By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — President Obama’s opposition to North Carolina’s Marriage Protection Amendment, announced March 16, has led Catholic bishops to issue a statement showing their disappointment and has left many in the state scratching their heads at the President’s “evolving” views on marriage and the various roles of state and federal government.
Bishop Peter Jugis, head of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, and Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh described their “grave disappointment as it is reported to be the first time that the President has entered into this issue on the state level, further escalating the increasing confusion on the part of some in our society to the very nature of marriage itself.”
“As Catholics, we are FOR marriage, as we believe it is a vocation in which God calls couples to faithfully and permanently embrace a fruitful union in a mutual self-giving bond of love, according to His purposes,” the bishops wrote, adding that “… children have the fundamental right to grow up with the understanding of the proper place of sexuality in human relationships.”
While Cameron French, an Obama campaign spokesperson, admitted that the president does not “weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state,” he said Obama has long opposed what he called “divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples,” a characterization the bishops called regrettable.
“The Catholic Church recognizes the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals, including those with same-sex attraction, and we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person,” Jugis and Burbidge wrote. “While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides.”
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the bishops hit the nail on the head with their respectful response to the president’s statement on the issue.
“The Marriage Amendment is not about discriminating against anyone, it’s about guarding and protecting the institution that has served our society so well for thousands of years,” he said. “It is truly heartbreaking to hear our nation’s top official make statements to undermine not only marriage, but also the rights of the people to decide what the future of their state will be.”
Tami Fitzgerald, chairwoman of Vote FOR Marriage NC, pointed out the inconsistency in Obama’s position and the fact that it would allow a judge to determine the issue outside of the will of the people.
“Not only did President Obama state during his election battle in 2008 that he believes marriage is the union between one man and woman, but he said that for him as a Christian, it is also a sacred union, invoking the name of ‘God’ as his source,” she said.
Interestingly enough in the same interview in which he expressed this view, he said that marriage should not be defined at the federal level, “because historically, we have not defined marriage in our constitution. It’s been a matter of state law. That has been our tradition.”
Dr. Creech pointed out that marriage has been defined as between one man and one woman, not only biblically, but throughout history and in various cultures, and challenged the President’s assessment of how it should be handled by government entities.
“Our President has endorsed the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, will no longer defend this law, and has said that states should decide gay ‘marriage,’ but here he is inserting his own opinion when North Carolinians put marriage protection on the ballot,” he said. “Our hope is that voters are not intimidated but stand up for what they know is best on May 8.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told the media that it is time for the President to “be honest with the American people and explain that what he really supports is the redefinition, and ultimate destruction, of man-woman marriage.”
“The White House is just riding the fence on this issue until November 7, when it can give up the charade on marriage without fear of election backlash,” he said.
Michael Munger, a political scientist at Duke University, told reporters that Obama’s position against the Marriage Protection Amendment was a “no-lose political proposition for him.”
“President Obama gets to come out and say ‘Hey, gay community, I am taking a stand that you care about,’” he said. “But by the time November rolls around, no one is going to remember, or the ones that do would have voted against Obama anyway.”