Joining together, pledging in solidarity to defend marriage at a historic moment in history, a group of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christian clergy and leaders recently released a statement.
The Marriage Solidarity Statement, titled “We Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage and the Family and Society Founded Upon Them,” was drafted by deacon Keith Fournier, editor of Catholic Online and chairman of Common Good Alliance; and Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. It was vetted among other Christian pastors and leaders and signed by leading Christian clergy and leaders collectively representing tens of millions of Christians.
Acknowledging that differences exist between the signers on important matters of religious doctrine and practice, they declare that “on the matter of marriage, we stand in solidarity.” The statement affirms “that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of creation."
It continues, “Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society; the first church, first school, first hospital, first economy, first government and first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.”
As the Supreme Court will soon release opinions on two marriage cases involving California's Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the statement affirms that marriage predates government and cannot be redefined by civil institutions, including the United States Supreme Court.
“Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. The Supreme Court has no authority to redefine marriage,” the statement notes.
This comment is referring to the 1992 Supreme Court abortion decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which Justice O’Connor candidly acknowledged that, unlike the legislative branch, which has the power of the purse, and the executive branch, which has the figurative power of the sword, the Supreme Court’s source of authority rests solely upon the legitimacy of its decisions in the eyes of the people.
The statement then declares, “If the Supreme Court were to issue a decision that redefined marriage or provided a precedent on which to build an argument to redefine marriage, the Supreme Court will thereby undermine its legitimacy. The Court will significantly decrease its credibility and impair the role it has assumed for itself as a moral authority. It will be acting beyond its proper constitutional role and contrary to the Natural Moral Law which transcends religions, culture, and time.”
The Marriage Solidarity Statement ends with these words: “As Christians united together in defense of marriage, we pray that this will not happen. But, make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross.”
Mat Staver says, “Marriage is fundamental to human existence. Like other natural laws or laws of physics that govern our lives, marriage pre-dates government, and civil institutions have no authority to redefine marriage. Marriage cannot be redefined into something it is incapable of being.
“Any attempt to do so will result in the loss of authentic human freedom, particularly religious freedom, and will harm children and society. On the matter of marriage at this critical time in history, the Marriage Solidarity Statement declares that the Christian community will stand in solidarity. This is a line we cannot and will not cross.”
Fournier adds, “Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone but on the natural moral law written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason.
“Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the state. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights and does not serve the common good of society.”