The Virginia Catholic Conference, representing Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, filed an amicus curiae brief today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in support of Virginia’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The case is Bostic v. Schaefer. Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen of Norfolk struck down the provision in Virginia’s constitution that affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman – a provision strongly endorsed by the Virginia bishops and approved by more than one million voters in a 2006 ballot initiative.
The brief was filed by attorneys John C. Eastman and Anthony T. Caso of the California-based Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, on behalf of the Virginia Catholic Conference and the Center.
The Conference’s brief notes that “Virginia’s interest in marriage is based in the Commonwealth’s foresight that changing the legal definition of marriage would unavoidably change the way Virginia’s citizens view marriage and make the Commonwealth’s marriage laws adult-focused rather than child-focused. If the message and function of marriage is changed in concept, the cultural significance attached to marriage will also change.”
The brief asserts that Virginia’s laws recognizing “male-female marriage serve governmental interests that are not just legitimate, but compelling, namely, encouraging the procreation and rearing of children by the very people responsible for begetting them, in the stable environment of the marital family. The simple fact is that moms and dads are different, not interchangeable, and having both a mom and dad is an ideal parenting environment.”
In announcing the brief’s filing Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde said, “We affirm the intrinsic dignity of all people, including those with same-sex attractions. We also seek to preserve the one institution that was designed to protect children and the family: marriage, rooted in natural law as the union of one man and one woman. Marriage has an original, unalterable design that existed before any religion or government. No religion, government, or court should re-design it.”
“The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States are united in their desire to preserve the institution of marriage, and we support the Virginia bishops in their effort to defend Virginia’s recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. “For the good of children, it is critical that society preserve the true meaning of marriage.”
In addition to the amicus brief filed by the Virginia Catholic Conference, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other national religious groups will also be filing an amicus brief in this case today supporting Virginia’s definition of marriage. The USCCB is joined by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; the National Association of Evangelicals; the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
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The Virginia Catholic Conference is the public policy agency representing Virginia’s Catholic bishops and their two dioceses.