(WASHINGTON, D.C) The U.S. bishops have applauded the decision of voters in Maine to repeal a state law allowing same-sex "marriage." The position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was stated by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage.
"On November 3rd, the people of Maine voted to uphold the true nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman," Archbishop Kurtz said in a November 4 statement. "The voice of the people in this country has spoken once again on the side of justice, in favor of the truth about marriage."
He underscored the fact that the Church "stands for the basic rights of all people, including homosexual persons" and "decries any unjust discrimination against persons who experience same-sex attraction."
"Protecting marriage between a man and a woman has nothing to do with denying basic rights to anyone, though it is often framed in such terms," he said.
"Especially in our society where we see so many marriages fail, we should work to strengthen marriage rather than redefine it," Archbishop Kurtz said also. "Marriage must be protected and promoted today for what it is and what it is meant to be: the lifelong, exclusive union between husband and wife. There are many ways to uphold the basic human rights of all people, but sacrificing marriage can never be one of them."
Efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee are part of an overall USCCB Marriage Initiative to strengthen marriage. Other efforts include a proposed pastoral letter on marriage set for a vote at the November USCCB in Baltimore.