Sunday, April 26, 2015

Witnessing to the Beauty of Marriage

The following speech was delivered by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, President of the USCCB, at the March for Marriage in Washington April 25.

My dear friends: Marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman. This is a beautiful truth! As Pope Francis has said, “Married life is such a beautiful thing and we must protect it always, protect the children.”Redefining marriage in the law is the greatest social experiment of our time. Children don’t need experiments; they need the love of their mother and father, wherever possible.

In a few days, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the rights of states to protect marriage’s unique meaning. For the Court Justices, we promise our prayers. For our nation, we pledge our dedication to serve the dignity of every human person and to work together to build stronger communities and a better society. Marriage, like the gift of human life itself, cannot be essentially changed or redefined. Strengthening the family founded upon true marriage is essential for the good of all people.

Fairness, equality, and civil rights are values we all hold in common. But missing from much of the public conversation has been an honest look at the question of what marriage is. Advancing civil discourse depends not upon false caricatures or tactics of intimidation. Civility demands mutual respect even despite differing viewpoints. There must be room in the public square for the witness of lives inspired by the sacrificial love a husband and wife share for their children.

As a people—a movement—for marriage and the family, we seek to walk with others—especially anyone without a family, single parents, families in difficult circumstances, and those who experience same-sex attraction and their families. Further, it involves drawing near to and praying for those who disagree with us. Every person is a precious gift of God.

But friends, we will not be silenced. And we are not alone. I was grateful this past Thursday to join religious leaders of many faiths in reaffirming our shared commitment to protect marriage and religious freedom. A culture of marriage and family needs to be built. This will entail sacrifice and perseverance, in ways similar to the respect life movement. It will also entail a firm and joyful witness of hope. In the months and years ahead, may our love, patience, and courage open minds and hearts anew to the true beauty of marriage.

Thank you very much for your steadfast witness. May God bless you, the leaders of this nation, and all of our fellow citizens.

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