Catholic Bishop Bars NY Legislators from Parish and School Events
(CNSNews.com) – In response to passage of a same-sex marriage law in New York, the Catholic bishop for the diocese of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio, has asked all Catholic schools to reject any honors bestowed on them by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and lawmakers who voted for the bill. The bishop has also asked all pastors and school principals to not invite any of the pro-gay marriage lawmakers “to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”
The Marriage Equality Act, which was vigorously promoted by Cuomo, passed in the New York Senate (33-29) on June 24. Cuomo, who is Catholic, signed the legislation into law that night.
In a statement also issued that night, Bishop DiMarzio said, “Republicans and Democrats alike succumbed to powerful political elites and have passed legislation that will undermine our families and as a consequence, our society. With this vote, Governor Cuomo has opened a new front in the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of our nation.”
“In light of these disturbing developments and in protest for this decision, I have asked all Catholic schools to refuse any distinction or honors bestowed upon them this year by the governor or any member of the legislature who voted to support this legislation,” said Bp. DiMarzio in the statement. “Furthermore, I have asked all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration.”
“The above request is intended as a protest of the corrupt political process in New York State,” said the bishop. “More than half of all New Yorkers oppose this legislation. Yet, the governor and the state legislature have demonized people of faith, whether they be Muslims, Jews, or Christians, and identified them as bigots and prejudiced, and voted in favor of same-sex “marriage.”
“Republicans and Democrats equally share responsibility for this ruinous legislation and we as Catholics should hold all accountable for their actions,” said Bp. DiMarzio.
Catholic teaching says that homosexual marriages or civil unions are immoral, contrary to the natural order, and cannot be condoned. In one of its many documents on the issue, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) states, “Marriage, whose nature and purposes were established by God, can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in law.”
In another statement, the USCCB, which represents the Catholic bishops in America, says, “If same sex marriage were legalized, the result would be a significant change in our society. We would be saying that the primary purpose of marriage is to validate and protect a sexually intimate relationship. All else would be secondary. … Marriage would no longer symbolize society's commitment to the future: our children. Rather, marriage would symbolize a commitment to the present needs and desires of adults.”
Despite the strong opposition of the Catholic Church and many voters in New York, Gov. Cuomo, in praising the same-sex marriage law, said, "New York has finally torn down the barrier that has prevented same-sex couples from exercising the freedom to marry and from receiving the fundamental protections that so many couples and families take for granted.”
“With the world watching, the Legislature, by a bipartisan vote, has said that all New Yorkers are equal under the law,” said Cuomo. “With this vote, marriage equality will become a reality in our state, delivering long overdue fairness and legal security to thousands of New Yorkers.”
The governor’s office, in a press release, credited several homosexual activist groups for ensuring the passage of the Marriage Equality Act. The release said: “The Act was made a reality thanks largely to New Yorkers United for Marriage, a coalition of leading New York LGBT rights organizations who have fought so that all couples in New York have the freedom to marry. The partners include Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality New York, and Log Cabin Republicans.”
Bishop Howard Hubbard, for the diocese of Albany, New York, also criticized passage of the same-sex marriage law in a group statement issued by all eight bishops in the state of New York.
The bishops said the new law will “alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage,” and that they worried “both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.”
On his second day in office as governor, Jan. 2, 2011, Cuomo and his live-in girlfriend Sandra Lee attended Mass in Albany at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Bp. Hubbard was the celebrant. During his sermon, Hubbard encouraged Cuomo and the lieutenant governor, saying, "They over the next four years will be deeply immersed in the work of evangelism by bringing about the transformation of our state and our society and we assure them of our prayers, of our support and of our best wishes for the challenges they will face.”
After the Mass, Cuomo told reporters that Hubbard “really did a beautiful job. The talk of transformation I thought was relevant.”