Same Sex Marriage
Why is the Catholic Church involved in the same sex marriage issue? Does this have to do with civil rights? Does the definition of marriage really matter? Redefining marriage won't affect me - or will it?
Same Sex Marriage (PDF) (en español)
Redefinition of Marriage in Washington, DC
NEW! The Implications for Catholic Charities (March 1, 2010)
When the District of Columbia City Council introduced legislation to redefine marriage in October 2009, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the bill based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, recognizing that the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council’s interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom.
On December 15, 2009, the DC City Council joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage. Regrettably, the legislation did not include the balance with religious freedom. On March 3, 2010 the law legalizing same-sex marriage went into effect.
As we move forward, the Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities remain fully committed to serving those in need. We look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.
Excerpts from Archdiocese of Washington's statement when the legislation was introduced on Oct. 6, 2009: Marriage is a personal relationship with public significance. Marriage between a man and a woman transcends cultures, religions and all time.
Marriage is about more than two people who love and are committed to each other. It also is about creating and nurturing the next generation. As natural law and biology dictate, this requires both a man and a woman. They are not interchangeable. The bill introduced today by some members of the District of Columbia City Council to redefine marriage is at odds with marriage’s fundamental purpose. You cannot redefine biology.
Learn more about the Church's teaching on marriage and same-sex unions
Marriage ballot initiative in Washington, DC
On September 1, 2009, the Archdiocese of Washington submitted a letter to the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics in support of the “Marriage Initiative of 2009.” The initiative, filed by the Stand4MarriageDC.com Coalition, would define marriage in the District of Columbia, for the purposes of civil law, as the union between one man and one woman. Read our press release.
On October 26, 2009, the Archdiocese of Washington submitted a statement outlining the reasons for its support of marriage and why "efforts to change the historically and fundamentally essential institution of marriage by redefining it without the input of the citizens of the District of Columbia are unjust and contrary to the District of Columbia Charter."