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In the U.S. Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, the opinion of the five-member majority creates the legal right of two persons of the same gender to marry one another. At the same time, the opinion states, “[I]t must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

It is a matter of natural truth and the universal teaching of the Catholic Church that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”  (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” sec. 5, accessed July 2, 2015, www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/ rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual_unions_en.html.) Furthermore, while the Church obliges all to avoid every sign of unjust discrimination toward men and women with homosexual tendencies, clear and emphatic opposition to the court’s creation of this so-called right of same-sex marriage is a duty. Moreover, it is necessary that Catholics refrain from intentional cooperation in the application of this ruling and, as far as possible, from voluntary participation in its application. The traditional principles of formal and material cooperation apply. All Catholics can exercise the right to conscientious objection. The Catholic politician must oppose the ruling’s definition of marriage in ways that are possible and make his or her absolute personal opposition known. It is the duty of the Catholic politician to witness to the truth, to take action to help reverse the effects of the ruling redefining marriage, and limit the harm done by the opinion.

Anyone with questions about the meaning and application of the Church’s teaching in this matter should consult the pastor of his or her parish.

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