Obama’s support for ‘redefining marriage’ is ‘deeply saddening,’ says USCCB president

President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage — announced yesterday afternoon, a day before a political fundraiser in Hollywood — is “deeply saddening,” said New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said that in a Sept. 20, 2011, letter, he had told Obama that the U.S. bishops stood “ready to affirm every positive measure taken” by the president and his administration “to strengthen marriage and family life.”

“However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,” the cardinal said.

In Maryland, where voters will decide at the polls in November whether same-sex marriage will be legal as approved by the Legislature, the state Catholic conference said Obama’s statement “does not change anything on the substance of the issue. … For us in Maryland, the vote on marriage has nothing to do with politics.”  The Washington Archdiocese said the word “‘marriage’ describes the exclusive and lifelong union of one man and one woman open to generating and nurturing children. Other unions exist, but they are not marriage.”

On Tuesday in North Carolina voters overwhelmingly rejected legalizing same-sex marriage and civil unions in their state by approving a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.