respect and defend the dignity and equality of all persons as well as the truth about marriage, according to God’s plan and laws, with charity toward all.

Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin says the letter will help Catholics avoid the extremes of either seeing the public debate about the proposed amendment as a battle or as an issue in which they should simply be guided by polls.

The state already bans same-sex marriage by law, but lawmakers began the lengthy process of placing the ban in the constitution in 2011.

If lawmakers sign off a second time on the strengthened ban, it would be placed on the ballot for voters to consider next November.

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