Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Bishops Of Indiana Issue Statement On Same-sex 'marriage' Ruling

Bishops Charles C. Thompson discusses the federal court ruling on same-sex marriage with Evansville media June 25 at the Catholic Center. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Evansville, Ind. – The Roman Catholic bishops of Indiana issued a statement June 25 affirming marriage between one man and one woman. The statement was issued in response to the ruling by the 7th Circuit of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana that Indiana’s marriage law, which bans same-sex “marriage,” is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution.


In the statement the bishops say, “The Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, whom we accept and love as our brothers and sisters. At the same time, the Church upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by God between one man and one woman, intended towards the establishment of a family in which children are born, raised, and nurtured.” The bishops explain that because God is its author, “it is not within the power of any institution, religious or secular to redefine marriage.”  


The statement says the decision to redefine the institution of marriage “as an emotional partnership between two consenting adults regardless of gender ignores this fundamental and natural truth.” Additionally, the bishops assert that today’s decision to redefine marriage opens its definition “to the whims of public opinion.”


“We regret the court’s decision because it does not acknowledge marriage as a covenant that God established,” said Diocese of Evansville Bishop Charles C. Thompson. “We Indiana bishops join Pope Francis and our brother bishops everywhere in upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church, and in asserting that no religious or secular entity has the right to redefine marriage.”


U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young of the 7th Circuit handed down the ruling in Evansville. In it, he stated in part, “In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love.” 


The Associated Press reported that the Indiana Attorney General's Office said it will appeal and immediately seek a stay.


The decision was prompted by a March 2014 lawsuit filed by a homosexual-rights-advocacy group, Lambda Legal, on behalf of three same-sex Hoosier couples who seek the same marriage rights as their heterosexual-couples counterparts.


While the bishops said they have a “deep respect for all our brothers and sisters,” including those with same-sex attraction, they “see no basis in law or in nature for any definition of marriage that seeks to expand it beyond that of a covenant between one man and one woman.” The bishops’ position on marriage between one man and one woman “seeks only the common good of all men and women, as well as the health and well-being of families,” the statement says.


The bishops, who are pastors of the faithful, said “We will continue to preach and teach the truth of marriage as it is ordered by God … while upholding the dignity of all persons.” Not only will the bishops preach and teach, which is the fundamental role of their office, but they also will continue to work through the Indiana Catholic Conference, the official public-policy arm of the Roman Catholic Church, to encourage lawmakers and judges to uphold the truth regarding marriage. They also urged all those involved in the public discourse on marriage “to conduct themselves with mutual respect and civility.”


Indiana bishops include Most Rev. Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and Most Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; Bishop Thompson of the Diocese of Evansville; Most Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend; Most Rev. Dale J. Melczek, Bishop of the Diocese of Gary; and Most Rev. Timothy L. Doherty, Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. 


The Indiana Catholic Conference, the official public-policy organization for the Roman Catholic Church in Indiana, is the statewide coordinating body for the five Roman Catholic Dioceses in Indiana. Its basic purpose is to serve the spiritual, moral and material well-being of the people of the state: 1) by serving as the official spokesperson for the bishops and Catholic faithful regarding state and national public-policy matters; 2) by representing the Church and developing cooperative relationship where common public-policy interests exist with religious and civic, social and governmental units; and 3) by serving as liaison between the Catholic Church in Indiana and national Catholic groups in areas of common public-policy interests.


The ICC consists of six Indiana bishops and five lay persons, one from each diocese, who also serve on the board. The ICC serves as the state counterpart of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). For more information on the Indiana Catholic Conference go to

Here is the link to download the Bishops' Statement: