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Statement of The Most Reverend John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando on the 26th of June, 2015 United States Supreme Court Ruling.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Today, the media reported the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment. I am deeply saddened by this ruling.

This decision does not change the way Scripture defines marriage, the context of which was born long before the birth of Catholicism. In Genesis, we read God makes female and male out of love, for love. The love between a husband and wife is placed in their hearts by God to fulfill His design for each person. The sanctity of marriage unites the entire being of spouses in love and is a sign of God's love for humanity. It is the joining of a man and woman to be co-creators with God to bring children into the world.

What do the various levels of courts' decisions have to do with the Catholic Church's belief about the Sacrament of Marriage? Nothing. Marriage is not the creation of any government. What the decisions do is highlight the countercultural nature of Jesus Christ and, as Pope Francis has spoken, our own yielding to separation from God. It challenges us to be fervent in building a culture of marriage as Sacrament. It requires us to be heralds of the Gospel and stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending marriage as a Sacrament, the joining together of a man and woman to be co-creators with God to bring children into the world. It begs us, as people of faith, to be courageous against this tide of disbelief and lead others as the first apostles also did to Christ. It requires us to apply the tenets of faithful citizenship as we consider our vote for elected officials. It calls us to prayer; to ask forgiveness for our neglect, and for those who review the Court's decisions and their implications. It demands our evaluation of the common good and the future of our society under God.

Our parishes, family life offices and other ministries are available to assist those seeking to understand the truth and beauty of marriage and to assist husbands and wives to strengthen their bonds. Additional resources can be found at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org and www.foryourmarriage.org / www.portumatrimonio.org. For more information regarding the Diocese of Orlando Family Life Office, e-mail familylifeoff@orlandodiocese.org.

May we live a life of faith in the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Bishop John Noonan
Diocese of Orlando