Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said, in a letter Wednesday that President Obama’s words in support of gay marriage are “not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his Administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage.”
Cardinal Dolan said that the Catholic Bishops “cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.”
Describing the president’s words as “deeply saddening,” Cardinal Dolan went on to say, “I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.”
Similarly, the Archdiocese of Washington DC, under the authority of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, issued the following statement :
The Archdiocese of Washington opposes the redefinition of marriage based on the clear understanding that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the meaning of marriage. The word ‘marriage’ describes the exclusive and lifelong union of one man and one woman open to generating and nurturing children. Other unions exist, but they are not marriage.
Other Christian leaders have weighed in on the president’s support of gay marriage.
The Rev. Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, referred to the president’s statement as “a calculated, politically expedient decision that completely ignores the biblical foundation of marriage.”
The Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a group that represents 45,000 churches in 40 denominations, said, “The evangelical community is broadly committed to define marriage as between one man and one woman and will not accept an unbiblical definition.”
A top leader among religious conservatives, Ralph Reed told CNN that the president’s announcement was a “gift to the Romney campaign.”
The Rev. Richard D. Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told the New York Times that he was both “saddened and mystified” by the president’s announcement. Rev. Land said, “I know the president is a really smart man, and his campaign staff are really smart, but they have to know it was black votes that carried the opposition to same-sex marriage to victory in California.”