Bishop Salvatore Cordileone has
endorsed a federal bill which seeks a religious exemption for
opponents of gay marriage.
Cordileone, who leads the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee for the
Promotion and Defense of Marriage and heads the diocese of San
Francisco, made his endorsement Monday during a presentation at the
U.S. bishops' fall general meeting in Baltimore.
Cordileone criticized the federal
government's decision to recognize the legal marriages of gay and
lesbian couples following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling knocking down a
portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“The Supreme Court's DOMA decision is
now being used to judicially challenge marriage laws in more than a
dozen states that still recognize marriage as the union of one man
and one woman,” Cordileone was quoted as saying by The
He also denounced the recent passage in
the Senate of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which
seeks to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity.
“ENDA-like laws,” Cordileone
claimed, “have contributed to the erosion and redefinition of
marriage at the state level.”
Cordileone advocated for passage of the
Marriage and Religious Freedom Act as a possible “remedy”
to the court's DOMA decision and passage in the Senate of ENDA.
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, a Tea
Party-backed Republican, in September introduced the bill, which has
The bill, Labrador said, addresses an
“immediate need” to protect “religious institutions and
churches, so that they can continue practicing their religion as they
The legislation would bar the federal
government from discriminating against individuals and businesses
that “act upon their religiously motivated belief that marriage is
the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are
properly reserved for such a marriage.”
Cordileone noted the case of a
photographer found to have violated the New Mexico Human Rights Act
when she refused to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony
in 2006, claiming that it violated her faith. The
case is currently on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.