Catholic Group Praises California Court for Upholding Marriage : Published October 2006 All Rights Reserved

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Catholic Group Praises California Court for Upholding Marriage

California's First District  Court of Appeals ruled 5 October 2006 in a 2-to-1 decision that California may continue to bar same-sex couples from marriage -- a decision that drew both criticism and praise. 

Roman Catholic Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, CA, who is the president of the California Catholic Conference, applauded the decision by the court to uphold "the traditional definition of marriage" and for rejecting "the idea that limiting marriage to a union between a man and woman is somehow unconstitutional."

The ruling was passed on appeal from an earlier San Francisco Superior Court decision in April 2005, which ruled that barring same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional on the basis of gender.

Plaintiffs in the case vow to appeal the First District Court up a level to the California Supreme Court.

"Today's decision was disappointing," said  Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "We know that hundreds of thousands of lesbian and gay people were hoping the court would stand up for the dignity and equality of their relationships."

In 2005, the California Legislature enacted a Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would have ensured equal treatment under the law by allowing same-sex couples to marry in California; however, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.

Bishop Blaire said that, "Both Catholic and Western tradition maintain that marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman joined in an intimate partnership of life and love. This union was instituted by God and by its very nature exists for the mutual fulfillment of the husband and wife as well as for the procreation and education of children."

The Court panel wrote that it was beyond any dispute society historically understands that marriage only refers to a union between one man and one woman. "We could not agree more and we thank the Court for making such a straightforward and well-reasoned decision," Bishop Blaire said.


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